Dr Timothy Bowman

Senior Lecturer in Military History

About

Born and raised in Bangor, Co. Down, Dr Timothy Bowman took his first degree from The Queen's University of Belfast in 1995 and then completed his PhD in 1999 in the now sadly defunct Department of History at the University of Luton (now Bedfordshire) under the supervision of Professor Ian F. W. Beckett.

He held lecturing posts at The Queen's University of Belfast, University of Durham and King's College London (based at the Joint Services Command and Staff College) before coming to Kent in 2005.

Research interests

To date, Timothy's research has considered aspects of the British army, c. 1850-1918; the Ulster Volunteer Force, 1910-22; and Ireland and the First World War. During the centenary anniversary of the First World War he acted as an academic advisor to BBC Northern Ireland for the World War 1 at Home series of radio programmes. 

Timothy is currently completing a book, Irish recruitment to the British armed forces, 1914-18, with William Butler and Michael Wheatley, due to be published by Liverpool University Press in 2020. He is also working on an edited collection of the military papers of Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck, 1940-47, for publication by the Army Records Society. Timothy's next major project will consider the role of the Irish soldier in the British army since c. 1680.    

Teaching

Timothy teaches on aspects of military history including the British army and society since 1660 and the First World War. 

Publications

Article

  • Bowman, T. (2019). Ireland: rebellion and counter-insurgency, 1848–1867. Small Wars & Insurgencies [Online] 30:895-912. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/09592318.2019.1638547.
    The period 1848 to 1867 witnessed what could be regarded as a very small-scale insurgency campaign in Ireland, waged by agrarian groups; the Whiteboys and Ribbonmen. 1848 and 1867 witnessed rebellions by the Young Irelanders and Fenians, which proved to be small-scale and of short duration but the British government had prepared for a nationwide counter-insurgency campaign. The government relied heavily on the militarised Irish Constabulary but in 1848 and 1867 troops were used in large numbers and there were concerns about how they could be best concentrated to meet the envisaged threat.
  • Bowman, T. (2009). Officering Kitchener’s Armies: A Case Study of the 36th (Ulster) Division. War in History [Online] 16:189-212. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/0968344508100989.
    This article reassesses the original composition of the officer corps of the Kitchener armies formed in late 1914 using the recently released offi cers’ personal files at the National Archives, Kew. It challenges the existing historiography by showing that many Kitchener units did not draw their officers from pre-war Officer Training Corps products and relied on men with very limited or no previous military experience. It demonstrates that the officer composition of the 36th (Ulster) Division was similar to that of its counterparts in Great Britain, and that the Ulster Volunteer Force influence on officer appointments was much more limited than has been assumed.
  • Bowman, T. (2001). The Ulster Volunteer Force and the formation of the 36th (Ulster) Division. Irish Historical Studies 32:498-518.

Book

  • Connelly, M., Bowman, T. and Beckett, I. (2017). The British Army and the First World War. [Online]. Cambridge University Press. Available at: https://www.cambridge.org/gb/academic/subjects/history/military-history/british-army-and-first-world-war?format=PB.
    This is a major new history of the British army during the Great War written by three leading military historians. Ian Beckett, Timothy Bowman and Mark Connelly survey operations on the Western Front and throughout the rest of the world as well as the army's social history, pre-war and wartime planning and strategy, the maintenance of discipline and morale and the lasting legacy of the First World War on the army's development. They assess the strengths and weaknesses of the army between 1914 and 1918, engaging with key debates around the adequacy of British generalship and whether or not there was a significant 'learning curve' in terms of the development of operational art during the course of the war. Their findings show how, despite limitations of initiative and innovation amongst the high command, the British army did succeed in developing the effective combined arms warfare necessary for victory in 1918.
  • Bowman, T. and Connelly, M. (2012). The Edwardian Army: Recruiting, Training, and Deploying the British Army, 1902-1914. [Online]. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Available at: http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199542789.do.
    The period 1902-1914 was one of great change for the British army. The experience of the South African War (1899-1902) had been a profound shock and it led to a period of intense introspection in order to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the force. As a result of a series of investigations and government-led reorganisation, the army embarked on a series of reforms to improve its recruitment, standards of professionalism, training, and preparation for war. Until now many of the studies covering this period have tended to look at the army in a top-down manner, and have often concluded that the reform process was extremely beneficial to the army leading it to be the most efficient force in Europe by the outbreak of war in 1914. Bowman and Connelly take a different approach. The Edwardian Army takes a bottom-up perspective and examines the many difficulties the army experienced trying to incorporate the reforms demanded by government and the army's high command. It reveals that although many good ideas were devised, the severely overstretched army was never in a position to act on them and that few regimental officers had the opportunity, or even the desire, to change their approach. Unable to shake-off the feeling that the army's primary purpose was to garrison and police the British Empire, it was by no means as well prepared for European continental warfare as many have presumed.
  • Bowman, T. (2007). Carson’s Army: The Ulster Volunteer Force, 1910-1922. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press.
    The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) was established in January 1913 as a militant expression of Ulster Unionist opposition to the Third Home Rule Bill. It built on the foundations of pre-existing paramilitary activity and, at its height in early 1914, reached a strength of 100,000. During the Great War the UVF provided the basis of the 36th (Ulster) Division and in 1920 the force was partially reformed to counter the IRA threat to the new Northern Ireland state.
  • Bowman, T. (2003). The Irish Regiments in the Great War: Discipline and Morale. UK: Manchester University Press.
    The British army was almost unique among the European armies of the Great War in that it did not suffer from a serious breakdown of discipline or collapse of morale. It did, however, inevitably suffer from disciplinary problems. While attention has hitherto focused on the 312 notorious 'shot at dawn' cases, many thousands of British soldiers were tried by court martial during the Great War. This book provides the first comprehensive study of discipline and morale in the British army during the Great War by using a case-study of the Irish regiments. It considers the wartime experience of the Irish regular and Special Reserve battalions and the 10th (Irish), 16th (Irish) and 36th (Ulster) Divisions. The book demonstrates that breaches of discipline did occur in the Irish regiments during the period but in most cases these were of a minor nature. Controversially, Timothy Bowman suggests that where executions did take place, they were militarily necessary and served the purpose of restoring discipline in failing units. The author also shows that there was very little support for the emerging Sinn Fein movement within the Irish regiments. This book will be essential reading for military and Irish historians and their students, and will interest any general reader concerned with how units maintain discipline and morale under the most trying conditions.

Book section

  • Connelly, M. (2017). The British Army and the First World War: Various chapters: Introduction, Chapter 6: The Western Front, 1914, Chapter 7: The Western Front, 1915, Chapter 8: The Western Front, 1916, Chapter 9: The Western Front, 1917, Chapter 10: The Western Front, 1918. In: The British Army and the First World War. Cambridge University Press. Available at: https://www.cambridge.org/gb/academic/subjects/history/military-history/british-army-and-first-world-war?format=PB.
  • Bowman, T. (2014). Ireland and the First World War. In: Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish History, 1600-2000. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Bowman, T. (2014). The Ulster Volunteer Force 1913-14. In: The Third Home Rule Crisis. Cork: Mercier Press.
  • Bowman, T. (2013). Irish paramilitarism and gun cultures. In: Jones, K. R., Macola, G. and Welch, D. eds. A Cultural History of Firearms in the Age of Empire. Ashgate.
  • Bowman, T. and Butler, W. (2012). Ireland. In: Beckett, I. F. W. ed. Citizen Soldiers and the British Empire, 1837-1902. Pickering and Chatto, pp. 41-56.
  • Bowman, T. (2005). The Ulster Volunteer Force, 1910-1920: New Perspectives. In: Boyce, D. G. and O’Day, A. eds. The Ulster Crisis, 1885-1921. Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 247-258.
  • Bowman, T. (1999). The Irish Recruiting and Anti-Recruiting Campaigns, 1914-1918. In: Propaganda: Political Rhetoric and Identity 1300-2000. Stroud: Sutton Publishing.

Thesis

  • Stoneman, R. (2014). The Reformed British Militia, c.1852-1908.
    This thesis aims to provide a comprehensive investigation of the reformed British militia between its reconstitution in 1852 and its abolition (and replacement by the Special Reserve) in 1908, addressing one of the major remaining gaps in our understanding of the auxiliary forces of this period. The post-1852 militia has generally been overshadowed by its eighteenth and early nineteenth century predecessor, and of the few major works that do examine the force after its reform, most do so as part of broader studies examining it from the point of view of the regular army, or as an epilogue to a much broader study of the militia of the earlier period, or the wider amateur military tradition as a whole. Therefore, the aim of this thesis is to provide the first dedicated study of the reformed British militia in recent years. It will move beyond the limited ‘top-down’ approach characteristic of many works examining the wider Victorian army and instead tap into a more recent methodological trend which utilises a range of national and local archival material to examine the nuances of what remained a locally organised force. It will examine not just the role of the militia and the way in which it was organised, but also study the nature and composition of its officer corps, its rank and file, and will investigate areas which have been hitherto largely ignored such as the way discipline was maintained in what remained an amateur force. It will conclude with an examination of the militia’s unprecedented service during the South African War before going onto examine the process by which the militia was ultimately abolished and replaced by the Special Reserve (and ask whether or not this represented a moment of continuity, or an outright break with the past.)
    This study rejects the idea that during this period the militia largely became ‘an anachronistic auxiliary’ to the regular army. There can be no doubt that it became increasingly centralised under the control of the War Office and that it also provided a vital role as a source of both officers and men for the regular army. Yet by looking at a mix of both national and local archival material, a more nuanced picture emerges. Several units managed to retain a degree of organisational independence and a social distinctiveness from the wider army. Furthermore, many of the reforms which altered the organisation of the force had important benefits. Compared to the 1850s and 1860s, during which the newly reconstituted force was forced to yield to the exigencies of the regular army, the militia of the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s was arguably better trained, better equipped and quantitatively stronger than during the preceding decades.
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