‘A fanatical separation money mob’: The British Army Soldier’s Wife in Wartime Ireland, 1914-1918


  • Fionnuala Walsh




This article focuses on the experiences of Irish soldiers’ families during the Great War. Soldiers’ families occupied a complex place in Irish society. Initially supported and praised for their husband’s service, working-class women quickly came under criticism and surveillance from the British state and civic authorities. They developed a reputation for excessive drinking and neglect of their children, blamed on the corrupting influence of the separation allowance. The 1916 Easter Rising and the by-elections in 1917 and 1918 provided opportunities for violent clashes and for the negative reputation of the women to be cemented in the public imagination. Separation women as an identifiable group disappeared in the aftermath of the war but the difficulties and challenges for Irish military families continued.