The position of Irish Catholics in the Officer Corps of the British Army: 1829-1899
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The chief objective of this dissertation is to attempt to answer the question of whether or not Irish Catholics formed a disproportionately small element of the Officer Corps of the British Army, in the period following formal Catholic Emancipation in 1829. The wider issues arising from this question include whether or not such Irish Catholics were subject to continued discrimination despite the removal of formal restrictions on their advancement, the disposition of Irish Catholic officers by rank and regiment, and the extent to which the most successful Irish Catholic officers could advance. These questions will be answered primarily through a quantitative analysis of the officer lists, regimental returns, and army returns of the period. This statistical approach will in turn be supplemented through a qualitative analysis of the individuals uncovered, seeking to ascertain their faith through careful examination of genealogical material. For those few Irish Catholics who achieved the greatest success in the officer corps, this has been augmented by a more thorough examination of their background, circumstances, economic position and personal history, in order to discern more clearly the facts which permitted their advancement, and concurrently the non-advancement of their peers.