• 10.00am - 5.30pm
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London
  • 10.00am - 5.30pm
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London

A Difficult Homecoming

Detail from 'Shellshocked British Army Veterans in Ireland' book cover
Join Dr Michael Robinson as he discusses the struggles faced by First World War veterans who returned home to Ireland with life-changing mental injuries.

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Altogether, around 200,000 Irish personnel served in the First World War (1914-18). Around 30,000 of them were killed supporting the British war effort. Yet the range of challenges faced by veterans on their return to Ireland highlights a lack of support, empathy and understanding for the life-changing mental injuries that many of them had suffered.

The British state’s initial progressive and innovative attempts to rehabilitate psychoneurotic ex-servicemen were compromised by a lack of recognition, employment, training and treatment facilities in Ireland.

This was compounded by the unsympathetic socio-political environment to which these veterans returned. Indeed, many in Ireland perceived their sacrifice to have been undertaken on behalf of an occupying and hostile enemy.

In this captivating talk, Dr Michael Robinson will explore the different factors - from hostility to apathy - that affected their treatment, both during and after the Irish War of Independence (1919-21). He will also reveal how many of them ended up looking to the British state and British veteran charities for financial relief.

About Michael Robinson

Dr Michael Robinson is a Leverhulme Trust-funded Early Career Researcher working in the History department at the University of Liverpool. He completed his PhD on shell-shocked Irish Great War veterans in 2016. His thesis was later published as part of Manchester University Press’s Disability History series.

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"First time @NAM_London today. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thought the presentation & interpretation made the subject accessible..."