Ismini Pells - Everyday Soldiering, Military Welfare and the Human Costs of the English Civil Wars
Tuesday 11th September 2018
SAHR members enjoyed a lecture at the Army and Navy Club by Dr Ismini Pells of the University of Leicester, who presented the latest findings emerging from the Civil Wars Petitions Project. The project is revealing the experiences of ordinary people during the English Civil Wars by examining the petitions by wounded soldiers, war widows and other family members for financial assistance from the state. These petitions provide important information about the lives of ordinary soldiers and how they were recruited. In some cases, veterans describe small skirmishes they took part in, which historians had never previously known existed. Descriptions from wounded soldiers show what kinds of wounds surgeons of the period were able to treat, and reveal that some Civil War surgeons were employing some of the most advanced surgical techniques of the time, on how to remove broken pieces of bone from wounds to the head. Dr Pells also described the politics of military welfare, as Parliament and the Protectorate provided pensions only for parliamentarian veterans, while the restored monarchy provided them only for former royalists. She reflected on the lessons of Civil War-era military welfare for the modern Armed Forces Covenant.
The talk was followed by drinks and further animated discussion in the Army and Navy Club's Ribbon Bar.