Catalogue description War Office: Directorate of Military Training, later Directorate of Army Training: Papers

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Details of WO 231
Reference: WO 231
Title: War Office: Directorate of Military Training, later Directorate of Army Training: Papers

Reports on operations, exercises and tactics and equipment trials, used during the Second World War, and subsequently, for training purposes. Research reports and technical notes from the Royal Military College of Science.

Date: 1909-1983
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

War Office, Directorate of Military Training, 1922-1964

Physical description: 408 files and volumes
Access conditions: Open unless otherwise stated
Immediate source of acquisition:

From 1974 Ministry of Defence

Accruals: Series is accruing
Administrative / biographical background:

Until the mid-nineteenth century training of infantry and cavalry was the responsibility of the Commander in Chief, standard drills being enforced through the adjutant general. The training of Ordnance troops lay with the master general of the Ordnance. There was no central direction of education of soldiers and soldiers' children until 1846, when the chaplain general was appointed also inspector general of Army schools.

As part of the reform of military administration begun in 1854 it was decided to bring together all aspects of military education under one authority, apart from tactical and technical training which remained the responsibility of the adjutant general. Consequently, in 1857, a Council of Military Education was formed, with the Commander in Chief as president. It became responsible for the education of officers, but Army schools remained with a separate inspector general of Army schools until the council took them over in 1860. In 1870 the council was abolished and its duties were transferred to a director general of military education, whose division formed part of the Commander in Chief's Military Department.

In the 1887-1888 reorganisation this division was divided into officers' education and soldiers' education sub-divisions; and when the Military Education Division was abolished in 1898 these sub-divisions passed respectively to the military secretary's division and the adjutant general's department.

In 1903 a new Directorate of Military Education was formed to take over these sub-divisions and the military training responsibilities of the adjutant general; but in the 1904 reforms this was abolished and a new Directorate of Military Training was formed under the chief of the general staff to be responsible for war organisation, home defence and training. Responsibility for officers' education passed to a Directorate of Staff Duties, and that for Army schools to a Directorate of Personal Services under the adjutant general. In 1907 responsibility for officers' education passed to the Directorate of Military Training. In 1914 this directorate's home defence duties passed to a separate Directorate of Home Defence, and in January 1916 it was abolished, officers' education and training passing to the Directorate of Staff Duties. When the Directorate of Military Training was revived in 1922, officers' and soldiers' education remained with the Directorate of Staff Duties, but responsibilities for soldiers' education and Army schools were transferred to the former in 1927, followed by officers' education in 1937.

From 1938 the directorate began to expand as training needs grew in the light of the increasing likelihood of a major European war. Its work covered all military training including technical aspects, preparation of War Office exercises, liaison with home forces on tactical doctrine and formation training, drafting of training publications, use of lessons learnt from theatres of war and inspection of standards in both units and training establishments. The director began to report to the Vice-Chief of the Imperial General Staff during the war. For a time there was an Inspector General of Training, separate from the directorate who was responsible for some of the inspectors.

In 1940 responsibility for technical training passed from the Directorate of Personal Services to the Directorate of Military Training and at the same time that for soldiers' education Army schools and wartime educational schemes and correspondence courses passed to a new Directorate of Army Education, from 1941 under the adjutant general. An Army Bureau of Current Affairs was established within it in 1941.

In 1947 the Directorate of Tactical Investigation was absorbed by the Directorate of Military Training which was headed by the newly created grade of director-general (DGMT) with the DMT as his deputy. On the creation of the new Ministry of Defence in 1964 the title of the Directorate of Military Training was changed to Directorate of Army Training.

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