Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: British Widows of the South African War and the Origins of War Widows’ Pensions
Authors: Riedi, Eliza L.
First Published: 23-Sep-2017
Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP)
Citation: Twentieth Century British History, 2017, in press
Abstract: The South African War of 1899–1902 cost the lives of 22,000 British and colonial soldiers and created almost 5,000 British war widows. It was in this context that the first state pensions for the widows of rank and file soldiers were introduced in 1901. Triggered by unexpectedly high casualty rates and widespread dissatisfaction with charitable provision, the introduction of state pensions also reflected changing public attitudes towards soldiers and their dependants in the context of an imperial war. Dismissed in the historiography as insignificant because of its low rates and restrictive eligibility clauses, the 1901 scheme in fact delivered pensions to the majority of war widows and made the Edwardian state their most important source of financial support. This article, after discussing the social and political context in which widows’ pensions were developed, analyses the economics of the scheme and how key eligibility rules were formulated, before investigating significant changes in the scheme to 1920, the point at which Boer War widows were finally granted full maintenance. Strongly influenced by the practices of Victorian armed forces charities and by contemporary ideologies of gender and class, the South African War pension regulations created precedents which would continue to shape pensions for military widows to the end of the twentieth century.
DOI Link: 10.1093/tcbh/hwx051
ISSN: 0955-2359
eISSN: 1477-4674
Embargo on file until: 23-Sep-2019
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2017, the author(s). Deposited with reference to the publisher’s open access archiving policy.
Description: The file associated with this record is under embargo until 24 months after publication, in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy. The full text may be available through the publisher links provided above.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Historical Studies

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
TCBH Widows Revised Final.pdfPost-review (final submitted author manuscript)606.78 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in LRA are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.