Commemorating Invisible Men: Reserved Occupations in Bronze and Stone
This chapter explores the emphases and omissions in the commemoration of British men on the home front in the Second World War, then and now. The materiality of memorials is considered against the historical theorisation of the construction of the People’s War, and the impact of the war on gender identities. The men who worked and survived on the home front constitute a highly diverse group, challenging to commemorative practices because of the multiplicity of roles encompassed, but also because of their relationship to military masculinity, and to women in both civilian and auxiliary occupations. This chapter thus explores the overt and covert hierarchies of war and challenges the existing models of the gender order in wartime to argue that the explanation for the invisibility of the civilian male at war and in subsequent commemoration must be sought in fuzzy not fixed gender boundaries.
This chapter is dedicated to Catherine Eaglestone for her unstinting support.