Jemma Lakmaker

Jemma Lakmaker


Thesis Title

The Social Integration of Ex-Servicemen with Military Induced Hearing Loss, post-1914


Manchester Metropolitan University


Dr Rosamund Oates
Dr Marcus Morris

Research Summary

My research explores the experiences of soldiers returning from the First World War (FWW) with hearing loss or deafness. Specifically, I investigate the responses of the British government, considering the policies and schemes introduced and how effective they were in providing a care and support system. I will also explore the contemporary attitudes of medical professionals and the British public towards the returning soldier with hearing loss or deafness. I will examine the importance of philanthropy and voluntarism for the care and rehabilitation of ex-servicemen with hearing loss, and the formation and value of veterans’ associations for giving them a voice. Throughout my thesis, I consider influencing factors such as the eugenics movement and social Darwinism, to the contemporary understanding of deafness as a disability, and how this may have contributed to the negative and arduous experiences of the ex-servicemen.

This will be the first study of deafness in ex-servicemen from the FWW, improving contemporary understandings and representations of disabled ex-servicemen. It will also provide a new insight into post-war ideas about disability, and make important contributions to veteran studies, war and conflict, disability, and the medical humanities. Whilst there are some recent histories exploring the soldier’s experiences of war and their homecoming in both history and literary studies, these either focus on more visible disabilities such as limb loss and facial disfigurements, or PTSD, and therefore lacks the voices of ex-servicemen with hearing loss and deafness from the historical record. My work reflects the increasing interest in disabled veterans seen in the increase in contemporary discourse. My thesis will provide an important bridge between the history of the returning soldier and disability studies, by incorporating research by Deaf activists as well as history academics and scholars.

Research Interests

minority groups and communities,
veteran studies / the returning soldier
and oppression.


Philanthropy and Voluntarism for the Care and Support of Disabled Veterans in Lancashire post WW1 – NWCDTP ‘Work-in Progress’ conference (2023) & Manchester Metropolitan University HRC PGR conference (2023)

Disability: Pedagogy and Identity in the Classroom – , ‘All of Us’, Disability History Association (2023)


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