The Skeleton Army

The Salvation Army is a Protestant church modelled on pseudo-military lines. It was founded in Victorian London and often protested about the evils of alcohol. And another army arose to fight them.

The Skeleton Army
Jack1956 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Skeleton Armies formed in the south of England to fight the Salvationists and their mission. Under a skull and crossbones flag, they attacked Salvation Army marches and damaged “barracks” (churches). In contrast to the Salvationists’ goal of “soup, soap, and salvation” they had “beef, beer, and bacca” – and in contrast the motto “blood and fire” they had “blood and thunder.”

The Salvationists ultimately won: the Salvation Army boasts 1,650,000 members today, whereas the Skeleton Army disappeared in the 1880s.

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