Discussing Captain Capon’s Cure: Food, Fitness & the British Army’s Physical Development Depots, 1936–1939

Discussion Paper Title

Captain Capon’s Cure – Food, Fitness and the British Army’s Physical Development Depots, 1936–1939.


In the late 1930s, the British Army faced a manpower crisis that threatened imperial defence. This predicament was made worse by the rejection on medical grounds of a worryingly high number of potential recruits.

To try and reverse this tendency, an experiment in feeding and physical exercise was instigated, supervised by Captain PJL Capon of the Royal Army Medical Corps.

This article investigates a largely ignored part of the social history of the British Army. Captain Capon’s ‘cure’ is examined in the context of scholarly interest in the body, fitness and health with particular reference to anxieties centred on notions of national degeneration.

You can read the full paper here: Captain Capons Cure – Food, Fitness & the British Armys Physical Development Depots, 1936-1939 (Davenport, 2014).


Davenport, P. (2014) Captains Capon’s Cure – Food, Fitness and the British Army’s Physical Development Depots, 1936-1939. Contemporary British History. 28(3), pp.253-273. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/13619462.2014.930347?needAccess=true. [Accessed: 02 February, 2017].


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