Worthless Cheques and Financial Honour: Cheque Fraud and Canadian Gentlemen Officers during the First World War

  • Matthew Barrett


A social history of dishonoured cheques offers unique insights into notions of gentlemanliness and masculinity during the First World War by tracing Canadian officers’ personal interactions and financial transactions. Prosecuting cheque fraud by general court martial often required overseas authorities to intrude on private affairs of officers, thus marking the uncertain divide between military discipline and public scandal. Despite the idealized image of the respectable officer and gentleman as the epitome of financial integrity and trustworthiness, the boundary between reputable and disreputable behaviours proved more ambiguous depending on the specific social context in which an officer passed a worthless cheque.