The five years 1917–21 are commonly regarded as a period of unusual turmoil in Britain when fears of revolution reached an intensity unknown in more than three generations. In explaining this unrest, historians have naturally concentrated upon the organized Labour movement; upon the complex dialectics of a conservative rank-and-file marshalled behind creative revolutionary leaders in the engineering trades; and, in the trades unions and Labour party, upon the genesis and meaning of Clause IV. In all such studies the state's most powerful servants have, however, commanded relatively little attention. Other than as an instrument of public order intruding into industrial disputes, historians of the working class have shown scant interest in the serviceman who remains very much the ‘candy man’ in uniform. This article, by way of redress, is concerned to examine the character of unrest in the armed forces, to compare and contrast disaffection in the army and navy, and to review Labour's response to both veteran and serviceman.