Tag Archive: BEF

The Western Front, 1915

Poison Gas Attack

As 1914 faded and 1915 began, the hope that ‘it will all be over by Christmas’ rang a little hollow. In fact, almost all of the Regular Army had been wiped out in the battles of the autumn and early winter of 1914. Despite this, optimism remained high for the early part of 1915; Kitchener’s volunteer […]

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Sir John French (1852-1925)

Sir John French, 1st Earl of Ypres

Although his military career began in the Navy, French switched to the cavalry in 1870, after which he saw service in Ireland, India and Egypt before taking command of the 1st Cavalry Brigade, stationed at Aldershot. Following the Boer War French’s rise through the ranks continued until he was made a Field Marshal. In 1914 […]

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From First Shots to Stalemate

4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, 22nd August, 1914

In France, the Commander in Chief of the French army, General Joseph Joffre, had adopted Plan XVII, which revolved around the recapture of the territories of Alsace and Lorraine. The bulk of the French army would, therefore, be stationed in that region, leaving only a small force in the north. Joffre erroneously believed that Germany […]

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War – At Last!

British volunteers for "Kitchener's Army" waiting for their pay in the churchyard of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London, August 1914.

There was a general feeling of relief when war eventually broke out. There had been tension and certainty of conflict for so long, that many people now felt released from this and looked forward to the anticipated ‘adventure’ of war. Most assumed that this would be a short conflict and that it would definitely be […]

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