Tag Archive: Sir John French

Sir Douglas Haig (1861-1928)

Sir Douglas Haig

Douglas Haig was born in Edinburgh on June 19th 1861, the youngest of the eleven children of John Haig, the head of the successful whisky distillery which still bears the family name. He was educated at Clifton College in Bristol and Brasenose College, Oxford, leaving university before completing his degree, so as to enroll at […]

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Horace Smith-Dorrien (1858-1930)

Horace Smith-Dorrien

Horace Lockwood Smith-Dorrien was born on 26th May 1858 at Berkhamsted and was the eleventh of the fifteen children of Robert Algernon and Mary Ann Smith-Dorrien. Following his education at Harrow, he attended the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, from where he joined the 95th Regiment of Foot and saw service in the Zulu Wars, […]

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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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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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