Sir Douglas Haig's Despatches

product code 787

category Books -> General Military


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€29.04 $32.32

Paperback, 378 pages.

Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig (1861-1928) took command of the BEF on 19th December 1915, replacing Sir John French who had been in command since the outbreak of war. During the previous ten years Haig had been successively Director of Military Training, Director of Staff Duties (very much involved with the S of S for War, Haldane, in his reforms that led to the formation of the TF and the BEF), Chief of Staff, India and from March 1912, GOC in C Aldershot Command, which consisted of 1st and 2nd Infantry Divisions. On mobilization this became I Corps which he took to France in August 1914. His corps was scarcely touched by the Battle of Mons (40 out of a total 1,600 casualties), but suffered severely at First Ypres. At the end of 1914 First and Second Armies were formed with Haig commanding the First. 1915 was a bad year for the BEF, First Army conducting several unsuccessful offensives culminating in the Battle of Loos. French’s despatch describing the battle was challenged by Haig who maintained that the GHQ Reserve was put at his disposal significantly later than stated in the despatch; Haig made his complaint in writing. A few weeks later French resigned command of the BEF and, on 19 December 1915 Haig became C in C. On 1st January 1917 he was promoted to Field Marshal. The book contains the eight despatches covering Haig’s command from 19th December 1915 to 21st March 1919, but the Government, then led by Lloyd George, no fan of Haig’s, insisted on the deletion of certain passages before granting permission to publish. These deletions, indicated in the text by asterisks, were made in the Despatches of 25 December 1917 and 20 July 1918 and relate to the Third Ypres offensive (commonly known as Passchendaele) and to the BEF manpower shortages of early 1918 which led to divisions being reduced from twelve to nine battalions plus the pioneer battalion. This new edition publishes all those deleted passages in a special Preface and also, in two instances where the Government actually inserted its own words, gives the original text.