Chief of British Expeditionary Force
Pour les Francais"
LORD John FRENCH
"FRANCAIS POUR LES
John FRENCH (1852-1925)
"Francais Pour les Francais", Toby Jug Ca.
high x 5"wide
Ltd., England, Ca. 1915. Signed by F. Carruthers Gould. Exclusive
to Soane & Smith Ltd. 482 Oxford Street, London.
HIGHLIGHTS OF GENERAL FRENCH'S CAREER:
- * Promoted Field Marshal 1913. Chief
of Imperial General Staff 1912-1914.
* Commander in Chief British Expeditionary Force (BEF) 1914.
* Moved the BEF to France in the opening days of the War. Expected
to join the French army in offensive operations on concentration
in August. Instead the BEF was attacked by superior German forces
from the right wing of the massive German wheel through Belgium.
Desperate battles at Mons and Le Cateau.
* Orders retreat of the BEF, Informs his staff of his intention
to withdraw the BEF from the battle line to refit south of the
River Seine. Lord Kitchener, the Secretary of State for was travels
to Paris and directs French to support the French forces in their
battle with the advancing Germans.
* The BEF retreats south of the Marne, then turns around and
attacks. This attack was critical in forcing the Germans to retreat
to the Aisne River (Battle of the Marne).
* French continues as Commander in Chief of the BEF, through
the critical battles in the northwest where the Germans attempt
to break the allied defenses at Ypres. This battle spelled the
end of the "Old Contemptibles", the original BEF.
* Continues in command of the BEF until September 1915. During
that time the BEF conducts attack the German line at Neuve Chappelle
in March. Defends itself against a major German attach at Ypres,
where the Germans use poison gas for the first time on the Western
Front. Conducts two more major offensive operations at Festaburt
and Loos. Each of these attacks is a failure, with constantly
increasing casualties with little success. French blames the
high command for shortages of high explosive shell. His subordinates,
particularly Gen. Haig, the First Army commander, blames French.
* French is relieved of his command, September 1915.
* Commander Home Forces, 1915-1918.
* Lord Lieutenant of Ireland 1918-1921.