British Expeditionary Force (World War I)

British Expeditionary ForceBEFExpeditionary ForceForcesBritish Expeditionary Force (BEF)Old ContemptiblesB.E.F.British Expeditionary Forcesthe army in FranceBritish command
The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was the British Army sent to the Western Front during the First World War.wikipedia
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Battle of Mons

Monsretreat from MonsBattle of
By the end of 1914—after the battles of Mons, Le Cateau, the Aisne and Ypres—the old Regular Army had been wiped out, although it managed to help stop the German advance.
The Battle of Mons was the first major action of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in the First World War.

First Battle of Ypres

YpresYpres 1914Gheluvelt
By the end of 1914—after the battles of Mons, Le Cateau, the Aisne and Ypres—the old Regular Army had been wiped out, although it managed to help stop the German advance. The term "British Expeditionary Force" is often used to refer only to the forces present in France prior to the end of the First Battle of Ypres on 22 November 1914.
The battle was part of the First Battle of Flanders, in which German, French and Belgian armies and the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) fought from Arras in France to Nieuport on the Belgian coast, from 10 October to mid-November.

First Battle of the Marne

Battle of the MarneMarneMarne 1914
This led to the First Battle of the Marne, which was fought from 5 to 10 September 1914.
A counter-attack by six French armies and the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) along the Marne River forced the Imperial German Army to retreat northwest, leading to the First Battle of the Aisne and the Race to the Sea.

John French, 1st Earl of Ypres

John FrenchSir John FrenchFrench
Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany, who was famously dismissive of the BEF, allegedly issued an order on 19 August 1914 to "exterminate ... the treacherous English and walk over General French's contemptible little army". The force was commanded by Field Marshal Sir John French until December 1915, when he was replaced by General Sir Douglas Haig.
French’s most important role was as Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) for the first year and a half of the First World War.

Battle of Cambrai (1917)

Battle of CambraiCambraiCambrai 1917
They then concentrated in Belgium for the Battle of Messines and the Battle of Passchendale, and ended the year back in the Pas-de-Calais for the Battle of Cambrai.
The Battle of Cambrai (Battle of Cambrai, 1917, First Battle of Cambrai and Schlacht von Cambrai) was a British attack followed by the biggest German counter-attack against the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) since 1914, in the First World War.

Attack at Fromelles

FromellesFleurbaixforgotten mass grave at Fromelles
General Headquarters (GHQ) of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) had ordered the First and Second armies to prepare attacks to support the Fourth Army on the Somme, 80 km to the south, to exploit any weakening of the German defences opposite.

Second Army (United Kingdom)

Second ArmyBritish Second Army2nd Army
An alternative endpoint of the BEF was 26 December 1914, when it was divided into the First and Second Armies (a Third, Fourth and Fifth being created later in the war).
The Second Army was part of the British Army formed on 26 December 1914, when the British Expeditionary Force was split in two due to becoming too big to control its subordinate formations.

Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig

Douglas HaigSir Douglas HaigHaig
The force was commanded by Field Marshal Sir John French until December 1915, when he was replaced by General Sir Douglas Haig. The two initial Army Corps were commanded by Douglas Haig (I Corps) and Horace Smith-Dorrien (II Corps).
During the First World War he commanded the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) on the Western Front from late 1915 until the end of the war.

Battle of the Somme

SommeSomme offensivethe Somme
The Newfoundland Regiment was practically wiped out on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, suffering over 90% casualties.
Initial plans called for the French army to undertake the main part of the Somme offensive, supported on the northern flank by the Fourth Army of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF).

World War I

First World WarGreat WarFirst
The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was the British Army sent to the Western Front during the First World War.
The initial German advance in the West was very successful: by the end of August the Allied left, which included the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), was in full retreat; French casualties in the first month exceeded 260,000, including 27,000 killed on 22 August during the Battle of the Frontiers.

Archibald Murray

MurraySir A.J. MurraySir Archibald Murray
The BEF's Chief of Staff on mobilisation was General Archibald Murray.
He was Chief of Staff to the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in August 1914 but appears to have suffered a physical breakdown in the retreat from Mons, and was required to step down from that position in January 1915.

Second Battle of the Aisne

Chemin des DamesAisnethe Aisne
The strategy was to conduct sequenced offensives from north to south, by the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and several French army groups.

Horace Smith-Dorrien

Sir Horace Smith-DorrienSmith-DorrienHorace Lockwood Smith-Dorrien
The two initial Army Corps were commanded by Douglas Haig (I Corps) and Horace Smith-Dorrien (II Corps).
Smith-Dorrien held senior commands in the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) during the First World War.

First Battle of the Aisne

Battle of the AisneAisneAisne 1914
By the end of 1914—after the battles of Mons, Le Cateau, the Aisne and Ypres—the old Regular Army had been wiped out, although it managed to help stop the German advance.
In dense fog on the night of 13 September, most of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) crossed the Aisne on pontoons or partially demolished bridges, landing at Bourg-et-Comin on the right and at Venizel on the left.

Fourth Army (United Kingdom)

Fourth ArmyBritish Fourth Army4th Army
An alternative endpoint of the BEF was 26 December 1914, when it was divided into the First and Second Armies (a Third, Fourth and Fifth being created later in the war).
The Fourth Army was a field army that formed part of the British Expeditionary Force during the First World War.

First Army (United Kingdom)

First ArmyBritish First ArmyFirst
An alternative endpoint of the BEF was 26 December 1914, when it was divided into the First and Second Armies (a Third, Fourth and Fifth being created later in the war).
The First Army was part of the British Army during the First World War and was formed on 26 December 1914 when the corps of the British Expeditionary Force were divided into the First Army under Lieutenant-General Sir Douglas Haig and the Second Army under Horace Smith-Dorrien.

Battle of Le Cateau

Le CateauMons le CateauMons
By the end of 1914—after the battles of Mons, Le Cateau, the Aisne and Ypres—the old Regular Army had been wiped out, although it managed to help stop the German advance.
Although the Germans were victorious, the rearguard action was successful in that it allowed the majority of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) to escape to Saint-Quentin.

Battle of La Bassée

La BasséeLa Bassée 1914Battle of La Bassee
Upon arrival in Marseilles on 30 September 1914, only six weeks after the declaration of war, they were moved to the Ypres Salient and took part in the Battle of La Bassée in October 1914.
The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) had begun to move from the Aisne to Flanders on 5 October and reinforcements from England assembled on the left flank of the Tenth Army, which had been formed from the left flank units of the Second Army on 4 October.

Western Front (World War I)

Western FrontFranceWestern
The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was the British Army sent to the Western Front during the First World War.
After marching through Belgium, Luxembourg and the Ardennes, the Germans advanced into northern France in late August, where they met the French Army, under Joseph Joffre, and the divisions of the British Expeditionary Force under Field Marshal Sir John French.

Second Battle of the Marne

Aisne-MarneChampagne-MarneMarne
Following the failure of the Spring Offensive to end the conflict, Erich Ludendorff, Chief Quartermaster General, believed that an attack through Flanders would give Germany a decisive victory over the British Expeditionary Force (BEF).

I Corps (United Kingdom)

I CorpsBritish I Corps1st Army Corps
The two initial Army Corps were commanded by Douglas Haig (I Corps) and Horace Smith-Dorrien (II Corps). Plans had been drawn up for the British Army, in the event of war, to send soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force, which consisted of six infantry divisions and five cavalry brigades that were arranged into I Corps and II Corps.
Finally, the Haldane Reforms of 1907 established a six-division British Expeditionary Force for deployment overseas, but only Aldershot Command possessed two infantry divisions and a full complement of ‘army troops’ to form an army corps in the field.

British Army

ArmyBritishBritish troops
The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was the British Army sent to the Western Front during the First World War.
When the First World War broke out in August 1914 the British Army sent the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), consisting mainly of regular army troops, to France and Belgium.

II Corps (United Kingdom)

II CorpsBritish II Corps2nd Army Corps
The two initial Army Corps were commanded by Douglas Haig (I Corps) and Horace Smith-Dorrien (II Corps). Plans had been drawn up for the British Army, in the event of war, to send soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force, which consisted of six infantry divisions and five cavalry brigades that were arranged into I Corps and II Corps.
The Haldane Reforms of 1907 established a six-division British Expeditionary Force (BEF) for deployment overseas, which did not envisage any intermediate headquarters between GHQ and the infantry divisions.

Kitchener's Army

New ArmyNew ArmiesKitchener's New Armies
As the Regular Army's strength declined, the numbers were made up, first by the Territorial Force, then by volunteers from Field Marshal Kitchener's New Army.
Kitchener fought off opposition to his plan, and attempts to weaken or water down its potential, including piece-meal dispersal of the New Army battalions into existing regular or Territorial Force divisions (the view of the Commander-in-Chief of the BEF (British Expeditionary Force), Field Marshal French).

Julian Byng, 1st Viscount Byng of Vimy

Julian ByngThe Lord Byng of VimyThe Viscount Byng of Vimy
He was replaced after the battle of Arras in May 1917, by General Julian Byng.
Following distinguished service during the First World War—specifically, with the British Expeditionary Force in France, in the Battle of Gallipoli, as commander of the Canadian Corps at Vimy Ridge, and as commander of the British Third Army—Byng was in 1919 himself elevated to the peerage.