Primary Documents - Sir Douglas Haig's Despatches as British Commander-in-Chief, 1916-19

Sir Douglas Haig When Douglas Haig was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the British Armies operating in France and Flanders in December 1915 (succeeding Sir John French) he was expected to follow in the tradition of his predecessors with the periodical submittal of despatches from the Front, each detailing the progress of his armies' campaigns since the last such report.

Haig thus ensured delivery of eight despatches covering British operations from December 1915 until the war's close in November 1918.  The text of each is (or will be: this section is currently in preparation) reproduced below.

In 1919, amid the welter of war-related memoirs produced in the conflict's aftermath, Haig was persuaded to republish each of his despatches in book form for the first time (they were issued as Supplements to the London Gazette during wartime).

Consequently towards the end of 1919 Sir Douglas Haig's Despatches was published by J.M. Dent & Sons, edited by his Private Secretary J.H. Boraston.  Along with a preface from Haig himself a fulsome introduction - intended to accompany the French translation of the work - was written by the former Allied Supreme Commander, Marshal Ferdinand Foch.  The text of both are similarly included below.

Article Description
Preface by Sir Douglas Haig Written to accompany 1919 publication of despatches
Introduction by Ferdinand Foch Marshal Foch's tribute to Haig, written in 1919
Despatch 1 - St Eloi Operations Published 19 May 1916
Despatch 2 - Somme Offensive Published 23 December 1916
Despatch 3 - Retreat to Hindenburg Line Published 31 May 1917
Despatch 4 - Campaigns of 1917 Published 25 December 1917
Despatch 5 - Cambrai Operations Published 20 February 1918
Despatch 6 - Great German Offensive Published 20 July 1918 (not yet published online)
Despatch 7 - Advance to Victory Published 21 December 1918 (not yet published online)
Despatch 8 - Final Despatch Published 21 March 1919

"Toc Emmas" was slang for trench mortars.

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Primary Docs