Vintage Video - Sir John French, 1914

With Britain having entered the war Sir John French, newly appointed as Commander-in-Chief of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), set about the creation of the BEF, overseeing its preparations for departure to France.

In the event French proved temperamentally unsuitable for the task of commanding the BEF, becoming depressed after the setback at Mons.  It required an emergency visit from Kitchener, the Secretary of War, in September 1914 to stiffen French's resolve.

In the campaigning which followed, his incapability again became evident, coupled with poor judgement, which compelled his replacement in December 1915 by his then deputy, Douglas Haig.

Use the player above to view footage of Sir John French inspecting troops following his appointment in August 1914.

A "Brass Hat" was a high ranking officer.

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