The presentation will be live and online.
The quote is from William Robertson, Chief of Staff to the BEF and the ‘bugger’ in question is Lord Kitchener. It is the early hours of 10 December 1915, in the Hotel Crillon in Paris and Kitchener has just signed over to Robertson all his powers as chief strategic advisor to the government and agreed to appoint him Chief of the Imperial General Staff. From here on the Army will be the dominant voice in British strategic decision making.
By late 1915 the British strategy had by any measure failed on every front. All attacks on the Western Front had failed, Salonika was going nowhere, Gallipoli had failed. Yet although not one cabinet minister favoured an all out concentration in France and Belgium, they knew that by appointing Robertson to be Chief of the Imperial General Staff, that is what they would get
The road to the Hotel Crillon did not start with the formation of static trench lines at the end of 1914. It began much sooner, in the early 1900’s with two trends. One was the increasing conviction among the senior army officers that they should concentrate on planning for what they saw as an inevitable conflict in Europe, rather than be used in ‘penny packets’ around the Empire. The second was the increasing professionalisation of the Army which gave those self-same officers far more control over that strategy than they had ever had before.
Members wishing to participate will need to register: details of how to register will be circulated via The Western Front Association's newsletter 'Trench Lines'. If you are not a subscriber to 'Trench Lines' please subscribe now.
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It is also possible to register by clicking this link: The Bugger Signed
The talk will be undertaken using the 'Zoom' software which is freely available. It may not be necessary to load the software to your PC / iPad etc: but we would recommend doing so if you wish to participate in this event.