Siege of Kimberley
The Siege of Kimberley took place during the Second Boer War at Kimberley, Cape Colony, when Boer forces from the Orange Free State and the Transvaal besieged the diamond mining town. The Boers moved to try to capture the British enclave when war broke out between the British and the two Boer republics in October 1899; the town was ill-prepared, but the defenders organised an energetic and effective improvised defence, able to prevent it from being taken. Cecil Rhodes, who had made his fortune in the town, who controlled all the mining activities, moved into the town at the onset of the siege, his presence was controversial, as his involvement in the Jameson Raid made him one of the primary protagonists behind war breaking out. Rhodes was in constant disagreement with the military, but he was nonetheless instrumental in organising the defence of the town; the Boers shelled the town with their superior artillery in an attempt to force the garrison to capitulate. Engineers of the De Beers company manufactured a one-off gun named Long Cecil, however the Boers soon countered with a much larger siege gun that terrified the residents, forcing many to take shelter in the Kimberley Mine.
The British military had to change its strategy for the war as public opinion demanded that the sieges of Kimberley and Mafeking be relieved before the Boer capitals were assaulted. The first attempt at relief of Kimberley under Lord Methuen was stopped at the battles of Modder River and Magersfontein; the 124-day siege was relieved on 15 February 1900 by a cavalry division under Lieutenant-General John French, part of a larger force under Lord Roberts. The battle against the Boer general Piet Cronjé continued at Paardeberg after the town itself was relieved. South Africa was a Dutch colony after the Dutch East India Company set up a shipping station at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652. In 1815, Britain captured the territory at the Battle of Blaauwberg, setting the scene for an influx of English settlers who were culturally at odds with the existing Dutch population, notably with respect to issues such as the abolition of slavery. Many Dutch farmers elected to move away from British influence into the hinterland, which resulted in a mass migration known as the Great Trek.
As people moved inland, prospecting for minerals started. The discoveries led to a massive influx of Uitlanders into the Boer republics of the Orange Free State and Transvaal. Tension soon developed between the two Boer republics; the causes of the war were complex, with contributing factors including the Boers' desire for independence, the prize of the rich gold fields, British colonial expansionist ambitions in Africa, perceived ill-treatment of British expatriates working in the Boer republics, the First Boer War and a failed British-organised uprising in the form of the Jameson Raid. Discussions broke down in October 1899 when the British ignored a Boer ultimatum to stop concentrating forces on the borders of the Boer republics. Prior to the onset of the Second Boer War, Kimberley was the second biggest settlement in the Cape Colony, centre of diamond mining operations of the De Beers Mining Company, the source of 90% of the world's diamonds; the town had a population of 40,000. It was the only British outpost in the far north east of the colony, located just a few kilometres from the borders of the Boer republics of the Transvaal and Orange Free State.
The closest Boer settlements were Jacobsdal to Boshof to the east. The De Beers company was concerned about the defence of Kimberley some years before the outbreak of the war its vulnerability to attack from the neighbouring Orange Free State. In 1896, an arms depot was formed, a plan of defence sent to the authorities and a local defence force set up; as it began to look more that war would break out, the nervous citizens of Kimberley appealed to the premier of the Cape Colony, William Philip Schreiner, for additional protection, but he did not believe the town to be under serious threat and declined to arm it further. His reply to an appeal for arms in September 1899 stated: "There is no reason whatever for apprehending that Kimberley is or will be in any danger of attack and your fears are therefore groundless." The town next appealed to this time with more success. On 4 October 1899, Major Scott-Turner was permitted to summon volunteers to join the town guard and raise the Diamond Fields Artillery.
Three days the town was placed under the command of Colonel Robert Kekewich of the 1st Battalion, Loyal Regiment, secured against a coup de main, but not against sustained siege. Colonel Kekewich's troops consisted of four companies of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, some Royal Engineers, six RML 2.5 inch mountain guns and two machine guns. At his disposal were 120 men of the Cape Police, 2,000 irregular troops, the Kimberley Light Horse, a battery of obsolete seven-pounder guns. Eight Maxim machine guns were mounted on redoubts built atop tailing heaps around the town. Cecil John Rhodes, the founder of De Beers, was contemplating moving into the town; the citizens feared that his presence there, given his prominent role in the breakdown of Anglo-Boer relations leading up to the war, would antagonise the Boers. The mayor of Kimberley, as well as various associates of Rhodes, tried to discourage
Joseph Yorke, 1st Baron Dover
General Joseph Yorke, 1st Baron Dover KB, PC, styled The Honourable Joseph Yorke until 1761 and The Honourable Sir Joseph Yorke between 1761 and 1788, was a British soldier and Whig politician. Yorke was the third son of Philip Yorke, 1st Earl of Hardwicke, by Margaret, daughter of Charles Cocks. Philip Yorke, 2nd Earl of Hardwicke, Charles Yorke and James Yorke were his brothers. Yorke served in the War of the Austrian Succession as an aide-de-camp to the Duke of Cumberland, fought in the Battle of Fontenoy in 1745, he became a Major-General in 1758, a Lieutenant-General in 1760 and a full General in 1777. In 1749 he was appointed Secretary to the British Embassay in Paris. Two years he became Minister Plenipotentiary to the United Provinces, a post he held for the next thirty years, he was involved in the Anglo-Prussian Convention in 1758. His post was upgraded to that of ambassador in 1761. During this period he sat in the House of Commons for East Grinstead between 1751 and 1761, for Dover between 1761 and 1774 and for Grampound between 1774 and 1780.
He was appointed a Knight Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1761 and sworn of the Privy Council in 1768. In 1788 he was raised to the peerage as Lord Dover, Baron of the Town and Port of Dover, in the County of Kent. Lord Dover married Christiana Charlotte Margaret, daughter of Johan Henrik, Baron de Stöcken, a Danish nobleman, in 1783, they had no children. He died in December 1792, aged 68. Lady Dover only survived her husband by three months and died in March 1793. "Yorke, Joseph". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900
Edmund Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby
Field Marshal Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby, was an English soldier and British Imperial Governor. He fought in the Second Boer War and in the First World War, in which he led the British Empire's Egyptian Expeditionary Force during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign against the Ottoman Empire in the conquest of Palestine; the British succeeded in capturing Beersheba and Jerusalem from October to December 1917. His forces occupied the Jordan Valley during the summer of 1918 went on to capture northern Palestine and defeat the Ottoman Yildirim Army Group's Eighth Army at the Battle of Megiddo, forcing the Fourth and Seventh Army to retreat towards Damascus. Subsequently, the EEF Pursuit by Desert Mounted Corps captured Damascus and advanced into northern Syria. During this pursuit, he commanded T. E. Lawrence, whose campaign with Faisal's Arab Sherifial Forces assisted the EEF's capture of Ottoman Empire territory and fought the Battle of Aleppo, five days before the Armistice of Mudros ended the campaign on 30 October 1918.
He continued to serve in the region as High Commissioner for Egypt and Sudan from 1919 until 1925. Allenby was born in 1861, the son of Hynman Allenby and Catherine Anne Allenby and was educated at Haileybury College, he had no great desire to be a soldier, tried to enter the Indian Civil Service but failed the entry exam. He sat the exam for the Royal Military College, Sandhurst in 1880 and was commissioned as a lieutenant in the 6th Dragoons on 10 May 1882, he joined his regiment in South Africa that year, taking part in the Bechuanaland Expedition of 1884-85. After serving at the cavalry depot in Canterbury, he was promoted to captain on 10 January 1888 and returned to South Africa. Allenby returned to Britain in 1890 and he sat – and failed – the entry exam for the Staff College in Camberley. Not deterred, he passed. Captain Douglas Haig of the 7th Hussars entered the Staff College at the same time, thus beginning a rivalry between the two that ran until the First World War. Allenby was more popular with fellow officers being made Master of the Draghounds in preference to Haig, the better rider.
Their contemporary James Edmonds claimed that the staff at Staff College thought Allenby dull and stupid but were impressed by a speech that he gave to the Farmers' Dinner, which had in fact been written for him by Edmonds and another. He was promoted to major on 19 May 1897 and was posted to the 3rd Cavalry Brigade serving in Ireland, as the Brigade-Major in March 1898. Following the outbreak of the Second Boer War in October 1899, Allenby returned to his regiment, the Inniskillings embarked at Queenstown and landed at Cape Town, South Africa that year, he took part in the actions at Colesberg on 11 January 1900, Klip Drift on 15 February 1900 and Dronfield Ridge on 16 February 1900, was mentioned in despatches by the commander-in-chief, Lord Roberts on 31 March 1900. Major Allenby was appointed to command the squadron of New South Wales Lancers, who were camped beside the Australian Light Horse outside Bloemfontein. Both men and horses suffered from the continuous rain and cases of enteric fever were taken away every day.
Allenby soon established himself as a strict disciplinarian, according to A. B. Paterson imposing a curfew on the officer's mess. Allenby participated in the actions at Zand River on 10 May 1900, Kalkheuval Pass on 3 June 1900, Barberton on 12 September 1900 and Tevreden on 16 October 1900 when the Boer General Jan Smuts was defeated, he was promoted to local lieutenant-colonel on 1 January 1901, to local colonel on 29 April 1901. In a despatch dated 23 June 1902, Lord Kichener, Commander-in-Chief during the latter part of the war, described him as "a popular and capable Cavalry Brigadier". For his services during the war, he was appointed a Companion of the Order of the Bath in the South Africa honours list published on 26 June 1902, he received the actual decoration of CB from King Edward VII during an investiture at Buckingham Palace on 24 October 1902. Allenby returned to Britain in 1902 and became commanding officer of the 5th Royal Irish Lancers in Colchester with the substantive rank of lieutenant-colonel on 2 August 1902, the brevet rank of colonel from 22 August 1902.
He was promoted to the substantive rank of colonel and to the temporary rank of brigadier general on 19 October 1905. He assumed command of the 4th Cavalry Brigade in 1906, he was promoted again to the rank of major-general on 10 September 1909 and was appointed Inspector-General of Cavalry in 1910 due to his extensive cavalry experience. He was nicknamed "The Bull" due to an increasing tendency for sudden bellowing outbursts of explosive rage directed at his subordinates, combined with his powerful physical frame. Allenby stood 6'2 with a barrel chest and his bad temper made "The Bull" a figure who inspired much consternation under those who had to work under him. During the First World War, Allenby served on the Western Front. At the outbreak of war in August 1914, a British Expeditionary Force was sent to France, it consisted of four infantry divisions and one cavalry division, the latter commanded by Allenby. The cavalry division first saw action in semi-chaotic circumstances covering the retreat after the Battle of Mons opposing the German Army's invasion of France.
One of Allenby's subordinates claimed at the time: "He cannot explain verbally, with any lucidity at all, what his plans are". When a headquarters officer asked why Hubert Gough's cavalry brigade was miles from where it was supposed to be, he received the reply: "He told me he was getting as far away from t
Battle of Mons
The Battle of Mons was the first major action of the British Expeditionary Force in the First World War. It was a subsidiary action of the Battle of the Frontiers, in which the Allies clashed with Germany on the French borders. At Mons, the British Army attempted to hold the line of the Mons–Condé Canal against the advancing German 1st Army. Although the British fought well and inflicted disproportionate casualties on the numerically superior Germans, they were forced to retreat due both to the greater strength of the Germans and the sudden retreat of the French Fifth Army, which exposed the British right flank. Though planned as a simple tactical withdrawal and executed in good order, the British retreat from Mons lasted for two weeks and took the BEF to the outskirts of Paris before it counter-attacked in concert with the French, at the Battle of the Marne. Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914 and on 9 August, the BEF began embarking for France. Unlike Continental European armies, the BEF in 1914 was exceedingly small.
At the beginning of the war, the German and French armies numbered well over a million men each, divided into eight and five field armies respectively. The BEF was the best trained and most experienced of the European armies of 1914. British training emphasised rapid-fire marksmanship and the average British soldier was able to hit a man-sized target fifteen times a minute, at a range of 300 yards with his Lee–Enfield rifle; this ability to generate a high volume of accurate rifle-fire played an important role in the BEF's battles of 1914. The Battle of Mons took place as part of the Battle of the Frontiers, in which the advancing German armies clashed with the advancing Allied armies along the Franco-Belgian and Franco-German borders; the BEF was stationed on the left of the Allied line, which stretched from Alsace-Lorraine in the east to Mons and Charleroi in southern Belgium. The British position on the French flank meant that it stood in the path of the German 1st Army, the outermost wing of the massive "right hook" intended by the Schlieffen Plan, to pursue the Allied armies after defeating them on the frontier and force them to abandon northern France and Belgium or risk destruction.
The British reached Mons on 22 August. On that day, the French Fifth Army, located on the right of the BEF, was engaged with the German 2nd and 3rd armies at the Battle of Charleroi. At the request of the Fifth Army commander, General Charles Lanrezac, the BEF commander, Field Marshal Sir John French, agreed to hold the line of the Condé–Mons–Charleroi Canal for twenty-four hours, to prevent the advancing German 1st Army from threatening the French left flank; the British thus spent the day digging in along the canal. At the Battle of Mons the BEF had some 80,000 men, comprising the Cavalry Division, an independent cavalry brigade and two corps, each with two infantry divisions. I Corps was composed of the 1st and 2nd Divisions. II Corps was consisted of the 3rd and 5th Divisions; each division had 5,592 horses, in three brigades of four battalions. Each division had twenty-four Vickers machine guns – two per battalion – and three field artillery brigades with fifty-four 18-pounder guns, one field howitzer brigade of eighteen 4.5-inch howitzers and a heavy artillery battery of four 60-pounder guns.
The II Corps, on the left of the British line, occupied defensive positions along the Mons–Condé Canal, while I Corps was positioned at a right angle away from the canal, along the Mons–Beaumont road. I Corps was deployed in this manner to protect the right flank of the BEF, in case the French were forced to retreat from their position at Charleroi. I Corps did not line the canal, which meant that it was little involved the battle and the German attack was faced by II Corps; the dominant geographical feature of the battlefield, was a loop in the canal, jutting outwards from Mons towards the village of Nimy. This loop formed a small salient, difficult to defend and formed the focus of the battle; the first contact between the two armies occurred on 21 August, when a British bicycle reconnaissance team encountered a German unit near Obourg. The first substantial action occurred on the morning of 22 August. At 6:30 a.m. the 4th Royal Irish Dragoons laid an ambush for a patrol of German lancers outside the village of Casteau, to the north-east of Mons.
When the Germans spotted the trap and fell back, a troop of the dragoons, led by Captain Hornby gave chase, followed by the rest of his squadron, all with drawn sabres. The retreating Germans led the British to a larger force of lancers, whom they promptly charged and Captain Hornby became the first British soldier to kill an enemy in the Great War, fighting on horseback with sword against lance. After a further pursuit of a few miles, the Germans turned and fired upon the Irish cavalry, at which point the dragoons dismounted and opened fire. Drummer E. Edward Thomas is reputed to have fired the first shot of the war for the British Army, hitting a German trooper. Advancing towards the British was the German 1st Army, commanded by Alexander von Kluck; the 1st Army was composed of four active corps and three reserve corps, although only the active corps took part in the fighting at Mons. German corps had two divisions each, with attendant artillery; the 1st Army had the greatest offensive power of
Battle of Tell El Kebir
The Battle of Tel El Kebir was fought between the Egyptian army led by Ahmed Urabi and the British military near Tell El Kebir. After discontented Egyptian officers under Urabi rebelled in 1882, the United Kingdom reacted to protect its interests in the country, in particular the Suez Canal. On May 20, 1882, a combined Franco - British fleet arrived at Alexandria. At the same time, Egyptian troops were reinforcing the coastal defenses of the city in anticipation of an attack; these events heightened tension in Alexandria, triggered tumultuous rioting with loss of life on both sides. As a result of the riots, an ultimatum was sent to the Egyptian government demanding they order Urabi's officers in Alexandria to dismantle their coastal defence batteries; the Egyptian government refused. Meanwhile, tension increased between Britain and France over the crisis, as most of the losses had been non-French, the principal European beneficiaries of the revolution would be the French. Thus, the French government refused to support this ultimatum and decided against armed intervention.
When the ultimatum was ignored, Admiral Seymour gave the order for the Royal Navy to bombard the Egyptian gun emplacements at Alexandria. On July 11 at 7:00 am, the first shell was fired on Fort Adda by HMS Alexandra and by 7:10, the entire fleet was engaged; the coastal defenses returned fire soon after, with minimal effect and minimal casualties to the British fleet. No British ships were sunk. On July 13, a large naval force landed in the city. Despite heavy resistance from the garrison for several hours, the overwhelming superiority of the smaller British forces forced the Egyptian troops to withdraw from the city. Lieutenant General Garnet Wolseley was placed in charge of a large force with the aim of destroying Urabi's regime and restoring the nominal authority of the Khedive Tawfiq; the total force was 24,000 British troops, which concentrated in Malta and Cyprus, a force of 7,000 Indian troops which staged through Aden. Wolseley first tried to reach Cairo directly from Alexandria.'Urabi deployed his troops at Kafr El Dawwar between Cairo and Alexandria and prepared substantial defences.
There, attacks by British troops were repelled for five weeks at the Battle of Kafr El Dawwar. Wolseley decided to approach Cairo from a different route, he resolved to attack from the direction of the Suez canal.'Urabi knew that Wolseley's only other approach to Cairo was from the canal, he wanted to block it. Ferdinand de Lesseps, upon knowing of Urabi's intentions, assured him the British would never risk damaging the canal, would avoid involving it in operations at all costs according to Lutsky, he "gave his word of honour to Urabi not to permit the landing of British troops in the Canal Zone, Urabi trusted de Lesseps. By so doing, Urabi committed a grave military and political mistake".'Urabi listened to his advice and did not block the canal, leaving it open for an invasion by British forces. When Wolseley had arrived at Alexandria on 15 August he began to organise the movement of troops through the Suez Canal to Ismaïlia; this was accomplished so Ismailia was occupied on 20 August without resistance.
Ismailia was reinforced with 9,000 troops, with the engineers put to work repairing the railway line from Suez. A small force was pushed along the Sweet Water Canal to the Kassassin lock arriving on 26 August.'Urabi attempted to repel the advance and attacked the British forces near Kassassin on 28 August. The British troops were caught by surprise. Fighting was intense but the two British battalions, with their 4 artillery pieces, held their position; the British Heavy Cavalry, composed of the Household Cavalry and the 7th Dragoon Guards had been following the infantry and were encamped 4 miles away. When the cavalry arrived, the British went onto the offensive and causing heavy casualties on the Egyptians, forced them to retreat 5 miles. A further attack by Egyptian forces at Kassassin was repulsed and the Egyptians retired to their lines to build defences.'Urabi had redeployed to defend Cairo against Wolseley. His main force dug in at Tel El Kebir, north of the railway and the Sweetwater Canal, both of which linked Cairo to Ismailia on the canal.
The defences included trenches and redoubts. Urabi's forces possessed 60 pieces of artillery and breech loading rifles. Wolseley made several personal reconnaissances, determined that the Egyptians did not man outposts in front of their main defences at night, which made it possible for an attacking force to approach the defences under cover of darkness. Rather than make an outflanking movement around Urabi's entrenchments, which would involve a long march through waterless desert, or undertake formal bombardment and assault, Wolseley planned to approach the position by night and attack frontally at dawn, hoping to achieve surprise. Wolseley began his advance from Ismailia on the night of 12 September, with two infantry divisions and a cavalry brigade. A brigade of Indian troops covered the flank on the southern bank of the Sweetwater Canal; the approach march of the main forces was made easier because the desert west of Kassassin was flat and unobstructed, making it look like a gigantic parade ground.
Though there were repeated halts to maintain dressing and alignment, the British troops reached the Egyptian position at the time Wolseley intended. At 5.45 a.m. Wolseley's troops were six hundred yards from the entrenchments and dawn was just breaking, when Egyptian sentries saw them and fired; the first shots were followed by multiple volleys by the artillery. British troops, led by the Highland Brigade on the left flank, the 2nd Brigade
Life Guards (United Kingdom)
The Life Guards is the senior regiment of the British Army and part of the Household Cavalry, along with the Blues and Royals. The Life Guards grew from the four troops of Horse Guards raised by Charles II around the time of his restoration, plus two troops of Horse Grenadier Guards, which were raised some years later; the first troop was raised in Bruges in 1658 as His Majesty's Own Troop of Horse Guards. They formed part of the contingent raised by the exiled King Charles II as his contribution to the army of King Philip IV of Spain who were fighting the French and their allies the English Commonwealth under the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell in the Franco-Spanish War and the concurrent Anglo-Spanish War; the second troop was founded in 1659 as Monck's Life Guards. The third troop, like the first troop was formed in 1658 from exiled Royalists and was known as The Duke of York's Troop of Horse Guards; the fourth troop was raised in 1661 in England. The first troop of horse grenadier guards was formed in 1693 from the amalgamation of three troops of grenadiers.
The second troop of horse grenadier guards was raised in Scotland in 1702. These units first saw action during the Third Anglo-Dutch War in 1672 and at the Battle of Sedgemoor during the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685; the 3rd and 4th troops were disbanded in 1746. In 1788, the remaining 1st and 2nd troops, along with the two troops of Horse Grenadier Guards, were reorganised into two regiments, the 1st and 2nd Regiments of Life Guards. From on, rank and file were formed of commoners, the bulk of the gentlemen-troopers were pensioned off. In 1815 they were part of The Household Brigade at the Battle of Waterloo under Major-General Lord Edward Somerset. In 1821, the Life Guards under the command of Captain Oakes fired upon mourners trying to redirect the funeral procession of Queen Caroline through the city of London. Two civilians were killed. Though charges of manslaughter and murder were brought back on them, no guardsmen were prosecuted. In late 1918, after much service in the First World War, the two regiments gave up their horses and were re-roled as machine gun battalions, becoming the 1st and 2nd Battalions, Guards Machine Gun Regiment.
They reverted to their previous roles after the end of the war. In 1922, the two regiments were merged into The Life Guards. In 1928, it was re-designated The Life Guards. During the Second World War, the Life Guards took part in the Normandy landings and the advance through France to liberate Brussels. In 1992, as part of the Options for Change defence review, The Life Guards were joined together with the Blues and Royals in a'Union', not an amalgamation, forming the Household Cavalry Regiment and the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. However, they maintain their regimental identity, with distinct uniforms and traditions, their own colonel. In common with the Blues and Royals, they have a peculiar non-commissioned rank structure: In brief, they lack sergeants, replacing them with multiple grades of corporal. Names used by the regiment were as follows: From 1788, 1st Regiment of Life Guards and 2nd Regiment of Life Guards The following troops were reorganised into 1st Regiment of Life Guards 1st Troop of Horse Guards 1st Troop, Horse Grenadier Guards and the following troops were reorganised into 2nd Regiment of Life Guards 2nd Troop of Horse Guards 2nd Troop, Horse Grenadier Guards From 1877, 1st Life Guards and 2nd Life Guards From 1922, The Life Guards From 1928, The Life Guards On ceremonial occasions the Life Guards wear a scarlet tunic, a metal cuirass and a matching helmet with a white plume worn bound on the top into an'onion' shape.
In addition, the Life Guards wear their chin strap below their lower lip, as opposed to the Blues and Royals who wear it under their chin. On service dress the Life Guards Officers and Warrant Officer Class Ones wear a red lanyard on the right shoulder, as well as a Sam Browne belt; the Life Guards, as part of the Household Division, does not use the Order of the Bath Star for its officer rank'pips', but rather the Order of the Garter Star. The battle honours are:: Dettingen, Waterloo, Tel-el-Kebir, Egypt 1882, Relief of Kimberley, South Africa 1899–1900 The Great War: Mons, Le Cateau, Marne 1914, Aisne 1914, Messines 1914, Ypres 1914, Passchendaele 1917'18, Somme 1916'18, Arras 1917'18, Hindenburg Line and Flanders 1914–18 The Second World War: Mont Pincon, Noireau Crossing, Amiens 1944, Neerpelt, Nijmegen, Bentheim, North-West Europe 1944-45, Baghdad 1941, Iraq 1941, Syria 1941, El Alamein, North Africa 1942–43, Advance to Florence, Gothic Line, Italy 1944 Wadi al Batin, Gulf 1991, Al Basrah, Iraq 2003.
Afghanistan war The Colonels-in-Chief of the regiment were: 21 May 1922 – 1 February 1936: Field Marshal HM King George V 1 February 1936 – 10 December 1936: Field Marshal HM King Edward VIII 10 December 1936 – 6 February 1952: Field Marshal HM King George VI 6 February 1952 – present: HM Queen Elizabeth II The Regimental Colonels were: 1922: Maj-Gen. Hon. Sir Cecil Edward Bingham 1922: F. M. Sir Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, 1st Viscount Allenby (from 1st Life Guards.
Hundred Days Offensive
The Hundred Days Offensive was an Allied offensive which ended the First World War. Beginning with the Battle of Amiens on the Western Front, the Allies pushed Central Powers back after their gains from the Spring Offensive; the Germans retreated to the Hindenburg Line, culminating in the Armistice of 11 November 1918. The term "Hundred Days Offensive" does not refer to a battle or strategy, but rather the rapid series of Allied victories against which the German armies had no reply; the Spring Offensive of the German Army on the Western Front had begun on 21 March 1918 with Operation Michael and had petered out by July. The Germans had failed to achieve a decisive victory; when Operation Marne-Rheims ended in July, the Allied supreme commander Ferdinand Foch ordered a counter-offensive, which became known as the Second Battle of the Marne. The Germans, recognising their untenable position, withdrew from the Marne to the north. For this victory, Foch was granted the title Marshal of France. Foch considered.
The American Expeditionary Force was present in France in large numbers and invigorated the Allied armies. Pershing was keen to use his army as an independent force; the British Expeditionary Force had been reinforced by large numbers of troops returned from the Sinai and Palestine Campaign and the Italian Front and replacements held back in Britain by the Prime Minister, David Lloyd George. A number of proposals were considered and Foch agreed on a proposal by Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, Commander-in-Chief of the BEF, to strike on the River Somme, east of Amiens and south-west of the site of the 1916 Battle of the Somme, to force the Germans away from the vital Amiens–Paris railway; the Somme was chosen because it remained the boundary between the BEF and the French armies, along the Amiens–Roye road, allowing the two armies to cooperate. The Picardy terrain provided a good surface for tanks, not the case in Flanders, the defences of the German 2nd Army, were weak, having been subjected to continual raiding by the Australians in a process termed peaceful penetration.
The Battle of Amiens opened on 8 August 1918, with an attack by more than 10 Allied divisions—Australian, Canadian and French forces—with more than 500 tanks. Through careful preparation, the Allies achieved surprise; the attack, led by the British Fourth Army, broke through the German lines, tanks attacked German rear positions, sowing panic and confusion. By the end of the day, a gap 15 mi wide had been created in the German line south of the Somme; the Allies had taken 330 guns. Total German losses were estimated to be 30,000 men, while the Allies had suffered about 6,500 killed and missing; the collapse in German morale led Erich Ludendorff to dub it "the Black Day of the German Army". The advance continued for three more days but without the spectacular results of 8 August, since the rapid advance outran the supporting artillery and ran short of supplies. During those three days, the Allies had managed to gain 12 mi. Most of this was taken on the first day as the arrival of German reinforcements after this slowed the Allied advance.
On 10 August, the Germans began to pull out of the salient that they had managed to occupy during Operation Michael in March, back towards the Hindenburg Line. On 15 August 1918, Foch demanded that Haig continue the Amiens offensive though the attack was faltering as the troops outran their supplies and artillery and German reserves were being moved to the sector. Haig refused and prepared to launch a fresh offensive by the Third Army at Albert, which opened on 21 August; the offensive was a success. Albert was captured on 22 August; the attack was widened on the south, by the French Tenth Army starting the Second Battle of Noyon on 17 August, capturing the town of Noyon on 29 August. On 26 August, to the north of the initial attack, the First Army widened the attack by another 7 mi with the Second Battle of Arras of 1918. Bapaume fell on 29 August. With the front line broken, a number of battles took place as the Allies forced the Germans back to the Hindenburg Line. East of Amiens, with artillery brought forward and munitions replenished, the Fourth Army resumed its advance, with the Australian Corps crossing the Somme River on the night of 31 August, breaking the German lines during the Battle of Mont Saint-Quentin.
On 26 August, to the north of the Somme, the First Army widened the attack by another 7 mi with the Second Battle of Arras of 1918, which includes the Battle of the Scarpe and the Battle of Drocourt-Queant Line. South of the BEF, the French First Army approached the Hindenburg Line on the outskirts of St. Quentin during the Battle of Savy-Dallon, the French Tenth Army approached the Hindenburg Line near Laon during the Battle of Vauxaillon; the British Fourth Army approached the Hindenburg Line along the St Quentin Canal, during the Battle of Épehy. By 2 September, the Germans had been forced back close to the Hindenburg Line from which they had launched their offensive in the spring. Foch planned a series of concentric attacks on the German lines in France, with the various axes of advance designed to cut German lateral communications, intending that the s