Soldier. After leading a cavalry division during the second Boer War and serving as chief of the imperial general staff, ‘Johnnie’ French served as the first commander of the British army in France 1914–15. He was ill‐suited to this role. A charismatic cavalryman, he had little understanding of staff work or diplomacy. He was dismissed in December 1915 following failure at Loos in September–October 1915. He served 1918–21 as lord‐lieutenant of Ireland and was given a peerage in 1922 as 1st earl of Ypres.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).