‘A Contemptible Little Army’ The BEF in 1914

Centre for War Studies Public Programme

The Autumn Day School

Saturday, 12 November 2011

‘A Contemptible Little Army’

The BEF in 1914

The British Official Historian Sir James Edmonds described the British Expeditionary Force that sailed for France in August 1914 as ‘in every respect … incomparably the best trained, best organized, and best equipped British Army which ever went forth to war’. A recent American writer described the British soldier in 1914 as ‘man for man … without peer in the world’. After the war, Sir Edward Spears concluded that without the BEF France would have faced ‘final and irremediable defeat’ in 1914. But in the past few years all these judgements have been subject to increased challenge, notably by the former US army major, Terence Zuber. This Day School looks afresh at the strengths, weaknesses and achievements of the BEF in 1914.


10.00 – Welcome and Introduction by Dr John Bourne

10.15 – ‘A Colonial Army in Europe? The BEF in 1914’ (Dr Spencer Jones, University of Birmingham)

11.30 – Coffee

12.00 – ‘The BEF’s Infantry Battalion Commanders in 1914’ (Peter Hodgkinson, University of Birmingham)

13.15 – LUNCH

14.00 – ‘The BEF’s Cavalry in 1914’ (Dr Spencer Jones, University of Birmingham)

15.15 – Tea

15.45 – ‘The BEF’s Gunners and Sappers in 1914’ (Dr Bob Bushaway, University of Birmingham))

17:15 – Discussion and questions

17.30 – Close

Saturday, 12 November 2011. 10.00am-5.30pm Main Lecture Theatre, first floor, Arts Building The University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT.

Please contact Mrs Carolyn Sweet, School of History and Cultures, if you require directions: Tel.: 0121 414 3983 e-mail: C.Y.Sweet@bham.ac.uk Directions and downloadable maps are also from the University of Birmingham Web Site: http://www.bham.ac.uk



One response to “‘A Contemptible Little Army’ The BEF in 1914

  1. Pingback: Retreat and Rearguard 1914: The BEF’s actions from Mons to the Marne by Jerry Murland « Daly History Blog·

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