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The Great War: British expeditionary force


29 People in group

In 1914, Britain despatched its first round of forces to fight in Belgium and France; they were known as the British Expeditionary Force or BEF. Although the term is applicable to all the forces that fought throughout the war, it is usually reserved for those men who volunteered for the regular army before the war, taking part in the first battles. The BEF was created by Richard Burdon Haldane, under the guidance of Douglas Haig in 1912, and its mobilisation in 1914 showed how well trained, equipped and organised these British troops were. They would suffer heavy losses in The First Battle of Ypres, but many would go on to hold high ranking positions for the rest of the war, strategically leading the troops into battle. They are remembered for their spirit and camaraderie, through poems, and legends such as The angel of Mons.

Ronald Colman

Ronald Colman

1891-1958
Actor and soldier
Sitter in 7 portraits
Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig

Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig

1861-1928
Field Marshal
Sitter in 63 portraits
Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein

Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein

1887-1976
Field Marshal
Sitter in 49 portraits
Basil Rathbone

Basil Rathbone

1892-1967
Actor; soldier
Sitter in 7 portraits
Sir Reginald Blair, 1st Bt

Sir Reginald Blair, 1st Bt

1881-1962
Politician and Major
Sitter associated with 6 portraits
Sir (George) Tom Molesworth Bridges

Sir (George) Tom Molesworth Bridges

1871-1939
Lieutenant-General
Sitter in 4 portraits
Sir James Edward Edmonds

Sir James Edward Edmonds

1861-1956
Military historian
Sitter in 3 portraits
John Standish Surtees Prendergast Vereker, 6th Viscount Gort

John Standish Surtees Prendergast Vereker, 6th Viscount Gort

1886-1946
Army officer; recipient of the Victoria Cross
Sitter in 5 portraits
Sir Hubert Gough

Sir Hubert Gough

1870-1963
General
Sitter in 2 portraits
Hon. Julian Henry Francis Grenfell

Hon. Julian Henry Francis Grenfell

1888-1915
Soldier; poet; eldest son of 1st Baron Desborough
Sitter in 1 portrait
Sir James Montcrieff Grierson

Sir James Montcrieff Grierson

1859-1914
Soldier
Sitter in 1 portrait
(William) Edmund Ironside, 1st Baron Ironside

(William) Edmund Ironside, 1st Baron Ironside

1880-1959
Field Marshal and farmer
Sitter in 12 portraits
Sir George Mark Watson MacDonogh

Sir George Mark Watson MacDonogh

1865-1942
Lieutenant-General; Director of Military Intelligence
Sitter in 5 portraits
Sir (Cecil Frederick) Nevil Macready, 1st Bt

Sir (Cecil Frederick) Nevil Macready, 1st Bt

1862-1946
Army officer
Sitter in 3 portraits
Sir (Frederick) Ivor Maxse

Sir (Frederick) Ivor Maxse

1862-1958
General
Sitter in 7 portraits
Sir Charles Carmichael Monro, 1st Bt

Sir Charles Carmichael Monro, 1st Bt

1860-1929
Colonial governor and Commander-in-Chief
Sitter in 9 portraits