The British First Army 1914-1918

First Army

The addition of a level in the hierarchy of the growing British Expeditionary Force took place when the First and Second Armies came into existence on 26 December 1914. The First Army was placed under the command of General Sir Douglas Haig, who up to this point had commanded I Corps. First Army remained on the Western Front throughout the rest of the Great War.

Headquarters locations

  • 26 December 1914: Hinges
  • 27 December 1914: Lillers
  • 1 February 1915: Aire-sur-la-Lys
  • 7 May 1915: Merville
  • 3 June 1915: Chocques
  • 26 June 1915: Aire-sur-la-Lys
  • 5 August 1915: Hinges
  • 5 February 1916: Aire-sur-la-Lys
  • 26 June 1916: Chocques
  • 16 August 1916: Lillers
  • 4 April 1917: Ranchicourt
  • 29 March 1918: second echelon of First Army HQ (offices of Director of Medical Services, Deputy Director of Veterinary Services, etc) moved to Matringhem; main body of Army HQ remained at Ranchicourt
  • 9 May 1918: second echelon of First Army HQ moved to Heuchin
  • 17 October 1918: Duisans
  • 26 October 1918: Auberchicourt
  • 13 November 1918: advanced First Army HQ opens at Valenciennes; rest of HQ joins it there on 19 November

Commanding officers

  • 26 December 1914: General Sir Douglas Haig
  • 22 December 1915: General Sir Henry Rawlinson
  • 4 February 1916: General Sir Charles Monro
  • 7 August 1916: Lieutenant-General Sir Richard Haking (temporary appointment)
  • 30 September 1916: General Sir Henry Horne

Battles

  • The First Action of Givenchy, January 1915
  • The affairs of Cuinchy, January-February 1915
  • The Battle of Neuve Chapelle, March 1915
  • The Battle of Aubers, May 1915
  • The Battle of Festubert, May 1915
  • The Battle of Loos, September 1915
  • Arras (the Battle of Vimy), April 1917
  • The Battles of the Lys, April 1918
  • The Second Battles of Arras 1918, August 1918
  • The Battle of the Canal du Nord, September-October 1918
  • The Battle of Cambrai, October 1918
  • The pursuit to the Selle, October 1918
  • The final advance in Artois, October-November 1918

Lille
Two German deserters being questioned by Intelligence Staff Officer at First Army Headquarters at Ranchicourt, 5 March 1918. IWM image Q10705, with my thanks.

Links

The British Armies in the various theatres of war