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Identity statement

Reference code(s)
GB0099 KCLMA MF 856-865
FM EARL HAIG: Autograph diaries and letters home to his wife, 1914-1919
1914-1919, 1987
Level of description
collection level
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
10 reels


Name of creator(s)

FM Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig, 1914-1919

Administrative / Biographical history

Born 1861; educated Clifton, Bristol, Gloucestershire, 1875-1880, Brasenose College, Oxford, 1880-1884, Royal Military College, Sandhurst, 1884-1885; commissioned into 7th Queen's Own Hussars, 1885; Lt, 1885; Adjutant, 1888; Capt, 1891; served in Sudan, including Atbara and Khartoum, 1898; Chief of Staff to Brevet Lt Col Robert George Broadwood, Egyptian Cavalry; Brevet Maj 1898; served in Second Boer War, South Africa, 1899-1902; Deputy Assistant Adjutant General, Cavalry, Natal, South Africa, 1899; Chief Staff Officer to Maj Gen John Denton Pinkstone French during the Colesberg operations, South Africa, 1899; Assistant Adjutant General, Cavalry Division, 1900-1901; Lt Col, Commanding Officer, 17th (Duke of Cambridge's Own) Lancers, 1901-1903; Brevet Col, 1902; Aide de Camp to HM King Edward VII, 1902-1904; Inspector Gen of Cavalry, India, 1903-1906; Maj Gen, 1904; Director of Military Training, Headquarters, British Army, 1906-1907; Director of Staff Duties, Headquarters, British Army, 1907-1909; Director of Staff Duties, War Office, 1907-1909; Chief of Staff, India, 1909-1912; Chief of General Staff, India, 1909-1912; Lt Gen, 1910; created KCIE, 1911; General Officer Commanding, Aldershot, 1912-1914; Aide de Camp to HM King George V, 1914; Gen, 1914; General Officer Commanding 1 Army, British Expeditionary Forces (BEF) in France and Flanders, 1914-1915; Commander- in-Chief of British Armies in France, 1915-1919; appointed GCB, 1915; appointed GCVO, 1916; Lord Rector, St Andrews University, Scotland, 1916-1919; FM, 1917; created KT, 1917; Commander-in-Chief Forces in Great Britain, 1919-1920; Col of Royal Horse Guards, King's Own Scottish Borderers, and 14th County of London Bn (London Scottish), The London Regt, Territorial Army, 1919-1928; Chairman of the Council of the United Services Fund, 1921-1928; President British Legion, 1921-1928; Chancellor of St Andrews University, Scotland, 1922; died 1928.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Harvester Press Microform Publications Ltd

Content & structure

Scope and content

Microfilmed copies of the manuscript diaries of FM Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig, 1914-1919, and letters to his wife Dorothy Vivian Haig, Aug 1914-Mar 1919. Included in the papers are passages relating to the formation and composition of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), under the command of FM Sir John Denton Pinkstone French, July 1914; Haig's reaction, as General Officer Commanding 1 Army, British Expeditionary Forces in France and Flanders (BEF), to the British retreat following the First Battle of Ypres, Dec 1914; plans for the British offensive at Loos, Jul-Sep 1915; correspondence with FM Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener of Khartoum and Broome, relating to the French's command of the Artois-Loos Offensive, Sep 1915; correspondence with Gen Sir William (Robert) Robertson, Chief of General Staff, relating to the proposed increase of British fighting forces in France, Oct 1915; the dismissal of French and the succession of Haig as Commander-in-Chief, British Armies in France, Dec 1915; Haig's recommendations for Lt Gen Sir Henry Seymour Rawlinson as his successor as General Officer Commanding 1 Army, Dec 1915; correspondence with Rt Hon Richard Burdon Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane of Cloan, relating to Haig's appointment to Commander-in-Chief, British Armies in France, Dec 1915; orders from Kitchener to Haig concerning proposed Allied offensives in France and liaison with French Gen Joseph Jacques Cesaire Joffre, Jan 1916; letter from Robertson, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, to Haig relating to possible British offensives in the Balkans, Iraq and Germany, Jan 1916; discussions with Gen Sir Herbert Charles Onslow Plumer, General Officer Commanding 2 Army, British Armies in France, relating to possible British offensives at Ypres, Jan 1916; the German offensive at Verdun and the resultant requests by the French General Staff for a British relief offensive from Ypres to Armentières, Feb 1916; alleged incompetence within 2 Canadian Div command, Apr 1916; discussions with Robertson, Maj Gen Sir Launcelot Edward Kiggell, Chief of General Staff to British Armies in France, and Brig Gen Richard Harte Keatinge Butler, Deputy Chief of General Staff to the British Armies in France, relating to the proposed offensive at the Somme (Jul-Nov 1916), May 1916; Haig's instructions to Rawlinson, General Officer Commanding 4 Army, British Armies in France, regarding the proposed limited infantry attack on the Somme, Jun 1916; Haig's reaction to British Cabinet criticism of British casualty figures during the Somme offensive, Jul 1916; analysis of German casualty figures during the Somme offensive, Nov 1916; Haig's reaction to replacement of Rt Hon Herbert Henry Asquith, Prime Minister of Great Britain and First Lord of the Treasury, with Rt Hon David Lloyd George, 1916; Haig's reaction to replacement of Joffre as Commander-in-Chief of the French Armies with French Gen Robert Georges Nivelle, 1916; Haig's promotion to FM, 1917; supplies and manpower required for proposed British and French combined Nivelle offensive, 1917; Haig's reaction to German withdrawal to defensive positions along the Hindenburg Line, 1917; Haig's reaction to Calais Conference proceedings, in which combined British and French command council is proposed, 1917; Haig and Robertson' s veto of Gen Sir Henry Hughes Wilson as proposed British Chief of Staff liaison to Nivelle's Headquarters; the re-organisation of the Allied command structure as a result of the Calais Agreement, 1917; the failed French offensive at Aisne, Apr 1917; plans for the Passchendaele Campaign (Jul-Nov 1917) and the choice of General Hubert (de la Poer) Gough's 5 Army as the main British assaulting force, 1917; Haig's fears of a French civil and military collapse, 1917; conference with Gen John Joseph Pershing, Commander-in-Chief American Expeditionary Forces in Europe, Jul 1917; severe criticism levelled at Haig concerning his command of the Passchendaele Campaign, Jul-Nov 1917; Haig's reaction to the establishment of the Inter-Allied War Supreme War Council at Versailles, France, and the posting of Wilson as its British representative, 1918; Robertson's replacement as Chief of the Imperial General Staff by Wilson, 1918; the shortage of British military reserves in France, 1918; the failure of the German 'spring offensives' at Arras, France, Lys, Belgium, and Aisne, France, Mar-May 1918; straining relations between Haig and FM Ferdinand Foch, Marshal of France and Generalissimo of the Allied Forces, France, 1918; the Battle of Amiens, Aug 1918; the terms of the armistice, Nov 1918; perceptions of the Paris Peace Conference and the resultant Treaty of Versailles, 1919.

System of arrangement

The collection is arranged chronologically

Conditions of access & use

Conditions governing access

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies may be printed off the microfilm for research purposes and are charged at the cost to the Centre. Enquiries concerning the copyright of the original material should be addressed to Department of Manuscripts, National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, EH1 1EW.

Language/scripts of material


Finding aids

Summary guide entry online at, and catalogue produced by the National Library of Scotland available in hard copy in the Centre's reading room.

Allied materials

Existence and location of originals

National Library of Scotland, George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, EH1 1EW.



Compiled Aug 1999

Description control

Rules or conventions

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

This catalogue is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. This catalogue may be updated from time to time in order to reflect additional material and/or new understandings of the material.

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  • Armed forces
  • Artillery
  • Diaries
  • Documents
  • Higher science education
  • Information sources
  • International conflicts
  • International instruments
  • International law
  • International organizations
  • International politics
  • International relations
  • Literary forms and genres
  • Literature
  • Military doctrine
  • Military engineering
  • Military equipment
  • Military intelligence
  • Military operations
  • Military organizations
  • Nonfiction
  • Officers
  • Organizations
  • Peace
  • Primary documents
  • Prose
  • State security
  • War
  • War diaries
  • Warfare
  • Wars (events)
  • Weapons
  • World War One (1914-1918)
  • World wars (events)

Personal names

  • Asquith, Herbert Henry, 1852-1928, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith, statesman
  • Butler, Sir, Richard Harte Keatinge, 1870-1935, Knight, Lieutenant General
  • Foch, Ferdinand, 1851-1929, French Field Marshal
  • French, John Denstone Pinkstone, 1852-1925, 1st Earl of Ypres, Field Marshal
  • George, David Lloyd, 1863-1945, 1st Earl Lloyd George of Dwyfor, statesman
  • Gough, Sir, Hubert de la Poer, 1870-1963, Knight, General
  • Haig, Douglas, 1861-1928, 1st Earl Haig, Field Marshal
  • Haldane, Richard Burdon, 1856-1928, 1st Viscount Haldane of Cloan, politician, lawyer and philosopher
  • Joffre, Joseph Jacques Cesaire, 1852-1931, French Marshal
  • Kiggell, Sir, Launcelot Edward, 1862-1954, Knight, Lieutenant General
  • Kitchener, Horatio Herbert, 1850-1916, 1st Earl Kitchener of Khartoum and Broome, Field Marshal
  • Nivelle, Robert Georges, 1856-1924, French General
  • Pershing, John Joseph, 1860-1948, US General
  • Plumer, Herbert Charles Onslow, 1857-1932, 1st Viscount Plumer of Messines and Bilton, Field Marshal
  • Rawlinson, Henry Seymour, 1864-1925, 1st Baron Rawlinson of Trent, General
  • Robertson, Sir, William Robert, 1860-1933, 1st Baronet, Field Marshal
  • Wilson, Sir, Henry Hughes, 1864-1922, Knight, Field Marshal and politician

Corporate names

  • British Army
  • Canadian Army
  • French Army
  • Inter-Allied Military Council
  • Paris Peace Conference, 1919
  • US Army


  • Amiens, France
  • Armentieres, France
  • Arras, France
  • Balkans, Eastern Europe
  • Iraq, Middle East
  • Lys, river
  • Passchendaele, Belgium
  • Somme, river, France
  • Verdun, France
  • Ypres, Belgium

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