Record

CodeNA9617
Dates1861-1928
Person NameHaig; Sir; Douglas (1861-1928); Field Marshal; 1st earl Haig of Bemersyde
SurnameHaig
ForenamesDouglas
PreTitleSir
TitleField Marshal
Epithet1st earl Haig of Bemersyde
ActivityDouglas Haig was born in Edinburgh on 19 June 1861, and attended Clifton, Oxford University and before entering Sandhurst to become a career soldier. He was commissioned in the 7th Hussars and served with the cavalry in Sudan in 1898 and in South Africa 1899-1902. From 1903 to 1906 he served in India as inspector-general of cavalry to Lord Kitchener, then commander-in-chief there. In the period 1906-1909 Haig was a director on the general staff at the War Office before returning to India in 1909 as chief of staff to Sir O'Moore Creagh. In 1911 Haig, now a lieutenant-general, was appointed general officer in command at Aldershot and ex officio commander of the 1st Army Corps. When the First World War broke out he took the 1st Army Corps to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force. He served with distinction at Mons and Ypres before being appointed commander-in-chief of the British forces in December 1915 in succession to Sir John French. He conducted the offensives on the Somme in 1916 and at Ypres in 1917 and, under the general command of Marshal Foch, he launched the allied offensive of August 1918 that effectively brought the war to a conclusion three months later. He concluded his army career as commander-in-chief of the Home Forces, 1919-1921. A knight commander of the Royal Victorian Order since 1909 and a knight of the Thistle since 1917, Haig was created an earl in 1921, and was presented with Bemersyde, the historic home of the Haig family of Bemersyde, purchased by public subscription. In the same year Haig founded the British Legion by bringing together various ex-servicemen's organizations: he felt deeply the cost of the war in human lives and devoted the rest of his own to supporting the survivors. He served as president of the British Legion and held comparable office as chairman of the United Services Fund. He became chancellor of St. Andrews University, a post he held until his sudden death on 30 January 1928. He is buried at Dryburgh Abbey.
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