Field Marshal Haig or Douglas Haig was born on June 19, 1861 in Edinburgh, Scotland as a descendant of the famous whisky Haig family, where his father led the company. At the age of 18, Douglas was orphaned.
The young man was an excellent rider and a very skilled polo player, who spent a lot of time in equestrianism during and after his studies at Oxford. In January 1884, Douglas started as an officer cadet at Sandhurst. A year later he joined the 7th (Queen’s Own) Hussars as a Lieutenant. During the service of the unit in India, the young officer stands out for his sense of discipline and analytical skills. During the Boer War in South Africa, he was commanding officer of the 17th Lancers. Douglas Haig was promoted in 1904 to be the youngest Major General in the British Army.
Involvment First World War
On August 4, 1914, the day the British Empire became involved in the First World War, he was one of the few to predict that the war would last a good while. Initially, he commands a British army corps. Douglas Haig was promoted in December 1915 to General Commander of the greatly expanded British troops on the Western Front, including the many British colonial troops. Along with the French army, the British fought a series of attritional battles, whereby both sides suffered huge losses. The battles of the Somme, Passchendaele (now Passendale) and Verdun are among the bloodiest of the entire war. In November 1918 this approach will force Germany to its knees.
After the war, some British politicians, including former Prime Minister Lloyd George, wanted to put the responsibility for the many British war casualties on Field Marshal Haig. As a soldier, the possibilities of Haig to defend himself against these allegations were limited. Rather than respond, he devoted his life from then on entirely to the welfare of the returned soldiers, through the creation of organizations such as the Royal British Legion Scotland and the Royal British Legion. At his funeral in 1928, the streets were packed with tens of thousands of grieving veterans. The impressive farewell to “The Chief”, as Douglas Haig was affectionately known by his men, is the most convincing counter to the critics of the Field Marshal, although it would take another ninety years before a broad movement would be launched to restore the reputation of the man.