Selected by Stephen Miller, Web Editor
Three images, (1) an extract from a letter written on 16 December 1914 by Maj Gen William Robertson where he was serving as Quartermaster General to the British Army in France to Maj Gen Sir John Cowans, overall Quartermaster General to the Forces. Robertson points out supply difficulties: with another 500,000 men being sent out, he finds that most of his lorries are involved in supplying hay to some 85,000 horses already in France. In a note at the end of this extract Robertson adds by hand, ‘As far as I remember the 4 Cavalry Divisions have more supply lorries than the 10 Divisions and a 5th Cavalry Division is now landing’.Image (2) is a photograph of the British Army arriving in Rouen, France in August 1914; image (3) is another part of the British Army entering France in lorries.
The photos from a French album of war images show the arrival of the British Army in Europe at the beginning of the war, some in wagons drawn by horses, but significantly, some in lorries. Years ago I was involved in cataloguing the Robertson collection for the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives. I recall vividly being impressed by the irony of a fleet of lorries busy supplying tens of thousands of horses. Though only in the fifth month of this war (that extended over 50 months), Robertson feels it has lasted a long while and feels that the cavalry may never see action. Christmas 1914 was only nine days away. This war clearly was not ending, only growing in scope.
Ref: Robertson 2/2/45
Ref: L’Album de la Guerre 1914-1919: Histoire Photographique et Documentaire Reconstituee Chronologiquement a l’Aide de Cliches et de Dessins Publies par “L’Illustration” de 1914 a 1921
See also: Further images fromL’Album de la Guerre on our Serving Soldier website