The Commander in Chief of British forces overseas had a duty to report on the state of affairs on what was happening in the field; these reports were called Despatches and were sent to the Secretary of State for War. The despatches were printed in the London Gazette and were seen as official reports, produced soon after the events actually happened. In most cases these despatches were printed within two weeks of them being sent, which had a realistic impact on the readers of the time. However, these despatches should not always be considered as entirely accurate as it was possible that some errors or omissions could have been unforseen; in any case, regardless of who wrote the despatch, it is also possible that the author may have over or understated the entire truthful representation of the facts at the time.
Some despatches are lengthy and require a little time to get through. To see the original pages from the London Gazette archives, click on the links shown in each of the despatches.
Please be aware of possible errors as a result of copying from a pdf document. Where this is the case words can sometimes be mispelt or substituted with symbols.
The despatch dates below are dated at the time they were written/sent, not the time they were printed in the London Gazette.
- Despatch 7 September 1914 — Sir John French's 1st Despatch
- Despatch 17 September 1914 — Sir John French's 2nd Despatch, Part One
- Despatch 8 October 1914 — Sir John French's 2nd Despatch, Part Two