Reforming and Expanding the Home Army

  • K. W. Mitchinson
Part of the Studies in Military and Strategic History book series (SMSH)


The appointment of Field Marshal Sir John French to the new post of Commander-in-Chief Home Forces in January 1916 marked an advance in the way the war within Britain itself was to be conducted.1 Until December 1915, home defence had been the responsibility of the Secretary of State who, in turn, had entrusted it to General Sir Ian Hamilton and Lieutenant-General Sir Lancelot Kiggell. French was to become head of a systematic, unified command, charged with drawing up plans for the land (and later air) defence of the UK, and also for the development of an expanded and rationalized procedure for training recruits. On his appointment Sir John inherited ‘absolute chaos’ and believed that ‘if we are attacked tonight, no one would know what to do’.2 Although he considered invasion to be a ‘remote possibility’, French’s clear priority was to inject some order into that chaos primarily by improving coastal defences and by effecting a reorganization of the land forces available for home protection.


Central Association Special Reserve Protection Company Western Front Local Reserve 
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© K.W. Mitchinson 2005

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  • K. W. Mitchinson

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