Formation and dissolution of the BEF

Discussions on all aspects of the The United Kingdom & its Empire and Commonwealth during the Inter-War era and Second World War. Hosted by Andy H
User avatar
Attrition
Member
Posts: 3687
Joined: 29 Oct 2008 22:53
Location: England

Formation and dissolution of the BEF

Post by Attrition » 28 Jun 2018 00:35

I gather the BEF began as a two-division commitment to the French in 1938 and its constituent parts reverted to Home Forces when they returned from France but was the organisation established and disbanded?

User avatar
Sheldrake
Member
Posts: 2259
Joined: 28 Apr 2013 17:14
Location: London

Re: Formation and dissolution of the BEF

Post by Sheldrake » 28 Jun 2018 10:43

Jocelyn give the date of formation of GHQ BEF as 2 September 1939.
Ellis in the official history writes of 31st May 1940 (p238) that " Then his headquarters closed down and Lord Gort and the staff who had remained with him left for England."
https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/UK/ ... rs-15.html

From the reference to Gort appointed to command a new BEF (p276) it seems clear that GHQ BEF did not reform in the UK.
https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/UK/ ... rs-19.html

User avatar
Attrition
Member
Posts: 3687
Joined: 29 Oct 2008 22:53
Location: England

Re: Formation and dissolution of the BEF

Post by Attrition » 28 Jun 2018 16:21

Thanks

MarkN
Member
Posts: 2549
Joined: 12 Jan 2015 13:34
Location: On the continent

Re: Formation and dissolution of the BEF

Post by MarkN » 29 Jun 2018 18:50

I understood the 'continental committment' thru the 1930s consisted initially of the 4 regular infantry divisions and the cavalry/mobile division followed by the TA as and when authorised.
The organiszation of the Army for its role in war, February 1938 wrote:Under the former role of the Army four divisions and a Mobile division were being organized to be able to go to the Continent in 15 days. The War Office had requested, but not received, authority to proceed with the logical implications of this role, which involved the subsequent despatch of 12 more divisions, in echelons of four divisions at a time.

User avatar
Attrition
Member
Posts: 3687
Joined: 29 Oct 2008 22:53
Location: England

Re: Formation and dissolution of the BEF

Post by Attrition » 30 Jun 2018 08:40

It seems a bit slippery and that the BEF wasn't a formal institution like Home Forces or the Indian Army but "the military forces in France" which comprised the Field Force and Air Component augmented from time to time. In 1938 during the Munich Crisis the government could offer only two of the FF divisions. I think that Sheldrake's empirical definition may be as good as it gets.

MarkN
Member
Posts: 2549
Joined: 12 Jan 2015 13:34
Location: On the continent

Re: Formation and dissolution of the BEF

Post by MarkN » 30 Jun 2018 11:22

What seems slippery?

The BEF was a temporary command. I thought that was obvious.

The reorganisation of 1938 didn't change the 5 division 'continental committment', it altered the timeframe in which they would be able to deploy.

User avatar
Attrition
Member
Posts: 3687
Joined: 29 Oct 2008 22:53
Location: England

Re: Formation and dissolution of the BEF

Post by Attrition » 30 Jun 2018 17:24

" it altered the timeframe in which they would be able to deploy."

Slippery enough for Sir Humphrey methinks. ;O) Temporary or not it began and ended; I thought that was obvious.

MarkN
Member
Posts: 2549
Joined: 12 Jan 2015 13:34
Location: On the continent

Re: Formation and dissolution of the BEF

Post by MarkN » 30 Jun 2018 19:47

What are you on about???? Nothing slippery about an adhoc HQ being a temporary affair. Why should the BEF HQ be a "formal institution like Home Forces or the Indian Army". Does the word 'slippery' apply to anything that you don't grasp the understanding of?

User avatar
Attrition
Member
Posts: 3687
Joined: 29 Oct 2008 22:53
Location: England

Re: Formation and dissolution of the BEF

Post by Attrition » 01 Jul 2018 00:53

Disappointing

User avatar
Andy H
Forum Staff
Posts: 14986
Joined: 12 Mar 2002 20:51
Location: UK and USA

Re: Formation and dissolution of the BEF

Post by Andy H » 29 Jul 2018 16:44

Hi

Just for some broader information concerning the initial deployment of the BEF look here:-
viewtopic.php?f=114&t=159421&hilit=Plan+W

Regards

Andy H

User avatar
Attrition
Member
Posts: 3687
Joined: 29 Oct 2008 22:53
Location: England

Re: Formation and dissolution of the BEF

Post by Attrition » 29 Jul 2018 21:46

Thank you.

Return to “The United Kingdom & its Empire and Commonwealth 1919-45”