The Old Contemptibles
Publication Date: May 25, 1989
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Osprey's study of British forces from the time of the Second Boer War (1899-1902) up to World War I (1914-1918). On 19 August 1914 Kaiser Wilhelm II ordered General von Kluck, commanding the German First Army, to 'exterminate the treacherous English and walk over General French's contemptible little Army'. The 'Old Contemptibles' adopted the aspersion like a treasured regimental title, their subsequent successes earning them a more accurate evaluation as 'the best trained, best organised and best equipped British Army that ever went forth to war'. This book examines the history, organization and uniforms of the British Expeditionary Force of the early 20th century. The text is accompanied by numerous illustrations, including maps, photographs, and colour plates.
Michael Barthorp was educated at Wellington College and was commissioned into the Rifle Brigade in 1946. Demobilized in 1948, he served as a Territorial with the Royal Hampshire Regiment before rejoining the Regular Army in the Northamptonshire Regiment to continue a family tradition, ending his career with the Royal Anglian Regiment in 1968. He has since published numerous books on the history and costume of the British Army, including nine titles for the Men-at-Arms series. He lives in Jersey, Channel Islands.