Logistics and the BEF: the development of waterborne transport on the Western Front, 1914-1916

Christopher Phillips

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    Abstract

    The historiography of logistics on the Western Front has been dominated by discussion of railways. Indeed, Joffre himself was credited as having dubbed the First World War a ‘railway war’. However, the canals and rivers of France and Flanders were also pressed into action during the conflict. This article discusses the manner in which the BEF actively engaged with and supported the work of Gerald Holland, a retired naval officer and Marine Superintendent, to establish an effective, ‘civilianized’ department of inland water transport on the Western Front, illustrating that, ‘pre-Geddes’, the British Army was not the insular institution its detractors – notably Lloyd George – would assert.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number108
    Pages (from-to)42-58
    Number of pages17
    JournalBritish Journal for Military History
    Volume2
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016

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