Baynes, John.


Brassey's, 1st Eng., ed., 1995. Xi + 244 pp., 16 photo & other plates + 10 maps. D.j., 24 x 16cm. FINE. Ivor Maxse is a famous First World War name as an outstanding trainer of troops and an impressive commander with great vision, but his extraordinarily varied life in the years before he arrived in France in command of the 1st Guards Brigade in August 1914 has been little explored. In this, the first ever biography of Ivor Maxse, the author paints a fascinating picture of a remarkable military man. Early in his military career he served in India with the Royal Fusiliers and exchanged into the Coldstream Guards. Next he served under Kitchener in the Sudan where he was sent to supervise the departure of Commandant Marchand from Fashoda. He served in the Boer War, forming the Transvaal Constabulary. Throughout his service, Ivor studied the men around him and learned to understand the mind of the ordinary soldier. His skills in training and leadership showed him to be years ahead of his time in 1914. With his gift for communication he successfully trained the 18th Division in the new Kitchener army. The author recounts how the 18th was one of the few divisions to succeed on the Somme and how as a Corps Commander in 1917 Ivor seized opportunities to make good use of the new tanks. As Inspector General of Training for the whole BEF in 1918 he showed himself to have the vision that many of his contemporaries lacked and pointed the way to the more skilful and effective tactics for the use of infantry in World War II.

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