Haig was born at 19 Hope Street in Charlotte Square. It was a side street on the south-west. He wasn’t born into the landed gentry or an aristocrat. John Haig came from a middle class family and was the head of Haig And Haig Distillery. He earned?10,000 each year. Rachel Haig was the daughter of a wealthy gentry family that had fallen into financial difficulties. Rachel’s mother Violet Veitch was the mother to Noel Coward.
Haig began his schooling in 1869 at Mr Bateson’s in Clifton Bank. In 1869, Haig attended Edinburg Collegiate School. He then moved to a prep school in 1871. He went to Clifton College. Haig’s father and mother both died before he turned 18. Haig went to another school in 1880-1883, where he studied Political Economy and Ancient History.
He spent a lot of time with his friends – as a Bullingdon Club Member – and in equestrian sports. He was considered one of the top young horsemen in Oxford. He quickly gained entry into the university team, but was denied a degree due to his absence from residence for a period. Haig had studied at university and therefore was significantly older than others in his Sandhurst class. Haig also received the Anson Award and was placed first on the merit list.
Haig had no experience of static wars, having fought in mobile wars for colonial South Africa and Sudan. The Staff College in the late 19th century also did not prepare him well for war on the Western Front. Haig became a war-phobic man because of the combination of all these factors. Haig viewed battles as three-staged affairs that were structured. Haig remained steadfast in his belief that this was the best structure for World War I. He continued to believe that war was relatively simple, focused on people, and depended on morale. It also required the commander to be determined in order to win.
Haig is also a horseman. He was always looking forward to cavalry exploits and breakthroughs. Haig’s army commanders were forced to increase their objectives at the Battle of the Somme. Haig also wanted an intense hurricane bombardment and then a quick rush. It was a plan that included a long bombardment, but also deep objectives.
Haig used the same method at Passchendaele in 1917. He appointed a general who was offensively minded to command and told him that he wanted a successful breakthrough, not a slow advance. Haig’s offensives led to the thinning out of the German forces. It was a crucial factor in the war. He used heavy artillery to exploit the enemy. He led strong Calvary marches and killed the enemy with force. His name would be associated with many victories resulting from these attacks. Haig’s Battle in 1916 was a controversial battle because of the casualties against Germany. Haig’s style was criticized because of the 60,000 casualties he suffered.
Haig retired and founded the Royal British Legion in 1921. In 1928, he passed away. Douglas Haig’s contributions were not unnoticed, as they are still discussed today.