Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Lt Gen Sir Richard Haking, XI Corps Commander, 1915-1918: a study in corps command

Senior, Michael Edward (2010) Lt Gen Sir Richard Haking, XI Corps Commander, 1915-1918: a study in corps command. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94644) (KAR id:94644)

PDF (Optical Character Recognition (OCR) of this thesis enables read aloud functionality of the text.)
Language: English

Download this file
[thumbnail of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) of this thesis enables read aloud functionality of the text.]
Official URL:


The subject of this study is Lt Gen Sir Richard Haking who commanded the British XI Corps from 1915 to 1918. During that time Haking served mainly in France, but also in Italy (December 1917-March 1918). There has been no previous study of Haking. This research takes the form of a review and analysis of Haking's career as a Corps Commander, placing the activities of XI Corps in the context of events on the Western and Italian Fronts. It has three aims. First, it is intended to make a balanced assessment of Haking as a Corps Commander in the light of an established popular reputation, which places him firmly in the ‘donkey’ category of First World War generals. The second aim is to examine how Haking earned out his role as a Corps Commander, and the third aim is to relate the experiences of Haking and XI Corps to a number of important topics connected with the conduct of the war: trench warfare on the Western Front, with particular reference to the much-criticised attack at Fromelles in July 1916; the British involvement in Italy; the relationship with the Portuguese Expeditionary Force in France; and the British victories in 1918. Reference is made to several key operating issues such as command and control on the Western Front; the ’learning curve' in the BEF; the doctrine of the offensive: and the British policy on defence in depth. Each of these issues is discussed taking account of Haking's experiences as XI Corps Commander. The study concludes, contrary to the general view, that, overall, Haking made a positive contribution to the conduct of the war, and that his dismal reputation is largely unjustified.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Beckett, Ian F. W.
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94644
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Subjects: D History General and Old World
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2022 16:42 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2022 16:42 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.