War Diaries Talk

Byng the Bungler

  • Stork by Stork



    These two letters are dated 1942 and are located at the end of Nov 1918 in the diary. Naturally I was curious about Byng the Bungler, who, according to the 2nd letter, left the 2nd Div in the line of fire (gas, actually) despite having been ordered by Haig to evacuate them.

    I think these 1942 letters are in the diary because of this, which follows them in the diary: AWD0003sxy

    Byng has a page here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Byng,_1st_Viscount_Byng_of_Vimy

    Is the label of 'Bungler' the standard historical view of him, or is it just the opinion of the writer of the second letter? The writer didn't sign that second letter- the first letter is addressed to Brig Gen Edmonds, so I assume Edmonds wrote the second one in response, since it says "Your letter of the 24th:" at the top of it.


  • ral104 by ral104 moderator, scientist

    Others may know more than I do, but as I understand it Byng is generally considered to have been a very capable commander. However, there's some controversy around his orders to troops holding the Flesquieres Salient at the beginning of the German Spring Offensive - it's claimed he didn't withdraw them despite Haig ordering him to.