The British Expeditionary Force reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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British Expeditionary Force

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The British Expeditionary Force was the British army sent to France and Belgium in World War I and British Forces in Europe from 1939 - 1940 during World War II.

Table of contents
1 World War I
2 World War II

World War I

The British Expeditionary Force was established by Secretary of State for War Richard Haldane following the Boer War in case Britain ever needed to quickly deploy a force to take part in an overseas war. On the outbreak of World War I, it was sent to Belgium under the command of General Sir John French. The BEF was composed of four regular infantry divisions, rising later to seven infantry and three cavalry divisions. It suffered defeat in its first battle at Mons, but helped to halt the German advance at the First Battle of the Marne.

In December 1914, the British Expeditionary Force was divided into the First and Second Armies, with a third and fourth created later in the war. Although the term 'British Expeditionary Force' strictly refers only to the forces sent initially to France in 1914, the name is often used of the British Army in France and Flanders throughout the First World War.

World War II

Following German invasion of Poland the British Expeditionary Force was sent to the Franco-Belgian border in 1939. By May 1940, when German attacks began, it consisted of 10 infantry divisions in 3 corps, a tank brigade and a RAF detachment of about 500 aircraft. Commanded by Field Marshal Lord John Gort it sustained heavy losses during the German advance, and the remainder were evacuated from Dunkirk in June, leaving much of their equipment behind.

Order of Battle (WWII)

I Corps - (Lieutenant General M.G.H. Barker)

II Corp - (Lieutenant-General A. F. Brooke)

III Corps - (Lieutenant-General Sir R. F. Adam)

G.H.Q. Reserve