Street Talk – Haig Street, Mowbray

June 24, 2020 | MowbrayStreet & Suburb HistoryStreet Talk

Haig Street was named after General Sir Douglas Haig (1861-1928) who was quite a controversial figure.

He is often referred to as the Butcher of the Somme for his tactics there. Yet despite all the atrocious casualties his policies inflicted, the evidence is that he was much loved by his troops. He was famous for saying ‘the machine gun is a much overrated weapon’.

Haig came from a highly distinguished Scots family and served in the South African War in India as Chief of Staff, and then in the Great War of 1914-1918, commanding successfully the 1st Army Corps, the 1st Army and the British Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders. Haig led his army at Mons and the first battle of Ypres. Pershing claimed it was Haig who won the war. Haig later claimed that he kept on attacking the Germans because he had to keep the pressure on them. This was because the French Army was falling apart. The pinnacle of his career was a General Officer Commander-in-Chief Great Britain in 1919.

For his wartime leadership, Haig was highly honoured at home and abroad, given £100,000 and presented by the people of the British Empire with the fishings of Bemersyde on Roxburghshire.

He devoted the rest of his life after leaving the Army in 1919 to ex-servicemen. Haig’s decisions and strategies during the Great War have been greatly criticised, the main charge being that he was too old and out of touch with contemporary methods of warfare.



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