Aristocrats Go To War is the account of eighteen officers and men who fought principally with 4th Guards Brigade, the 1st Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment and the 7th Cavalry Brigade during the final months of 1914 and are buried in the small churchyard cemetery at Zillebeke, near Ypres. The cemetery, often referred to as the 'Aristocrat's Cemetery', is noted for the high proportion of individuals from their families of the aristocracy and landed gentry who are buried and commemorated therein. These men were part of a regular army that had evolved from nearly a century to reform and reorganization. Some had fought in South Africa in the second Boer War and most were typical of the Edwardian officer corps in their social origins and outlook. Using their personal careers, the book traces the historical and political processes that saw the British Army emerge from being the plaything of the aristocracy to the professional organization it became in the early twentieth century. It takes the reader to France with the British Expeditionary Force in early August 1914 and concludes with the first Battle of Ypres. It was at Ypres these men made the final sacrifice in a battle that, in many ways, determined the outcome of the First World War. This is their story.
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