The Old Contemptibles white plaque in Birmingham

The Old Contemptibles

"The Old Contemptibles" is named after the British Expeditionary Force (BEF)
that was sent to France and Belgium in World War I.
The Secretary of State for War Richard Haldane
established the BEF in case the United Kingdom had to deploy quickly
a force to take part in an overseas war.

The force got it's nickname "Old Contemptibles" from a supposed
"Order of the Day" issued on 19 August 1914 when Kaiser Wilhelm said:
"It is my Royal and Imperial Command that you concentrate your energies
for the immediate present upon one single purpose, and that is that you
address all your skill and all the valour of my soldiers to exterminate first
the treacherous English {and} walk over 'General French's contemptible little
army."

Although the Kaiser had described the BEF as "contemptible little" it got
reported as "Contemptible" the name stuck and the BEF proudly referred to
themselves as the Old Contemptibles.
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