Hayden lets rip at 'dolts' of war
Sunday 22 August 1993
In an interview published yesterday, he described the commander of British forces on the Western Front, General Sir Douglas Haig, as 'one of the great knuckleheads' of the war.
His remarks were reminiscent of those made recently by Australia's pro-republican Prime Minister, Paul Keating, who has attacked Britain's wartime attitudes to Australia.
In February, Mr Keating told parliament Britain had deserted Australia when it was threatened by Japan in the Second World War. Mr Hayden, a former Labor leader who became the Queen's representative in Australia five years ago, rarely, if ever, makes controversial statements.
But as he prepared to leave for France next week with a group of war veterans and war widows for the Australian commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the end of the war, he said: 'I guess the worst thing about World War One was that there were a lot of dolts in charge of British operations at the top.
'There can be no excuse for Haig not being aware of what was going to happen in being bogged down in trench warfare. Haig should have known from the American Revolution, when trench warfare was adopted, and from the two Boer wars, of the slaughter that would occur.'
His comments were denounced as 'dreadful rubbish' by the British historian John Terraine, author of a number of books on the First World War and an admirer of General Haig.
He said it was nonsensical to criticise the British high command when trench warfare had been used by every army during the war. 'The type of warfare was the only form that could be used given the technology of the time.'
Julian Critchley, the Conservative MP for Aldershot, said he was not surprised by the remarks: 'Hayden is stirring up anti-British feeling to make a republic in Australia that much more likely.'
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
The battle for control of Stieg Larsson's £30m legacy
French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
The unluckiest people of the year 2013
PAs cleared of fraud - and Nigella Lawson left reeling at 'ridiculous sideshow' of drug allegations and public dissection of her marriage to Charles Saatchi
Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police
Paul Walker's daughter Meadow attends Justin Bieber Believe premiere
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
- 1 French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 #Teamnigella: It’s the only side to be on
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 5 Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police
- < Previous
- Next >
£50000 - £75000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Project Manage...
Negotiable: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: Year 5 Teacher - Gilli...
£60000 - £90000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Business Analy...
£52000 per annum + Fantastic Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Audit Supervisor...