Primary Documents - King George V's Message to British Troops, 12 August 1914

King George V's Message to British Troops, 12 August 1914  (Click to enlarge) With Britain's entry into the First World War on 4 August 1914 the British monarch, King George V, sent a personal message to the first departing troops of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) led by Sir John French, en route for Flanders and France.

Reproduced below is the text of King George V's message, in which he expresses his confidence that his troops will do their duty - and ensure eventual victory against the Central Powers.

King George V's Message to Departing British Expeditionary Force

My message to the troops of the Expeditionary Force.  Aug. 12th 1914.

You are leaving home to fight for the safety and honour of my Empire.

Belgium, whose country we are pledged to defend, has been attacked and France is about to be invaded by the same powerful foe.

I have implicit confidence in you my soldiers.  Duty is your watchword, and I know your duty will be nobly done.

I shall follow your every movement with deepest interest and mark with eager satisfaction your daily progress, indeed your welfare will never be absent from my thoughts.

I pray God to bless you and guard you and bring you back victorious.

A "gutzer" was slang for a stroke of bad luck.

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