Field Marshal John Denton Pinkstone French, 1st Earl of Ypres, KP, GCB, OM, GCVO, KCMG, ADC, PC (28 September 1852 – 22 May 1925), known as Sir John French from 1901 to 1916, and as The Viscount French between 1916 and 1922, was a senior British Army officer.
French became a national hero during the Second Boer War.
During the Edwardian Period he commanded I Corps at Aldershot, then served as Inspector-General of the Army, before becoming Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS, the professional head of the British Army) in 1912. During the Curragh incident he had to resign as CIGS after promising Hubert Gough in writing that the Army would not be used to coerce Ulster Protestants into a Home Rule Ireland.
French’s most important role was as Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) for the first year and a half of the First World War. Forced to resign, French was then appointed Commander-in-Chief, Home Forces for 1916–18.
He then became Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1918, a position he held throughout much of the Irish War of Independence (1919–1922), in which his own sister was involved on the republican side. John French, 1st Earl of Ypres in Wikipedia