XVI. THE SOLDIER.
51. In this my last despatch I should like to pay a tribute to the British soldier. He has shown himself in this war, as in all others, the finest all-round fighting man in the world. He has won so many victories that he never doubts of victory; he has suffered so many disasters and defeats on his way to victory that defeat seldom depresses him. He has adapted himself to desert and to jungle, to open plains and to mountains, to new foes, new conditions, new weapons with the same courage and humorous endurance of difficulties and dangers which he has always shown. His staying power is a sure guarantee of final success.
Whatever the qualities of the soldier, the value of an army depends in the end on the leadership of the regimental officer, and in the British Army this still remains worthy of the men they lead. Whatever method may be adopted in the future to officer the British Army, it must ensure the same standard of leadership and the same close relations with the soldier.
My experience is that our staff system and system of command is too cumbrous and over elaborated, and needs revision. We have lost the merit of simplicity in our system of command, in our tactics and in our equipment, by always trying to provide for every possible contingency.
52. Next to the British, I have had most if do with the Indian soldier, and owe much to him. In this war he has shown in addition to his proved fighting qualities a remarkable ability to adapt himself to the complexities of modern war and to learn new weapons and new methods.
53. I have had the honour to have had placed under my command during this war troops of many other nationalities: Australian, New Zealand, South African, American, French, Polish, Czech, Greek, Dutch, Sudanese, East African, West African, Burmese, Chinese. To them all I tender my gratitude and respect.