Commander-in-Chief, Home Forces was a senior officer in the British Army during the First and Second World Wars. The role of the appointment was firstly to oversee the training and equipment of formations in preparation for their deployment overseas, and secondly, to command the forces required to defend the United Kingdom against an enemy incursion or invasion.
The post was created for Field Marshal John French, 1st Earl of Ypres in December 1915, after his enforced resignation as the Commander-in-Chief of the British Expeditionary Force in the aftermath of the Battle of Loos. Bitterly disappointed, Lord French regarded the appointment as a demotion. Despite this, he energetically restructured the system of military training, drew up plans to defend the country against a German invasion and devised the first British air defence system, so that incoming Zeppelins and bombers could be tracked and countered by fighters and anti-aircraft artillery.
The post of Commander-in-Chief, Home Forces was resurrected for Sir Walter Kirke on 3 September 1939. He devised the first anti-invasion plan of the war in October, known as Operation Julius Caesar. His successor, Sir Edmund Ironside was retired when his anti-invasion planning fell out of favour with the prime minister, Winston Churchill. Ironside was replaced by Sir Alan Brooke in July 1940. The headquarters was established at Kneller Hall in late 1939 but moved out to St Paul's School in July 1940.