Sir John French character jug produced by Bendigo Pottery in Epsom, Australia, circa 1920. Field Marshal John Denton Pinkstone French, 1st Earl of Ypres, (1852 - 1925) was a senior British Army officer. He achieved rapid promotion and distinguished himself on the Gordon Relief Expedition. French became a national hero during the Second Boer War. He won the Battle of Elandslaagte near Ladysmith, escaping under fire on the last train as the siege began. He then commanded the Cavalry Division, winning the Battle of Klip Drift during a march to relieve Kimberley, and later conducted counter-insurgency operations in Cape Colony.