The Prince of Wales served on the Somme as a staff officer. Although genuinely disappointed not to be involved in the fighting, the understanding his service gave him of ordinary men and the admiration he earned from them, strongly influenced the rest of his life both as Prince of Wales and, briefly, as King Edward VIII. Prince Edward of York was born on 23 June 1894. When his grandfather, King Edward VII, died in May 1910, his father became King George V. A few weeks later Edward was named Prince of Wales. On the outbreak of war in 1914, he was desperate for an active role but his position made this difficult. He was granted a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Grenadier Guards but, to his great frustration, was forbidden to go overseas with the 1st Battalion in September 1914. In November 1914, the Prince was appointed to the staff of Field Marshal Sir John French at the British Expeditionary Force’s General Headquarters in France. His role there remained unclear and he felt under-used. He was most effective performing his regular royal duties of visits and meeting guests, but this was the opposite of what he longed to do. After serving at various divisional headquarters, he went to Egypt in the spring of 1916 for six weeks to inspect the Suez Canal defences. When he returned to France he joined the staff of the XIV Corps on the Somme. When the King visited France in August, the Prince helped to show his father some of the captured ground around Fricourt and Mametz. In 1917 XIV Corps fought at Ypres and then in November, following the Italian collapse at Caporetto, in Italy where the Prince remained until he returned to France in 1918.