The Daily Chronicle was founded in 1872. Purchased by Edward Lloyd for £30,000 in 1876, it achieved a high reputation under the editorship of H. W. Massingham (1895-99) and Robert Donald who took charge in 1904.
Circulation was increased when Robert Donald transformed it into a halfpenny daily. Donald recruited a group talented journalists and artists including Henry Hamilton Fyfe, Philip Gibbs, Phil May, F. H. Townsend and Frank Brangwyn.
By 1914 Donald claimed that the net sale of the Daily Chronicle exceeded the combined sales of the The Times, Daily Telegraph, Morning Post, Evening Standard and the Daily Graphic. The following year the company that owned the Daily Chronicle, United Newspapers Limited, was able to announce that it had made a healthy profit of £43,650.
The Daily Chronicle supported the left-wing of the Liberal Party. At the end of July, 1914, it became clear to the British government that the country was on the verge of war with Germany. The left-wing members of the government were opposed to the country becoming involved in a European war. Although Charles Trevelyan, John Burns, and John Morley resigned from the government, the leader of this group, David Lloyd George changed his mind and stayed. Lloyd George also persuaded Robert Donald and the Daily Chronicle to give its full support to the war effort.
On 9th April, 1918, the prime minister, David Lloyd George, told the House of Commons that despite heavy casualties in 1917, the British Army in France was considerably stronger than it had been on January 1917. He also gave details of the numbers of British troops in Mesopotamia, Egypt and Palestine.
Sir Frederick Maurice, whose job it was to keep accurate statistics of British military strength, knew that David Lloyd George had been guilty of misleading Parliament about the number of men in the British Army. Maurice wrote to Sir Henry Wilson, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, pointing out these inaccuracies. He did not receive a reply and after consulting with friends and relatives, he took the decision to write a letter to the newspapers giving the true figures.
On 7th May, 1918, the principal newspapers published Maurice's letter accusing David Lloyd George of giving the House of Commons inaccurate information. Maurice, by writing the letter, had committed a grave breach of discipline. He was retired from the British Army and was refused a court martial or inquiry where he would have been able to show that David Lloyd George had mislead the House of Commons on both the 9th April and 7th May, 1918.
Donald took the decision to appoint Sir Frederick Maurice as the military correspondent of the Daily Chronicle. Lloyd George was furious with Donald's decision to employ Maurice and on 5th October it was announced that a group of his friends led by Sir Henry Dalziel, had purchased the Daily Chronicle. Donald resigned in protest and complained that Lloyd George was trying to "corner public opinion".