By late 1914 both sides had lost all hope of a rapid victory. The French and British Armies found themselves pitted against their German counterparts along a line which stretched nearly 800 kilometres across France from the Belgian coast to the Swiss border. A long war of position and attrition had begun.
The Western Front ran like a scar across the countryside of Northern France between the historical provinces of Flanders and Picardy. After a number of minor operations in the Artois Hills, the French Army handed over to British troops in 1915. The following years saw an increase in military activity with major offensives at Arras in April 1917 and Cambrai six months later.
Today, the numerous military cemeteries which punctuate the region are testament to the fierceness of these battles, the provenance of the men who fought them, and the miserable conditions soldiers of both sides endured in the trenches.