ABLAIN-SAINT-NAZAIRE

NÉcropole nationale de notre-dame-de-lorette

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Nécropole nationale française de Notre-Dame-de-Lorette
© Samuel Dhote

Nécropole nationale française de Notre-Dame-de-Lorette
© Samuel Dhote

ABLAIN-SAINT-NAZAIRE - NÉcropole nationale de notre-dame-de-lorette

In May 1915, French troops attempted to wrest control of the Artois Hills from the German Army. They failed at Vimy Ridge but succeeded in retaking Lorette Spur, at a cost of 102,000 men. Today, the National First World War Cemetery is the final resting place for some 40,000 French troops, including 22,000 unknown soldiers. Lorette Spur is the largest of the French war cemeteries and a poignant reminder of the huge losses sustained by every sector of society during the Great War.

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VIMY

Lieu historique national du canada de la crÊte-de-vimy

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Lieu Historique National du Canada de la Crête de Vimy
© Samuel Dhote

Lieu Historique National du Canada de la Crête de Vimy
© Philippe Frutier

VIMY - Lieu historique national du canada de la crÊte-de-vimy

Canada's monument to her 11,285 soldiers reported lost on French soil during the Great War stands at the heart of a 107-hectare park overlooking the Pas-de-Calais coal basin. Built at the place where, on 10 April 1917, Canadian troops fighting as part of the British Army captured Vimy Ridge, the memorial's white pylons and sculpted figures mark a defining event in the history of Canada.

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BULLECOURT

Parc mÉmorial australien de bullecourt

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Statue du Digger - Parc mémorial australien de Bullecourt
© Pascal Morès

Statue du Digger - Parc mémorial australien de Bullecourt
© Samuel Dhote

BULLECOURT - Parc mÉmorial australien de bullecourt

On 11 April 1917 the British 5th Army stormed the village of Bullecourt, an important link in the German defence known as the Hindenburg Line. A second offensive was launched on May 3rd but neither of these two operations achieved their objective and the five Australian divisions which took part in the fighting suffered heavy losses, close to 10,000 dead. The Australian Memorial Park in Bullecourt honours those courageous Diggers who lost their lives in these two events of the Battle of Arras.

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ETAPLES

Etaples military cemetery

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Etaples Military Cemetery
© Anne-Sophie Flament

Etaples Military Cemetery
© Anne-Sophie Flament

ETAPLES - Etaples military cemetery

The final resting place of almost 11,500 soldiers, Étaples Military Cemetery is all that remains of a vast hospital complex which was set up to treat the wounded and evacuated troops of the British Army during the Great War. The town of Étaples was also home to the largest training camp outside Great Britain for recruits coming from all parts of the Commonwealth. Millions of men passed through the forty barracks of Étaples on their way to the Western Front.

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MONTREUIL-SUR-MER

Statue Équestre du field marshal douglas haig

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Statue du Maréchal Haig - Montreuil sur Mer
© Anne-Sophie Flament

Statue du Maréchal Haig - Montreuil sur Mer
© Anne-Sophie Flament

MONTREUIL-SUR-MER - Statue Équestre du field marshal douglas haig

The equestrian statue of Field Marshal Haig is one of the few reminders of the British presence in Montreuil during the Great War. It was here that Douglas Haig, Commander-in-chief of the British Army, installed his General Headquarters between 1916 and 1919. Montreuil suddenly became the British Army's centre of operations for the supply of troops, provisions and equipment from the French ports of Boulogne, Calais and Dunkirk to the nearby front in Flanders, Artois and Somme.

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SAINT-ETIENNE-AU-MONT

St. etienne-au-mont communal cemetery

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St. Etienne-au-Mont Communal Cemetery
© Anne-Sophie Flament

Détail d'une stèle - St. Etienne-au-Mont Communal Cemetery
© Anne-Sophie Flament

SAINT-ETIENNE-AU-MONT - St. etienne-au-mont communal cemetery

In the cemetery of St. Étienne-au-Mont stands a pagoda-shaped gate which marks the entrance to the final resting place of 160 Chinese and 10 South-African civilians. Organized into Labour Corps, these non-military workers carried out manual tasks for the British Army in the ports and depots which supplied the soldiers at the Front. In 1919 about eighty thousand Chinese were still at work in France clearing up the battlefields and burying the soldiers who had died in the Great War.

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BOULOGNE-SUR-MER

Boulogne eastern cemetery

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Boulogne Eastern Cemetery
© Anne-Sophie Flament

Boulogne Eastern Cemetery
© Anne-Sophie Flament

BOULOGNE-SUR-MER - Boulogne eastern cemetery

In addition to using Boulogne's port to disembark equipment and troops, the British Army also requisitioned a large number of buildings in the town which they converted into hospitals to treat the wounded returning from the Front. Those who did not recover were buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery which today contains nearly 6,000 graves, including those of 140 men of the Portuguese Expeditionary Force who fought in Flanders under British command from November 1917 until the end of the war.

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SAINT-MARTIN-BOULOGNE

Meerut military cemetery

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Meerut Military Cemetery - St Martin Boulogne
© Anne-Sophie Flament

Meerut Military Cemetery - St Martin Boulogne
© Anne-Sophie Flament

SAINT-MARTIN-BOULOGNE - Meerut military cemetery

Meerut Military Cemetery was begun on the site of a hospital which, between October 1914 and November 1915, cared for the wounded soldiers of the Meerut Division of the Indian Corps. Sent to the front in Flanders, the Indians suffered heavy losses in fighting around Neuve-Chapelle and Laventie in 1915. The hospital closed when the division was transferred to the Middle East. Today the cemetery contains 279 graves, as well as those of 27 Egyptian workers killed in an air raid in 1917.

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WIMEREUX

Wimereux communal cemetery

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Wimereux Communal Cemetery
© Anne-Sophie Flament

Stèle de John Mac Crae - Wimereux Communal Cemetery
© Anne-Sophie Flament

WIMEREUX - Wimereux communal cemetery

In Wimereux Cemetery, among the graves of the 3,000 soldiers and nurses who died in the British Army field hospitals, lies the final resting place of Lt-Col John McCrae. A Canadian doctor, McCrae was the author of the famous poem 'In Flanders Fields' which he dedicated to those who fell in the Great War. The subsequent popularity of his poem contributed greatly to the poppy being chosen as a symbol of remembrance: 'In Flanders fields the poppies blow, Between the crosses, row on row.'

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WIMILLE

Terlincthun british cemetery

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Terlincthun Bristish Cemetery - Wimile
© Anne-Sophie Flament

Terlincthun Bristish Cemetery - Wimile
© Anne-Sophie Flament

WIMILLE - Terlincthun british cemetery

With space exhausted in Boulogne and Wimereux, a new burial site was opened in June 1918 in Terlincthun to accommodate the soldiers who died in the base hospitals on the French coast. The central path of the cemetery was aligned with the Column of the Grande Armée which can be seen in the distance. This contrivance of the architect Sir Herbert Baker is best viewed from behind the Stone of Remembrance and seems to suggest that Napoleon, atop his column, is watching over the dead of the Great War.

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SANGATTE - BLÉRIOT PLAGE

ObÉlisque À la dover patrol

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Obélisique à la Dover Patrol - Cap Blanc Nez
© Anne-Sophie Flament

Belvédère - Obélisique à la Dover Patrol - Cap Blanc Nez
© Anne-Sophie Flament

SANGATTE - BLÉRIOT PLAGE - ObÉlisque À la dover patrol

During the Great War, the German Army prosecuted underwater operations against the military and merchant navies of the Allies in an attempt to close the shipping routes between England and France and so deprive the British forces on the Continent of supplies and reinforcements. The Dover Patrol Memorial on the French headland of Cap Blanc-Nez honours 'the glorious cooperation of the French and British Navies' whose heroic efforts kept the Strait of Dover open to Allied shipping.

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FEIGNIES

Fort de leveau

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Fossé du Fort de Leveau - Feignies
© Samuel Dhote

Détail de l'entrée du Fort de Leveau - Feignies
© Samuel Dhote

FEIGNIES - Fort de leveau

In the summer of 1914 the German Army marched through Belgium and entered France where they came up against the fortified outworks of Maubeuge. Designed by General Séré de Rivières, they had been built to defend the French border after the defeat of 1871. On 25 August 1914 the Germans surrounded the town in what was to become the longest siege of the war: it lasted a fortnight. Today the museum of Leveau Fort tells the story of Maubeuge during the two world wars.

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ASSEVENT

NÉcropole nationale d'assevent

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Nécropole militaire française et allemande d'Assevent
© Samuel Dhote

ASSEVENT - NÉcropole nationale d'assevent

On 8 September 1914 the Siege of Maubeuge, the longest in the Great War, came to an end with the surrender of the French no longer able to resist the heavy German artillery. Two years later the bodies of nearly 2,000 soldiers of both sides had still not been given a decent burial. Intent on resolving the situation, the German Army decided to concentrate the graves in a 'memorial cemetery' which the sister of the German Emperor would officially open and hand over to the town of Maubeuge in 1916.

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LE CATEAU-CAMBRESIS

Le cateau communal cemetery

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Le Cateau Communal Cemetery
© Office de tourisme du Cambrésis

LE CATEAU-CAMBRESIS - Le cateau communal cemetery

In the summer of 1914 British and French troops were forced back towards France as the German Army swept across Belgium. On 26 August the soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force held their ground near the town of Le Cateau to slow down the enemy's progress and allow the Allied soldiers enough time to reorganize prior to continuing their retreat. In the aftermath of the fighting, the Germans buried 150 dead British soldiers in a corner of the town's civilian cemetery.

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CAUDRY

Monument aux morts de caudry

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Monument aux morts de Caudry
© Samuel Dhote

CAUDRY - Monument aux morts de caudry

Erected in 1922 in honour of those who died in the Great War, Caudry Monument is also a poignant reminder of the German occupation of the town which lasted the length of the war. Four bas-reliefs on the monument show a French soldier in a trench dreaming of Sainte-Maxellende church tower and a family mourning the death of a loved one. Other scenes depict women, children and the elderly fleeing the town; and the liberation of the town by the British on 30 September 1918.

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COMINES

Monument aux morts allemand du cimetiÈre de comines

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Monument funéraire allemand - Comines
© Pascal Morès

COMINES - Monument aux morts allemand du cimetiÈre de comines

Comines cemetery is home to a sturdy funerary monument bearing the Imperial Eagle, the last remaining trace of the German extension which, prior to 1956, contained 4,283 graves that are now in Saint-Laurent-Blangy. Occupied for four years during the Great War, the town of Comines served as a German rear base in Lys Valley for the many battles around Ypres. Totally destroyed in the fighting and evacuated in 1917, the town was rebuilt after the war and given a magnificent onion-domed bell-tower.

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ARRAS

CarriÈre wellington

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Entrée de la Carrière Wellington - Arras
© Samuel Dhote

ARRAS - CarriÈre wellington

On 9 April 1917 the British Army launched a huge surprise attack on the German lines before Arras to divert attention away from the main French offensive which was to take place on Chemin des Dames Road in Aisne. That morning saw 24,000 soldiers flood out from the network of old chalk-quarry tunnels to attack the German defences. Today the tunnels of Wellington Quarry are open to the public and invite the visitor to discover the gripping story of the Battle of Arras.

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ARRAS

Faubourg d'amiens cemetery and arras memorial

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Faubourg d?Amiens Cemetery and Arras Memorial
© Samuel Dhote

Arras Flying Services Memorial and Arras Memorial
© Samuel Dhote

ARRAS - Faubourg d'amiens cemetery and arras memorial

Commonwealth Forces arrived in Arras in 1916 and used Faubourg-d'Amiens Cemetery to bury their dead right up to the end of the war. The Arras Memorial bears the names of 35,000 British, New Zealand and South African soldiers who never returned from the Battle of Arras in April 1917. One third of the Royal Flying Corps was destroyed in 'Bloody April'. The names of the 991 soldiers of the sky who lost their lives in the Great War are inscribed on the Arras Flying Services Memorial.

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AYETTE

Ayette indian and chinese cemetery

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Ayette-Indian and Chineese Cemetery
© Samuel Dhote

AYETTE - Ayette indian and chinese cemetery

The Ayette Indian and Chinese Cemetery is the final resting place of some eighty Asian labourers who died on the Western Front in Artois and Somme. To make up for a lack of available labour in Europe, the British Army recruited volunteer workers from India and China, but some also came from Egypt and South-Africa. These men carried out manual tasks in the supply bases along the French coast and at the Western Front. In the aftermath of the war many stayed behind to work on rebuilding France.

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GREVILLERS

Grevillers british cemetery and new zealand memorial

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Grévillers British Cemetery and New Zeland Memorial
© Samuel Dhote

GREVILLERS - Grevillers british cemetery and new zealand memorial

The Grévillers Memorial was erected in honour of the 450 soldiers from New Zealand who were killed in action in 1918 but have no known grave. The monument stands in a cemetery which is the last resting place of 2,106 men, many of whom were declared 'DOD' (Died of Disease) and probably succumbed to 'Spanish Flu'. Between early 1918 and mid 1919 a particularly virulent form of flu spread far and wide as civilians and troops moved around the world, and it probably killed at least 25 million people.

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WARLENCOURT-EAUCOURT

Warlencourt british cemetery

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Warlencourt British Cemetery - Warlencourt-Eaucourt
© Edouard Roose

Warlencourt British Cemetery - Warlencourt-Eaucourt
© Edouard Roose

WARLENCOURT-EAUCOURT - Warlencourt british cemetery

The ten metre high Butte de Warlencourt, an ancient Gallo-Roman tumulus, was a fortified German observation post during the Great War and British Forces expended much energy trying to take it during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. In February 1917 the Germans abandoned the hill in their withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line. Today a memorial erected by the Western Front Association pays tribute to the soldiers who died there, many of whom were buried in nearby Warlencourt British Cemetery.

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DOIGNIES

Louverval military cemetery and cambrai memorial

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Cambrai Memorial - Louverval-Doignies
© Samuel Dhote

Louverval Military Cemetery and Cambrai Memorial - Doignies
© Samuel Dhote

DOIGNIES - Louverval military cemetery and cambrai memorial

On the 20 November 1917 the British Army launched an attack on German Lines at Cambrai. This operation was the first of its kind to rely on tanks to support the infantry and in all 476 Mark IVs were used. Initially things went well and the British broke through the Hindenburg Line; however the German counter-attack, which came a few days later, pushed them back. Next to the Louverval Military Cemetery stands a memorial to the 7,000 men of the Commonwealth killed in the Battle of Cambrai.

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FLESQUIERES

Orival wood cemetery

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Stèle d'E. Mackintosh - Orival Wood Cemetery - Flesquières
© Samuel Dhote

FLESQUIERES - Orival wood cemetery

On 20 November 1917, the first day of the Battle of Cambrai, the British Army broke through the Hindenburg Line with tanks but their swift progress was brought to a halt by vigorous German resistance on Flesquières Ridge. The Orival Wood Cemetery was started during the battle and today contains the graves of 300 soldiers who fell in the area in 1917 and 1918. Scottish poet Ewart Allan Mackintosh, author of In Memoriam, was also laid to rest there. He was killed on 21 November 1917.

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CAMBRAI

Cambrai east military cemetery et cimetiÈre militaire allemand de la route de solesmes

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Cimetière militaire allemand - Route de Solesmes - Cambrai
© Samuel Dhote

Cimetière militaire allemand - Route de Solesmes - Cambrai
© Samuel Dhote

CAMBRAI - Cambrai east military cemetery et cimetiÈre militaire allemand de la route de solesmes

For most of the Great War, from August 1914 to October 1918, the Germans occupied the town of Cambrai which they turned into a major command and logistics centre with a number of hospitals. In 1917 the Germans established on the road to Solesmes a cemetery for not only their own dead but also for those of their British and French enemies. Today that cemetery contains the graves of 10,685 German, 502 British and 169 Russian soldiers, the latter having fought alongside the French.

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HAUCOURT

Vis-en-artois british cemetery and memorial

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Vis en Artois British Cemetery and Memorial - Haucourt
© Samuel Dhote

HAUCOURT - Vis-en-artois british cemetery and memorial

On 8 August 1918 the Allies, under the command of General Foch and strengthened with fresh troops from the USA, launched an offensive which penetrated deep into the German lines and eventually brought about the end of the war. The Vis-en-Artois Memorial, an impressive monument comprising pylons and a relief depicting Saint George and the Dragon, is inscribed with the names of 9,813 English, Irish and South African soldiers who were lost in action in Somme and Artois during the Advance to Victory.

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MONCHY-LE-PREUX

MÉmorial de terre-neuve

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Mémorial de Terre Neuve - Monchy le Preux
© Samuel Dhote

MONCHY-LE-PREUX - MÉmorial de terre-neuve

Close to Monchy-le-Preux Church a bronze caribou stands proudly on the ruins of a German fortified post. On 11 April 1917, during the Battle of Arras, the village of Monchy-le-Preux was held briefly by Allied soldiers until a German counter-attack on 14 April drove them all out except for the brave men of the Newfoundland Regiment who held fast until relief came four hours later. Today the bronze Caribou of Monchy-le-Preux commemorates the courage and bravery of those Newfoundlanders.

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MONCHY-LE-PREUX

Monument À la 37Ème division britannique

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Monument à la 37ème division britannique - Monchy-le-Preux
© Samuel Dhote

Monument à la 37ème division britannique - Monchy-le-Preux
© Samuel Dhote

MONCHY-LE-PREUX - Monument À la 37Ème division britannique

Three British infantrymen, back to back with their weapons at rest, dominate the memorial erected 'in memory of the officers and soldiers of the 37th Division of the British Army' who fell in the Great War. They distinguished themselves in the Battle of Arras when they took the village of Monchy, a high position above the Cambrai Road. Entering the village on 11 April 1917 in the middle of a snow storm, by the 14 it was completely secure thanks to the heroism of the Newfoundland Regiment.

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SAINT-LAURENT-BLANGY

Bailleul road east cemetery

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Bailleul Road East Cemetery - Saint Laurent Blangy
© Samuel Dhote

SAINT-LAURENT-BLANGY - Bailleul road east cemetery

Bailleul Road East Cemetery stands next to the German Military Cemetery in Saint-Laurent-Blangy and was begun in April 1917 by the 34th Scottish Division during the Battle of Arras. After the Armistice the graves of a 1,000 soldiers killed in the sector were concentrated at Bailleul of whom 541 were identified, including the poet Isaac Rosenberg who was killed in April 1918 near the village of Fampoux. During concentration, the English poet's body could not be formally identified which is why his headstone, like a number of others in the cemetery, bears the words, 'Buried near this spot'.

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SAINT-LAURENT-BLANGY

Bailleul road west cemetery

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Bailleul Road West Cemetery - Saint Laurent Blangy
© Samuel Dhote

SAINT-LAURENT-BLANGY - Bailleul road west cemetery

Bailleul Road West Cemetery was begun in May 1917 by the 12th battalion of the venerable Royal Scots Regiment. Founded in 1633, it was the oldest infantry regiment in the British Army prior to its merger with the King's Own Scottish Borderers in 2006. The Royal Scots distinguished itself in the Battle of Arras when it liberated the village of Saint-Laurent however it paid a heavy price in casualties. Most of the 100 soldiers buried in Bailleul cemetery were killed on 9 April 1917, the first day of fighting.

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SAINT-LAURENT-BLANGY

NÉcropole militaire allemande de saint-laurent-blangy

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Nécropole militaire allemande de Saint Laurent Blangy
© Samuel Dhote

Nécropole militaire allemande de Saint Laurent Blangy
© Samuel Dhote

SAINT-LAURENT-BLANGY - NÉcropole militaire allemande de saint-laurent-blangy

Saint-Laurent-Blangy was established in 1921 by the French as a concentration cemetery for the German soldiers who died in the southern area of the Arras Front. In 1926 the German war graves commission (VDK) carried our landscaping work in the cemetery to make it as natural as possible and in 1966 the original wooden crosses were replaced by metal ones. The cemetery contains the remains of 31,939 German soldiers who died in the Great War, of which 24,870 were laid to rest in a vast ossuary.

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ATHIES

MÉmorial À la 9Ème division Écossaise et point-du-jour cemetery

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9th Scottish Division Memorial - Athies
© Edouard Roose

9th Scottish Division Memorial - Athies
© Edouard Roose

ATHIES - MÉmorial À la 9Ème division Écossaise et point-du-jour cemetery

Close to the main road which connects Arras to Douai, in the place known as Point-du-Jour, stands a memorial in the shape of a cairn. It was built to honour, in the best Celtic tradition, those men of the 9th Scottish Division who fell on the first day of the Battle of Arras while liberating the village of Athies. A short distance away lies Point-du-Jour Cemetery which is the last resting place of the men of the South African Brigade who belonged to the same division.

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MONT-SAINT-ELOI

Ruines des tours de l'abbaye de mont-saint-eloi

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Ruines des tours de l'abbaye de Mont-Saint-Eloi
© Samuel Dhote

Ruines des tours de l'abbaye de Mont-Saint-Eloi
© Samuel Dhote

MONT-SAINT-ELOI - Ruines des tours de l'abbaye de mont-saint-eloi

On the hill at Mont-Saint-Eloi stand two ruined towers, the last-remaining vestiges of a powerful medieval abbey. From the start of the Great War the towers were used by the French Army to observe German positions on Lorette Spur and Vimy Ridge, and this made them important targets for the German artillery. Listed on France's register of ancient monuments in 1921 as a testament to the ravages of war, today the ruins mark the start of a historic trail which culminates in the Canadian Memorial on Vimy Ridge.

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MONT-SAINT-ELOI

CimetiÈre militaire d'ecoivres

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Cimetière militaire d'Ecoivres - Mont-Saint-Eloi
© Edouard Roose

MONT-SAINT-ELOI - CimetiÈre militaire d'ecoivres

The civilian cemetery in the hamlet of Ecoivres was extended by the French Army at the end of 1914 to accommodate its dead soldiers. In March 1916 British troops relieved the French and Ecoivres Military Cemetery was once again enlarged. The graves are in almost-perfect chronological order; they contain British soldiers from 1916 onwards and Canadian soldiers who fell during the Battle for Vimy Ridge in 1917. In total there are 1,728 Commonwealth and 786 French graves.

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NEUVILLE-SAINT-VAAST

Le flambeau de la paix

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Flambeau de la Paix - Neuville Saint Vaast
© Samuel Dhote

NEUVILLE-SAINT-VAAST - Le flambeau de la paix

A huge hand grasping a Torch of Peace rises out of a pile of rubble in the grounds of the Neuville Home for Disabled Veterans. The home comprises sixteen detached houses and was built at the behest of philanthropist Ernest Petit to provide accommodation for the disabled war veterans employed by their countries to tend the various war cemeteries in the area. At the heart of the complex is an accommodation centre for families visiting the graves of their loved ones who were killed in the Great War.

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NEUVILLE-SAINT-VAAST

La targette british cemetery

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La Targette British Cemetery - Neuville-Saint-Vaast
© Samuel Dhote

La Targette British Cemetery - Neuville-Saint-Vaast
© Samuel Dhote

NEUVILLE-SAINT-VAAST - La targette british cemetery

La Targette British Cemetery lies next to the French War Cemetery in a place known locally as 'Aux-Rietz'. It was there that the 2nd Canadian Division set up its forward headquarters and artillery in preparation for the assault on Vimy Ridge in April 1917. The cemetery was begun in the same period. Nearly a third of the 638 soldiers interred in the cemetery, including 295 Canadians, were artillerymen who took part in the assault on Vimy Ridge and its subsequent defence.

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NEUVILLE-SAINT-VAAST

NÉcropole nationale de la targette

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Nécropole nationale de la Targette - Neuville-Saint-Vaast
© Philippe Frutier

Nécropole nationale de la Targette - Neuville-Saint-Vaast
© Samuel Dhote

NEUVILLE-SAINT-VAAST - NÉcropole nationale de la targette

Alongside La Targette British Cemetery lies probably the most thought-provoking of all the war cemeteries in Artois: La Targette French National Cemetery. With its endless rows of white crosses, the cemetery was established in 1919 to accommodate the remains of 11,443 French soldiers killed in the Great War, of whom 3,882 were never identified and buried in two ossuaries. It is also the final resting place of 593 French, 4 Polish and 170 Belgian soldiers who died in the Second World War.

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NEUVILLE-SAINT-VAAST

NÉcropole militaire allemande de la maison blanche

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Nécropole militaire allemande de la Maison Blanche
© Samuel Dhote

NEUVILLE-SAINT-VAAST - NÉcropole militaire allemande de la maison blanche

Neuville-Saint-Vaast German War Cemetery is the largest of its kind in France. Established by the French at the end of the war, the cemetery is the final resting place of 44,833 German soldiers who died in Artois. The German War Graves Commission (Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge ? VDK) redesigned the cemetery in the 1970s. A cross at the entrance to the site bears the words, 'Peace to men of goodwill', an aspiration shared by the VDK in their motto, 'Reconciliation above the graves'.

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NEUVILLE-SAINT-VAAST

MÉmorial de la compagnie nazdar et cimetiÈre tchÉcoslovaque

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Mémorial à la Compagnie Nazdar et cimetière tchécoslovaque
© Samuel Dhote

Mémorial à la Compagnie Nazdar et cimetière tchécoslovaque
© Samuel Dhote

NEUVILLE-SAINT-VAAST - MÉmorial de la compagnie nazdar et cimetiÈre tchÉcoslovaque

Intent on fighting German and Austro-Hungarian rule in their native countries, Czechoslovak and Polish immigrants living in and around Paris at the outbreak of the war were quick to enrol in the French Army and take part in the Second Battle of Artois in May 1915. Standing opposite the memorial to the soldiers of the Nazdar Company which marks the entrance to the Czechoslovak Cemetery, the Polish Memorial bears the motto 'Za wolnosc nasza i wasza' which means 'For our freedom and yours'.

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NEUVILLE-SAINT-VAAST

Monument aux volontaires polonais

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Monument aux volontaires polonais - Neuville Saint Vaast
© Samuel Dhote

NEUVILLE-SAINT-VAAST - Monument aux volontaires polonais

Intent on fighting German and Austro-Hungarian rule in their native countries, Czechoslovak and Polish immigrants living in and around Paris at the outbreak of the war were quick to enrol in the French Army and take part in the Second Battle of Artois in May 1915. Standing opposite the memorial to the soldiers of the Nazdar Company which marks the entrance to the Czechoslovak Cemetery, the Polish Memorial bears the motto 'Za wolnosc nasza i wasza' which means 'For our freedom and yours'.

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THELUS

Lichfield crater

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Lichfield Crater - Thélus
© Philippe Frutier

Lichfield Crater - Thélus
© Samuel Dhote

THELUS - Lichfield crater

United for the first time in a single army corps, the 4 Canadian Divisions of the Allied Army launched an attack on the heavily-defended Vimy Ridge on 9 April 1917. The officer in charge of burials used a mine crater at the foot of the ridge to inter the one hundred soldiers who were killed in the fighting. Today the burial grounds of Lichfield Crater and Zivy Crater are beautifully gardened although they still retain their circular shape, a unique feature among the Commonwealth War Cemeteries.

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NEUVILLE-SAINT-VAAST

Eglise saint laurent

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Vitraux de l'église Saint Laurent - Neuville-Saint-Vaast
© Samuel Dhote

NEUVILLE-SAINT-VAAST - Eglise saint laurent

Destroyed along with the rest of the village in the fighting of spring 1915, Saint Lawrence Church was rebuilt ten years later using a brand new material: reinforced concrete. This modern construction technique was perfected in 1890 by François Hennebique, a self-taught builder from Neuville-Saint-Vaast. The church contains stained-glass memorial windows which show Christ kissing the forehead of a dying soldier and views of Lorette Spur Cemetery and the old church tower.

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SOUCHEZ

Cabaret-rouge british cemetery

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Cabaret Rouge Military Cemetery
© Philippe Frutier

SOUCHEZ - Cabaret-rouge british cemetery

Before the war there was a house in Souchez named Cabaret Rouge. The house was destroyed with the rest of the village however its name lives on in the war cemetery which was created in 1917 by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to concentrate the graves of the 103 burial grounds in the region. Situated between two war cemeteries, one French and the other German, Cabaret-Rouge Cemetery today contains 7,655 Commonwealth burials of the Great War, more than half of them unidentified.

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SOUCHEZ

Zouave valley cemetery

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Zouave Valley Cemetery - Souchez
© Samuel Dhote

SOUCHEZ - Zouave valley cemetery

The peaceful fields at the foot of Vimy Ridge belie the strategic importance of the position in times of war. In May 1915 the Moroccan Division gained a foothold on the ridge after much fighting in the ravine below, since named 'Zouave Valley'. Opened by the British Army in May 1916, Zouave Valley Cemetery suffered shelling to such an extent that some of the 245 graves in the cemetery could not be formally identified after the war. These now bear the inscription 'Buried near this spot'.

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SOUCHEZ

Monument a la gloire de la division barbot

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Monument à la gloire de la Division Barbot - Souchez
© Samuel Dhote

SOUCHEZ - Monument a la gloire de la division barbot

The remarkable bronze statue on the monument dedicated to 'glory of the Barbot Division' is the effigy of General Ernest Barbot whose bravery and humanity acquired him the reputation of 'a good knight' among the French ranks. In October 1914, at the head of the 77th Infantry Division, he also gained the sobriquet the 'Saviour of Arras'. He was fatally wounded during the Second Battle of Arras, in fighting near Souchez on 10 May 1915. He is buried on Lorette Spur in a common, soldier's grave.

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ABLAIN-SAINT-NAZAIRE

Ruines de l'eglise d'ablain-saint-nazaire

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Ruines de l'église d'Ablain-Saint-Nazaire
© Samuel Dhote

ABLAIN-SAINT-NAZAIRE - Ruines de l'eglise d'ablain-saint-nazaire

In mid-1915, French troops succeeded in taking Lorette Spur but failed to secure Vimy Ridge; in the fighting the village church of Ablain-Saint-Nazaire was reduced to rubble. At the end of the war it was decided to preserve the ruins as a 'testament'. Instead of rebuilding at great cost, the French authorities approved the construction of a new church which was completed in 1932. Today the Old Church continues to remind us of the horrors of the Great War and the vagaries of the Reconstruction.

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ABLAIN-SAINT-NAZAIRE

Statue du gÉnÉral maistre

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Statue du Général Maistre - Ablain-Saint-Nazaire
© Samuel Dhote

ABLAIN-SAINT-NAZAIRE - Statue du gÉnÉral maistre

The monument 'to the glory of General Maistre and the 21st Army Corps' stands on the probable location of the command post where the French laid plans for the taking of Lorette Spur during the Second Battle of Artois. In May 1915, after three days of hand-to-hand fighting the French 21st Army Corps finally took the German position next to the old chapel of Our Lady of Loretto. They had liberated the spur but the village of Souchez below it remained in German hands until the following September.

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THELUS

Zivy crater

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Zivy Crater - Thélus
© Samuel Dhote

Zivy Crater - Thélus
© Samuel Dhote

THELUS - Zivy crater

United for the first time in a single army corps, the 4 Canadian Divisions of the Allied Army launched an attack on the heavily-defended Vimy Ridge on 9 April 1917. The officer in charge of burials used a mine crater at the foot of the ridge to inter the one hundred soldiers who were killed in the fighting. Today the burial grounds of Lichfield Crater and Zivy Crater are beautifully gardened although they still retain their circular shape, a unique feature among the Commonwealth War Cemeteries.

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LOOS-EN-GOHELLE

Dud corner cemetery and loos memorial

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Dud Corner Cemetery and Loos Memorial - Loos en Gohelle
© Pascal Morès

Loos Memorial - Loos en Ghoelle
© Pascal Morès

LOOS-EN-GOHELLE - Dud corner cemetery and loos memorial

Loos Memorial, which encircles Dud Corner Cemetery, immortalizes the names of the 20,000 soldiers of the British Army who have no known grave. Most of these soldiers were killed at the Battle of Loos in late 1915. Among them was the only son of the famous writer Rudyard Kipling. The author of The Jungle Book never got over the loss, as can be clearly felt in his Epitaphs of the War wherein he wrote the lines, 'If any question why we died, Tell them, because our fathers lied'.

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RICHEBOURG

MÉmorial indien de neuve-chapelle (neuve-chapelle memorial)

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Neuve Chapelle Indian Memorial - Richebourg
© Anne-Sophie Flament

Neuve Chapelle Indian Memorial - Richebourg
© Anne-Sophie Flament

RICHEBOURG - MÉmorial indien de neuve-chapelle (neuve-chapelle memorial)

In October 1914 the British Army in Flanders was reinforced with troops arriving from India who would take part in a number of battles in the region, including the Battle of Neuve-Chapelle (1915) where 4,047 men of the Indian Corps were lost. With its 15-metre high column flanked by two tigers and topped with the Star of India, the Neuve-Chapelle Memorial is the only place of remembrance on the Western Front to commemorate the sacrifice made by Indian soldiers during the Great War.

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RICHEBOURG

CimetiÈre militaire portugais de richebourg

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Cimetière militaire portugais - Richebourg
© Anne-Sophie Flament

Cimetière militaire portugais - Richebourg
© Anne-Sophie Flament

RICHEBOURG - CimetiÈre militaire portugais de richebourg

Intent on showing its support for the Allies, the young Portuguese Republic organized an expeditionary force in 1916. Portuguese soldiers were placed under British command and assigned to the front between Laventie and Festubert in French Flanders. On 9 April 1918 the Portuguese suffered numerous casualties during the German offensive on Lys Plain. Richebourg is the only Portuguese war cemetery on the front and the final resting place for the 1,831 Portuguese soldiers who died in 1918.

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RICHEBOURG

Monument aux morts de richebourg

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Monument aux morts de Richebourg
© Pascal Morès

RICHEBOURG - Monument aux morts de richebourg

Richebourg War Memorial shows a French soldier of the First World War draped in the national flag and lying on a bier. This kind of representation, similar to the recumbent effigy of a medieval knight, is rarely found among the 36,000 war memorials which pay tribute to the 1,400,000 victims of the Great War in France. Although mourning and bereavement were sometimes referred to on the memorials, statues representing death were usually avoided in favour of themes such as heroism, nation and victory.

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RICHEBOURG

Le touret military cemetery and memorial

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Le Touret Cemetery and Memorial - Richebourg
© Pascal Morès

RICHEBOURG - Le touret military cemetery and memorial

The impressive covered galleries and colonnades of the Le Touret Memorial occupy the eastern side of Le Touret Military Cemetery. The memorial bears the names of 13,482 British officers and men who fell in fighting in the neighbourhood from October 1914 to September 1915 and 'to whom the fortune of war denied the known and honoured burial given to their comrades in death'. A fitting monument to the tens of thousands who fell on the Forgotten Front between the Lys River and the town of La Bassée.

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AUBERS

Vestiges de la ligne hindenburg

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Bunker allemand de la Grande Guerre - Aubers
© Pascal Morès

Bunker allemand de la Grande Guerre - Aubers
© Pascal Morès

AUBERS - Vestiges de la ligne hindenburg

Throughout the war, Aubers Ridge provided the German Army with a strategic advantage over the British positions twenty metres below it on Lys Plain. Dozens of concrete fortifications and bunkers, which can still be seen today from the RD 141 road, were built as part of an efficient network of observation and command posts and artillery emplacements which rendered the ridge impregnable.

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FROMELLES

Parc mÉmorial australien de fromelles

Route(s) nearby

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Australian Memorial Park Fromelles
© Anne-Sophie Flament

Australian Memorial Park Fromelles
© Anne-Sophie Flament

Détail de la statue du parc mémorial australien de Fromelles
© Edouard Roose

FROMELLES - Parc mÉmorial australien de fromelles

The statue in Memorial Park shows Sergeant Fraser carrying a wounded comrade out of no man's land in the aftermath of the Battle of Fromelles, an operation launched to divert attention away from the major Allied offensive on the Somme. The nineteenth of July 1916 shall ever be remembered in Australia as the day their soldiers first fought in action on European soil during the First World War and one of the country's most tragic episodes which resulted in 5,533 Australian casualties.

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FROMELLES

V.c. corner australian cemetery and memorial

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V.C. Corner Australian Cemetery and Memorial - Fromelles
© Anne-Sophie Flament

V.C. Corner Australian Cemetery and Memorial - Fromelles
© Anne-Sophie Flament

FROMELLES - V.c. corner australian cemetery and memorial

Next to Memorial Park, VC Corner Cemetery is dedicated to the Australian soldiers who died in the Fromelles Offensive of 19 July 1916. Two mass graves accommodate the bodies of more than 400 unknown soldiers and the memorial bears the names of 1,208 Australians reported lost in action. In 2009 seventy of these lost soldiers were identified from remains uncovered during archaeological excavations in nearby Pheasant Wood. Today they are interred in Fromelles Pheasant Wood Military Cemetery.

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FLEURBAIX

Le trou aid post cemetery

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Le Trou Aid Post Cemetery - Fleurbaix
© Pascal Morès

Le Trou Aid Post Cemetery - Fleurbaix
© Anne-Sophie Flament

FLEURBAIX - Le trou aid post cemetery

Encircled by a moat and crowned with weeping willows, Le Trou Aid Post Cemetery is one of the most beautiful Commonwealth cemeteries in the region and the last resting place of 356 soldiers who fell on the 'Forgotten Front'. Although outside the most important strategic areas, the front between Armentières and La Bassée nevertheless saw numerous minor operations which were very costly in terms of human life: Le Maisnil in 1914, Aubers and Loos in 1915, and Fromelles in 1916.

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LE CATEAU-CAMBRESIS

Le cateau military cemetery et nÉcropole militaire allemande

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Cimetière militaire allemand - Cateau Cambrésis
© Samuel Dhote

Cimetière militaire allemand - Cateau Cambrésis
© Samuel Dhote

LE CATEAU-CAMBRESIS - Le cateau military cemetery et nÉcropole militaire allemande

In August 1914 the Germans occupied the town of Le Cateau and remained there until October 1918. They opened a cemetery nearby to bury their soldiers who died in the field or in the hospitals set up in the town. British victims of the fighting in the summer of 1914 were initially buried in the town's graveyard but as space ran out they were later buried in the German cemetery. Today almost 700 white Commonwealth headstones can be seen standing alongside the black crosses of the 5,000 German graves.

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ANNOEULLIN

CimetiÈre militaire allemand d'annoeullin

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Tombe d'Albert Ball -Cimetière militaire allemand Annoeullin
© Pascal Morès

Tombe d'Albert Ball -Cimetière militaire allemand Annoeullin
© Pascal Morès

ANNOEULLIN - CimetiÈre militaire allemand d'annoeullin

Of all the graves in Annoeullin Cemetery one in particular stands out: that of flying ace Albert Ball. Transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in 1916, Ball was the leading Allied ace with 44 victories when, on 7 May 1917, his plane crashed after a battle with the squadron of Lothar Von Richthofen (brother of the Red Baron). The Germans claimed a victory while the British cited mechanical failure. Recovered by the people of Annoeullin, the body of Albert Ball was laid to rest with military honours.

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WERVICQ-SUD

Monument aux morts allemand du chÂteau dalle-dumont

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Monument aux morts allemand - Wervicq-Sud
© Pascal Morès

WERVICQ-SUD - Monument aux morts allemand du chÂteau dalle-dumont

On Wervicq 'Mountain' stands a German war memorial showing a nurse caring for a bedridden soldier. Erected in 1915, the monument is all that remains of the original cemetery that the occupying forces established in the grounds of Château Dalle-Dumont, the latter being used as a hospital to treat soldiers wounded on the nearby front at Ypres. Moved to another location on the 'Mountain' in 1920, the German cemetery today contains the graves of 2,506 soldiers including eight Austro-Hungarians.

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LE QUESNOY

MÉmorial nÉo-zÉlandais (new zealand memorial)

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Le Quesnoy New Zealand Memorial
© Samuel Dhote

LE QUESNOY - MÉmorial nÉo-zÉlandais (new zealand memorial)

On 4 November 1918 the town of Le Quesnoy was liberated by New Zealand troops who scaled the Vauban fortifications using simple wooden ladders. Fastened to the rampart wall, the New Zealand Memorial not only depicts the events of that memorable operation it also shows the Kiwi national emblem: a silver fern. Ninety years on from the Armistice of the First World War, the liberation of Le Quesnoy remains one of the most significant events in the history of the New Zealand Army.

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ORS

Ors communal cemetery

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Ors Communal Cemetery
© Samuel Dhote

Stèle de Wilfred Owen - Ors Communal Cemetery
© Samuel Dhote

ORS - Ors communal cemetery

'What passing bells for these who die as cattle? Only the monstrous anger of the guns,' wrote Wilfred Owen in the opening of 'Anthem for Doomed Youth'. Like many of the poets of World War I, Owen described the lives of the soldiers in the trenches and denounced the horror of the fighting. He was killed in action on 4 November 1918, as his company tried to cross La Sambre Canal near the village of Ors, and laid to rest in the military section of the local cemetery.

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SECLIN

Fort de seclin

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Fort de Seclin
© Pascal Morès

Fort de Seclin
© Pascal Morès

SECLIN - Fort de seclin

Designed by General Séré de Rivières to defend the Belgian border, Seclin Fort is one of nineteen fortifications which were built around the city of Lille after the defeat of 1871. Seclin never saw action because Lille was declared an 'open city' on 1 August 1914 and subsequently occupied by the Germans in October later that year. Patiently restored by the Boniface Family since 1996, Seclin Fort is today home to the Artillery Museum.

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LILLE

Monument aux fusillÉs lillois

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Monument aux Fusillés lillois
© Pascal Morès

Monument aux Fusillés lillois
© Edouard Roose

LILLE - Monument aux fusillÉs lillois

The World War I monument in Lille shows four leaders of the city's Resistance lined up against a wall just moments before their execution by the German Army in the dungeons of the citadel. Along with Léon Trulin, who can be seen lying at their feet, Eugène Jacquet, Georges Maertens, Ernest Deceuninck and Sylvère Verhulst set up the 'Réseau Jacquet', a network for communicating information to the Allies about the German occupiers of Lille. They were eventually betrayed and executed on 22 September 1915.

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LILLE

Monument À lÉon trulin

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Monument à Léon Trulin - Lille
© Pascal Morès

Monument à Léon Trulin - Lille
© Pascal Morès

LILLE - Monument À lÉon trulin

The young man immortalized in the statue which stands near Lille Opera is the 'glorious teenager' Léon Trulin who was eighteen years old when he started spying for the British. In June 1915 the young Trulin gathered around him a band of teenage friends for the purpose of collecting information on the German occupier in Belgium and Northern France. Arrested near Antwerp, Trulin was executed in the ditch around Lille Citadel a few months later on 8 November.

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LILLE

Monument À louise de bettignies

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Monument à Louise de Bettignies - Lille
© Pascal Morès

Monument à Louise de Bettignies - Lille
© Pascal Morès

LILLE - Monument À louise de bettignies

Louise de Bettignies joined the British Intelligence Service in 1915 and was given the job of setting up a network of spies to collect information on German activities in Northern France. Her work was initially limited to the city of Lille but gradually, with the help of Marie-Léonie Vanhoutte, she developed her activities to take in an area which stretched as far as Saint-Quentin. Arrested on 21 October 1915, Louise de Bettignies died on 27 September 1918 in a German prison. Today, a statue of the Queen of Spies continues to watch over the city of Lille.

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LILLE

Monument aux pigeons voyageurs

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Monument aux piegons voyageurs - Lille
© Pascal Morès

Détail du monument aux pigeons voyageurs - Lille
© Edouard Roose

LILLE - Monument aux pigeons voyageurs

At the entrance to Lille Zoo stands a memorial 'to the 20,000 pigeons who died for their country' and 'to the pigeon fanciers who were executed by the enemy' for having kept them. Carrier pigeons played an important role during the Great War and one was even awarded the prestigious Ordre de la Nation for its services at Verdun. Today, radio waves may have replaced wings when it comes to sending messages in times of war but pigeon fancying remains a popular sport in Northern France.

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LILLE

Monument aux victimes de l'explosion de la poudriÈre des 18 ponts

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Monument aux victimes de l'explosion de la poudrière
© Pascal Morès

Monument aux victimes de l'explosion de la poudrière
© Pascal Morès

LILLE - Monument aux victimes de l'explosion de la poudriÈre des 18 ponts

On 11 January 1916 the 18 Ponts munitions depot in Lille suddenly exploded, killing 134 people, wounding 400 and destroying 21 factories and 738 houses. Today, a monument to commemorate the catastrophe stands on rue de Maubeuge. During the 'terrible years' of the Great War the people of Lille were forced to live in extreme conditions. The German occupiers confiscated anything of use, including mattresses, and 'deported' 10,000 young people, mostly women, to work on the farms of Aisne and Ardennes.

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YPRES (IEPER)

In flanders fields museum

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Halle aux Draps - Ypres
© Pascal Morès

Halle aux Draps - Ypres
© Pascal Morès

YPRES (IEPER) - In flanders fields museum

In October 1914 the Western Front stabilized several kilometres from Ypres, creating a salient in the German line. Five battles of the Great War, involving troops from all over the world, centred on the rich Flemish city of Ypres. Today the city's famous Cloth Hall, destroyed during the war and since rebuilt, is home to the In Flanders Fields Museum which tells the story of the First World War through the eyes of a soldier and a civilian of the period.

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YPRES (IEPER)

Memorial de la porte de menin

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Menin Gate Memorial - Ypres
© Pascal Morès

Détail du Menin Gate Memorial - Ypres
© Pascal Morès

YPRES (IEPER) - Memorial de la porte de menin

During the Great War, hundreds of thousands of Allied Troops passed through the Menin Gate in the ramparts of Ypres on their way to the front. Each evening at 8 o'clock since 1928 the Last Post has been played at the foot of the Ypres Memorial in tribute to the 55,000 soldiers of the British Empire who fell on the battlefields of the Ypres Salient.

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HEUVELLAND

Ossuaire franÇais du mont kemmel

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Ossuaire français du Mont Kemmel - Heuvelland
© Edouard Roose

Détail du monument de l'ossuaire français du Mont Kemmel
© Edouard Roose

HEUVELLAND - Ossuaire franÇais du mont kemmel

In April 1918 Kemmel Hill was the scene of savage fighting as the Germans tried to wrest Ypres from the control of the British, soon to be reinforced by the French. Today the ossuary on the flank of the hill contains the bodies of 5,294 French soldiers, most of whom were killed on Kemmel. At the summit stands a column dedicated to the French soldiers who fought in Flanders. It features the statue of the Roman goddess Victoria whose melancholic gaze has earned her the nickname 'The Sad Angel of Kemmel Hill'.

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PUISIEUX

CimetiÈres du commonwealth et nÉcropole franÇaise de la route de serre

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Serre Road Cemetery n°2 - Route de Serre-Puisieux
© Samuel Dhote

Serre Road Cemetery n°2 - Route de Serre-Puisieux
© Samuel Dhote

PUISIEUX - CimetiÈres du commonwealth et nÉcropole franÇaise de la route de serre

Although a mere 5 kilometres long, the road which runs from Serre-Puiseux in the department of Pas-de-Calais to Mailly-Maillet in Somme is bordered by no fewer than twelve war cemeteries. The area saw intense fighting in the Great War when the French, in June 1915, and later the British, in July 1916, took on the German Army in the Battle of the Somme. Today this historic landscape is home to the peaceful gardens of the Commonwealth and French War Cemeteries of the Serre Road.

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HEBUTERNE

Gommecourt british cemetery no.2

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Gommecourt British Cemetery n°2 - Hébuterne
© Samuel Dhote

Gommecourt British Cemetery n°2 - Hébuterne
© Samuel Dhote

HEBUTERNE - Gommecourt british cemetery no.2

In October 1914, during the belligerents' Race to the Sea, the German Army took Gommecourt to form a salient in Allied lines. On 1 July 1916, on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, the 46th (North Midland) Division and the 56th (London) Division attacked the salient without success, the Germans holding on until February 1917. Extended after the Armistice, Gommecourt British Cemetery No.2 contains the graves of 1,357 soldiers most of whom fell on that tragic day in 1916.

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FLESQUIERES

Panorama de la crÊte de flesquiÈres

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Belvédère de la Crête de Flesquières
© Samuel Dhote

FLESQUIERES - Panorama de la crÊte de flesquiÈres

The footprints of infantrymen following in the tracks of a tank make the memorial on Flesquières Ridge a poignant reminder of the events of November 1917 when British tanks led their troops into the Battle of Cambrai. A viewpoint indicator on the site shows the Hindenburg Line and how the fighting developed. Rebuilt after the war, an observation tower attached to the castle wall was used by the Germans to send light signals to Cambrai.

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HENINEL

Vestiges de la ligne hindenburg

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Vestiges de la Ligne Hindenburg - Héninel
© Guillaume Hénon

HENINEL - Vestiges de la ligne hindenburg

Héninel is home to the last-remaining vestiges of the Hindenburg Line. In early 1917 this small village to the south-east of Arras found itself at the forefront of a formidable line of German defences which stretched from the Belgian border to the town of Soissons. Taken by the British on 12 April 1917 and retaken by the Germans a year later, Héninel was finally liberated in August 1918. Despite its small size, barely 200 inhabitants, the village is also home to six British military cemeteries.

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AIX-NOULETTE

Monument au sous-lieutenant jacques defrasse

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Monument au sous lieutenant Jacques Defrasse - Aix Noulette
© Edouard Roose

AIX-NOULETTE - Monument au sous-lieutenant jacques defrasse

Next to the road which runs from Souchez to Aix-Noulette stand a couple of simple monuments to commemorate the lives of two young officers who were killed one month apart in the attack on Saules Trench. Jacques Defrasse, 23, and Jean Léon, 22, represent those who died in the assaults on Lorette Spur and Vimy Ridge which took place in May and June 1915. In total, the French Army lost 102,000 soldiers during the Second Battle of Artois.

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VIMY

Monument À la division marocaine

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Monument à la Division Marocaine - Vimy
© Samuel Dhote

VIMY - Monument À la division marocaine

Opposite the Canadian Memorial on Vimy Ridge stands a more modest monument to 'the officers and soldiers of the Moroccan Division' who fell there during the Second Battle of Artois. On 9 May 1915, two years before the success of the Canadian Corps, the Moroccan Division fought their way up to Vimy Ridge; however for want of reinforcements, they were soon obliged to retreat. In all, nearly 450,000 soldiers from the French colonies and protectorates fought on the battlefields of Europe during the Great War.

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ROUBAIX

Monument À eugÈne motte

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Détai du monument à Eugène Motte - Roubaix
© Edouard Roose

ROUBAIX - Monument À eugÈne motte

Near the old post office stands a memorial to commemorate the Roubaix industrialist and politician Eugène Motte. Heir to the Motte-Bossut textile dynasty, in 1915 he was ordered by the Germans to manufacture cloth which would be turned into sandbags for their trenches. The memorial quotes his words of refusal to Governor Hoffman, 'We cannot accept the role of collaborator to the enemy. You can commandeer our goods but you cannot commandeer our selves'. He was subsequently deported to Germany.

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ROUBAIX

Monument aux morts de roubaix

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Détail du monument aux morts de Roubaix
© Edouard Roose

ROUBAIX - Monument aux morts de roubaix

The imposing war memorial on boulevard Leclerc shows the personification of Peace victorious, the terrible Hydra subjugated; a fitting tribute to the suffering of Roubaix during the four year occupation of the Great War. A carving on the memorial depicts civilian women herded by soldiers during the deportations which saw 8,000 'volunteer' workers forced from the town. The statue of Peace carries the horn of plenty, a reference to the privations inflicted on the city.

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LILLE

Monument aux morts de lille

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Détail du monument aux morts de Lille
© Edouard Roose

LILLE - Monument aux morts de lille

Despite protest from war veterans, the Lille City Council of 1924 decided to dedicate the memorial designed by Jacques Alleman to those who died 'for peace' and not 'for their country'. Erected in place Rihour, on the spot where the original City Hall burned to the ground in 1916, the memorial is now the starting point of a remembrance trail which pays tribute to the key figures of Lille's resistance movement in the Great War, such as Louise de Bettignies, Léon Trulin and the members of the 'Comité Jacquet'.

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TOURCOING

Monument aux morts de tourcoing

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Monument aux morts de Tourcoing
© Edouard Roose

TOURCOING - Monument aux morts de tourcoing

Tourcoing War Memorial and its magnificent representation of Victory on horseback leading her soldiers 'to glory and immortality' pays tribute to the 2,531 men from Tourcoing who died in the fighting of 1914-1918. The monument also bears the names of the 177 civilians who died during the occupation. The city was liberated on 17 October 1918, bringing to a close the mistreatment and privations that were on inflicted on the people of Tourcoing throughout the four years of the Great War.

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BAPAUME

HÔtel de ville de bapaume

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Hôtel de ville de Bapaume
© Samuel Dhote

BAPAUME - HÔtel de ville de bapaume

In February 1917 the German Army carried out a tactical retreat to the heavily fortified Hindenburg Line, ensuring before they left that the areas they had previously occupied were mined and booby-trapped. On 25 March 1917 Bapaume Town Hall was destroyed by a time bomb one week after the arrival of Australian troops in the town. As with all the towns and villages in the 'zone rouge', Bapaume could not be rebuilt until extensive mine clearing and earth-moving works were done. A new Town Hall opened in 1935.

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CAMBRAI

Centre-ville de cambrai

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Façade de la Chambre de Commerce de Cambrai
© Samuel Dhote

CAMBRAI - Centre-ville de cambrai

When the Germans retreated from Cambrai in October 1918 all they left their Canadian successors was a ghost town with a burned-out centre. The architect Pierre Leprince-Ringuet was given the job of rebuilding the town and he gave Cambrai new squares and streets, concentrated the administrative buildings and shops into specific areas, and designed a brand new town hall. Today the architecture in Cambrai's centre is a mixture of traditional regional styles and the more modern concept of Art Deco.

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LENS

Gare de lens

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Gare de Lens
© Samuel Dhote

LENS - Gare de lens

It took more than two years after the end of the war to clear away the rubble before the reconstruction of the ruined town of Lens could begin. In 1926 architect Urbain Cassan drew up plans to build a new station in the shape of a steam locomotive, with a clock tower for its funnel and exaggerated arches for its wheels. Inside the station Cassan added a mosaic on the themes of railways and coal-mining to reflect the building's purpose and the history of the town.

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STEENWERCK

Eglise et monument aux morts de steenwerck

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Eglise de Steenwerck
© Frédérik Hastier

Eglise de Steenwerck
© Pascal Morès

STEENWERCK - Eglise et monument aux morts de steenwerck

The reconstruction of Steenwerck is exemplified by its spectacular war memorial and Romano-Byzantine church. Up to the spring of 1918 the village was defended by the British Army, mostly Australians and New Zealanders. Many of them now rest in Trois Arbres Military Cemetery, including soldier John King who was shot for desertion in August 1917. In 2007 a New Zealand delegation visited his grave to remove the dishonour of his 'unfair' execution.

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BETHUNE

HÔtel de ville et grand'place de bÉthune

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Hôtel de ville de Béthune et façades
© Pascal Morès

Façades de la Grand'Place de Béthune
© Pascal Morès

BETHUNE - HÔtel de ville et grand'place de bÉthune

During the Battle of the Lys, in the spring of 1918, the German Army attempted to take the town of Béthune and, following their failure, showered the town centre with incendiary shells. The 14th century bell tower in the main square was one of the town's few architectural features to have survived. In the aftermath of the battle the houses which bordered the square were rebuilt in a mixture of styles. The town hall, designed by Jacques Alleman, is the central piece of this architectural ensemble.

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ARRAS

HÔtel de ville, beffroi et places d'arras

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Hôtel de ville et beffroi - Arras
Eric Lebrun - Light Motiv

Hôtel de ville et beffroi - Arras
Eric Lebrun - Light Motiv

ARRAS - HÔtel de ville, beffroi et places d'arras

By the end of the Great War, after suffering almost constant shelling from 1914 to 1917, Arras was in ruins and a 'martyred city'. It was decided that its prominent features, such as the bell tower, the town hall and the facades of the houses bordering the main square, should be rebuilt as faithfully as possible to the originals. Using a mixture of reinforced concrete and stone facing, architect Pierre Paquet managed to restore much of the rich architectural heritage of Arras.

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VIEILLE-CHAPELLE

Eglise de vieille-chapelle

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Eglise de Vieille Chapelle
© Pascal Morès

VIEILLE-CHAPELLE - Eglise de vieille-chapelle

The village of Vieille-Chapelle, near Estaires, was completely destroyed in the Battle of the Lys in the spring of 1918. During reconstruction, the design of the new church was entrusted to the architects Louis Quételart and André Pavlovsky who were already busy at work rebuilding Méteren. Completed in 1924, the church clearly shows the Basque influence which established the reputations of the architects in Le Touquet and Saint-Jean-de-Luz (Basque Country).

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METEREN

Ville de mÉteren

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Clocher de l'église de Méteren
© Pascal Morès

Mairie et Poste de Méteren
© Pascal Morès

METEREN - Ville de mÉteren

At the end of the war, architects Louis Quételart and André Pavlovsky were called in to redesign Méteren. They gave the village's public buildings neo-Flemish exteriors, a style much-favoured by Quételart in his work in the seaside town of Le Touquet-Paris-Plage. In the 1920s a series of public buildings opened such as the school, the Town Hall and post office and the new church with its fifty-one metre high bell-tower which now dominates the Flemish plain.

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BAILLEUL

Ville de bailleul

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Hôtel de ville de Bailleul et façade
© Pascal Morès

Détail de l'hôtel de ville de Bailleul
© Pascal Morès

BAILLEUL - Ville de bailleul

Bailleul is a little town in french flanders...(test)

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ARMENTIERES

HÔtel de ville et beffroi d'armentiÈres

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Hôtel de ville d'Armentières
© Pascal Morès

Eglise St Vaast - Hôtel de ville d'Armentières
© Pascal Morès

ARMENTIERES - HÔtel de ville et beffroi d'armentiÈres

Used extensively by the Commonwealth for stationing troops prior to the various Battles of Ypres, the Flanders town of Armentières was also the setting for the song 'Mademoiselle from Armentières'. Reduced to rubble during the German Spring Offensive in 1918, the town centre was redesigned after the Great War by the architect Louis-Marie Cordonnier. His regionalist ideas can be seen in many features of the town, notably the design of the bell tower which adheres faithfully to the style of the Flemish Renaissance.

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Monument to the victims of the explosion of the 18 Ponts munitions depot - Lille

Monument aux victimes de l'explosion de la poudrièreMonument aux victimes de l'explosion de la poudrière

On 11 January 1916, at 3.30 a.m., Lille was rocked by a violent explosion that could be heard as far away as Holland. A bright yellow flash lit up the sky: the 18 Ponts munitions depot had just exploded. The German Army had been using an old fortified outwork, comprising 18 arches (the source of its French name), to store large quantities of explosives and munitions. Undoubtedly accidental, the explosion left a crater 150 metres wide and 30 metres deep on one side of boulevard de Belfort. Twenty-one factories and 738 houses were brought down in the Moulins district of the city. One hundred and four civilians died, thirty Germans and nearly 400 people were wounded, including 116 severely.

This catastrophe, commemorated by a monument on rue de Maubeuge, was one of the saddest episodes of the 'terrible years' of the German occupation which ran from October 1914 to October 1918. Throughout those 210 long weeks martial law ruled the city of Lille, cutting it off from the rest of the country. Families could obtain no news of their fathers and sons who were engaged in the fighting or held as prisoners of war. Life was very hard; the occupiers pillaged the factories and confiscated anything of use that they could find in people's houses, such as bicycles, horses, metal and even mattresses and pillows.

The great explosion of Lille in the 'terrible years'

In addition to the material privations, 10,000 citizens of Lille, mostly young women, were 'deported' from the city in April 1916 and sent to work in the farms of Aisne and Ardennes. In a city where only 35,000 inhabitants out of 150,000 could provide for themselves, food soon became an acute problem. Towards the end of the occupation civilian rations were down to 300 grams of coarse wholemeal bread and 60 grams of bacon a fortnight. During the terrible years 22,911 deaths were registered for only 8,594 births. But the people of Lille did not give in to the hostage-taking, imprisonments and deportations: many heroes gave their lives to further the cause of the resistance.

Practical information

Map:

Find out about access, tourist offices and a selection of quality accommodation and restaurants around the site.


Contact details

Address: Rue de Maubeuge - 59000 LILLE

Contact: OFFICE DE TOURISME DE LILLE

Call: 08 91 56 20 04 - +33 (0)3 59 57 94 00

Website: www.lilletourism.com

In the surrounding area