Follow military historian, battlefield guide and author Paul Reed as he travels along the crisscross paths of the Great War on battlefields from Flanders to the Somme, and beyond to Verdun and the Vosges. From 2019 the site will include details of many British cemeteries and memorials along the Old Front Line.
Located in the village of La Ferte sous Jouarre, the memorial stands on the site where the Royal Engineers of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) built floating pontoon bridges across the Marne river during the pivotal Battle of the Marne in September 1914. This enabled troops to cross and tipped the balance in the favour of the Allies as the German Schlieffen Plan pushed on Paris.
In the four years of the Great War in Flanders the British Army established camps all around Ypres, many of them containing permanent structures like these two shelter bunkers located on the former site of ‘ANZAC Camp’ south-west of the city of Ypres. The camp had been used by Australian and New Zealand troops during the Battle of Passchendaele, but the bunkers may date from early 1918.
A late October sunset looking north towards Courcelette British Cemetery on a battlefield fought over in September 1916. Taken with a Nikon D7000 in 2012.
Like silent sentinels these bunkers, which once formed part of the German Hindenburg Line defences, overlook the St Quentin Canal. They look out across the fields of British victory from the final battles of the Great War on the Western Front and close by are the burials in Guisancourt Farm Cemetery; the men who were among those who took this ground in October 1918.
This photograph was taken in early evening light, during the summer of 2012. Courcelette British Cemetery is located in the heart of the Somme battlefields close to the village which was captured by Canadian troops on 15th September 1916. There are 1,970 graves in the cemetery of which 1,180 are unidentified. The majority of burials are Australians from the fighting at Pozieres and Mouquet Farm, and Canadians from Courcelette and Regina Trench…. Read More
Thiepval was one of the largest villages on the Department of the Somme before 1914. It sat on a long ridge-line and was dominated by a substantial chateau which employed a large number of estate workers. The German advance reached Thiepval in September 1914 and it became part of the battlefield for much of the rest of the war. Assaulted by British troops on 1st July 1916, it would take until 26th… Read More