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.
The battlefield of Verdun was one of the great killing grounds of the First World War. Here France stood firm against a German attack, which cost both sides 770,000 casualties in 1916. It was said that more than 1,000 shells fell for every square metre of the Verdun battlefield, turning it into a vast crater-zone, a moonscape of shell holes, still visible a century later. This image was taken at dusk inMarch… Read More
The village war memorial in Thiaucourt-Regniéville bears a striking bronze showing a soldier of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) shaking hands with a French soldier, a Poilu. This recalls the occasion during the fighting for the St Mihiel Salient in 1918 when Americans and Frenchmen fought side by side. The War Memorial shows sign of battle damage from the fighting in this area in 1940 and 1944.
A Belgian archaeologists carefully cleans a clip of British .303-inch bullets from the First World War. These were found during a dig at the Belgian town of Messines, in Flanders, in 2012 which featured in Channel 5’s WW1 Tunnels of Death. Items like this are found every year and are still potentially dangerous; they should always be left well alone.
This German trench, dating from 1916, was unearthed during a major excavation by ADeDe archaeologists lead by Simon Verdeghem in 2012. The dig featured in Channel 5’s WW1 Tunnels of Death. The trench links into a large German dugout dating from the same period. The small recesses on the right were for hand grenades; one was still full of German Stick Grenades when uncovered. This is the deepest evert intact trench excavated on… Read More
Located south of Soissons in the Aisne, this German cemetery has 9,229 indivudal burials of which thirteen are unknown. There are large ‘mass graves’ in the cemetery, containing a further 5,557 burials, of which 4,779 are unknown. Taken on a Canon EOS 400D at sunset in March 2010.
This tree-lined avenue runs from the high ground behind the old British positions which overlooked Messines Ridge in Flanders. It was tree-lined in 1914 and remains one of the few places that looks almost identical to what it was like a century ago. Photographed on a summer’s evening in 2013 with a Nikon D7000.
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.