In the streets of Sarajevo on this day a hundred years ago the Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip stood up from beside a street cafe and emptied the contents of his automatic pistol into a car bearing Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, killing them both. The outrage over the murder of the heir to the Austrian throne would bring about the conflict that became the Great War, and was the first… Read More
There are a large number of German First World War cemeteries in the Vosges area of the Western Front, many of them containing original features or even contemporary headstones. The cemetery at Illfurth, located on a hillside amongst the woods above the town, was a cemetery started by the Germans when this ground was part of Germany in 1914. At that time the men buried here would have been interred on what… Read More
Small French battlefield cemeteries are rarer than the British ones on the Western Front as most battlefield cemeteries were concentrated into larger burial grounds in the 1920s. This small battlefield cemetery is close to the village of Chavannes les Grands in the Vosges and commemorates men from a French regiment who fought here in August 1914. Buried here are Lieutenant Paul Genairon and his comrades of the 260th Regiment of Infantry. On… Read More
The Tranchée de Calonne, despite it’s name, was not actually a trench: tranchée being the French for trench. Instead it was a long road running for more than 25km through the wooded area south-east of Verdun into what became known as the Saint Mihiel Salient. The area saw heavy fighting from September 1914 and some of the earliest trenches used by the French Army were dug among the trees here. French writer Alain… Read More
By the close of the Great War the French Army had lost more than 1.4 million dead: their burials are scattered across more than 350 mile of the Western Front occupied by French forces. In the Department of the Aisne the cemeteries are very evident between Soissons and Reims, and this one at Braine, taken in early evening light on a bright March day, commemorates the dead from operations on the Aisne… Read More
The Tranchée des Bavarois, or Bavarian Trench, was part of a German system of trenches in the St Mihiel Salient, south of Verdun. The positions here were strengthened from 1915 onwards and a large number of concrete structures put in place, from concrete lined firing positions in the trenches to infantry shelters and mortar and machine-gun posts. This bunker was made by a Bavarian Pioneer company in 1915/16 and sheltered men from… Read More
This German observation bunker is located on the Sundgau front in Alsace at the far end of the Western Front. It’s sits on rising ground in what was once Germany before 1914 and overlooks the site of the former French positions which ended here on the Swiss border close to the village of Pfetterhouse. This area saw fighting in the early period of the war and then settled down to static trench… Read More
The area known as Le Linge was actually part of Germany in 1914. French troops entered the mountains not just to take the fight to the Germans but to regain soil that they believed was French. During the heavy fighting in these rock-cut trenches in early 1915 there was more than 17,000 fatal casualties; a staggering toll. This part of the Western Front is very different to others and in some ways… Read More
This huge memorial, the largest free-standing statue in France, is set in 40 acres of ground. Designed by architect Thomas Hastings, the sculptor was Frederick MacMonnies. It was unveiled in September 1932, some 14 years after the First Battle of the Marne in September 1914. Paid for by the American Friends of France, it was in recognition of this important turning point in the First World War and the stopping of the… Read More
The Nieuport Memorial was unveiled in 1928 and commemorates more than 500 soldiers, and sailors of the Royal Naval Division, who died on the Northern End of the Western Front and in land operations in north Belgium close to Antwerp and have no known grave. The memorial was designed by noted architect, and Great War veteran, Charles Sergeant Jagger; the lions in particular a notable feature of his work. The memorial is… 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.
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.