WW1 Revisited

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A century ago the fighting in the fields of the Marne close to Paris was in full swing. Nearly two and a half million British, French and German soldiers, with Colonial troops from the far flung corners of the French Empire, were locked in combat in what would be one of the most decisive battles of 1914 and arguably of the whole war. Historian Dan Snow has just released this excellent video… Read More

On this day a century ago the Battle of the Marne began, a turning point in the early months of the Great War when the German Army was stopped from reaching Paris. Nearly two and a half million men fought in this battle which lasted less than a week and resulted in heavy losses on both sides; one in four of the French soldiers who took part became casualties, for example. The… Read More

A century ago today during the early stages of the Battle of the Marne, French author and poet Charles Péguy was killed in action. Péguy was no youngster; he was 41 when he went to war with the 19th Company of the 276th Regiment of Infantry in the French Army with the rank of Lieutenant. Going into action in the fields seen above he was shot in the head and killed instantly, one… Read More

The village of Hénencourt was behind the British lines in 1916 during the Battle of the Somme and was a rest area for troops going to and from the trenches. The chateau was used by various Corps commanders and was a massive complex dating back to the eighteenth century. The woods surrounding it contained a large army camp and by March 1918 the village was full of men again as the German… Read More

On the road between Henencourt and Baizieux, south of the village of Warloy-Baillon, is the Moulin de Rolmont. Typical of those in the region it is a stone tower that in 1914 was a fully working and functioning windmill. In 1916 the windmill was well behind the lines in what was a rest area for the British Army, and close to a Royal Flying Corps aerodrome. It was photographed by official photographer John… Read More

Bois de Delville, Delville Wood – or Devil’s Wood to the troops – was a large area of woodland attached to a chateau alongside the village of Longueval. This village was taken by the 9th (Scottish) Division on 14th July 1916 and the South African Brigade of that formation marched into the wood 3,500 strong; after six days of fighting as the wood was held, just 750 South Africans walked out. It… Read More

Audregnies is a small village west of Mons, out on the far west flank of the British Expeditionary Force during the Battle of Mons in 1914. On the 24th August 1914 the largest cavalry action of 1914 took place here when 9th Lancers and 4th Dragoon Guards charged the German positions at the Audregnies sugar factory. Captain Francis Grenfell led the 9th Lancers into action at Audregnies and was later awarded a Victoria Cross… Read More

Today is the centenary of the Battle of Mons; after the fighting around the city the British Expeditionary Force withdrew and  the famous Retreat From Mons began. It was the Germans and local Belgian civilians who buried the dead at Mons. At St Symphorien the Germans established a cemetery in an old lime quarry and buried their own dead, but honoured their enemy too – and gave the British soldiers a decent burial… Read More

A century ago today the Battle of Mons was raging in Belgium. The men of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) were dug in along the Mons-Conde canal and the 4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, a regular army battalion largely recruited in and around London, were defending two bridges over the canal. Sufficient explosives did not exist to blow them so their right flank was on a swing bring and their left on a… Read More

A century ago today the Battle of Morhange saw the start of one of the bloodiest periods of the war for France, now largely forgotten, especially outside of France. Morhange was in Lorraine and was in a region annexed by the new nation of Germany after the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. Therefore Morhange was in Germany in 1914 and called Mörchingen. In the fighting here on 20th August 1914 the French lost more… Read More