Tag Archives: Great War

Souvenirs of the Great War


August 2014 is the centenary anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War, or First World War as it was later known. Fighting that began in the Balkans in July 1914 spread through Europe, involving some nations spoiling for a fight and others unprepared for conflict. By the beginning of August the madness had reached the Channel coast, with Germany threatening both France and Belgium. This sucked Britain into the war, when the British ultimatum to Germany demanding that military operations against Belgium must cease was ignored. The ultimatum expired at midnight on Tuesday 4th August, and from then on Britain was at war.

By mid-August the first troops of the British Expeditionary Force were disembarking on the Continent. By the third week in August they had reached the frontier between Belgium and France, but like the other troops already stationed at the border their role was to delay the enemy advance as much as possible, not stop it. Soon they were involved in a measured retreat as the allied forces fell back to the outskirts of Paris in order to regroup. The German advance was halted by the Battle of the Marne, which started on 5th September, and the Germans were forced to withdraw west of Verdun. This eventually led to the establishment of the Western Front and the notoriously static trench warfare that caused so much carnage during the First World War.


In Britain, from September 1914, there was a massive drive to recruit men for the army, and soldiers poured across the Channel Continue reading