The Western Front Gallipoli Invasion to Liberation Jane Austens England
St Mihiel
The First Ypres
Fromelles Memerial
St Mihiel Cemetry
Thiepval Memorial
Messine Ridge
Longueval and Delville Wood

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The First Ypres

'The line that stood between the British Empire and ruin was composed of tired, haggard and unshaven men, unwashed, plastered with mud, many in little more than rags'. General J.E. Edmonds - Military Operations. France and Belgium.

By mid October 'the race for the sea' was reaching its conclusion with the much stronger German Army threatening to break through the weaker British force, led by the indecisive General French, and later also by Haig. The British line held and the Belgian army on the British left, opened the sea sluicegates and flooded their area of the battlefield. The French rushed in reinforcements under Foch and the 6 mile Ypres salient held against enormous pressure, sometimes with odds of 5 to 1 in favour of the Germans. German attacks continued into November, with the last heavy blow falling, prophetically, on the 11th. Heavy snow and rain halted the battle on the 22nd November. The first Ypres effectively destroyed the old BEF; 58,000 British became casualties along the 50,000 French, 32,000 Belgian and 130,000 Germans. To the anger of their High Command, troops in some sections of the British and German lines fraternised in No Man's Land on Christmas Day, playing football and swapping gifts.