As we mark the 100-year anniversary of what was deemed ‘The Great War’ it is time to explore the vast array of historical sites that the conflict left behind in various locations, including France and Britain. These include memorials, battlefields and museums that are still freely accessible to the public today.
1 Somme Battlefields
As the site of one of the most infamous and bloodiest battles to take places in the entirety of the war the battlefields are a popular tourist attraction.
There is a Circuit of Remembrance at the site; it consists of a forty-mile route that starts at either the town of Albert or Peronne. The tour allows visitors to see various battle sites, memorials and museums.
2 Fort Douaumont
The fort was originally built following the Franco-Prussian wars around 1885 and was considered a crucial defensive post due its sunken position on high ground.
It is the site of the Battle of Verdun that was fought in February in 1916. Today the fort stands in the same condition as it did at the end of the war and contains well-preserved barracks, command posts and a graveyard. Visitors are able to take a tour around the site.
3 Lochnagar Crater
The Lochnagar Crater resides in the French village of La Bosisselle and was the site in which the first explosion of the Battle of the Somme took place.
The Bristish deployed the explosion on 1st July 1916 and at the time was one of the biggest that had ever been detonated. Today the crater can be visited as part of the Circuit of Remembrance or as an individual site. It is well worth a visit to see the 100-meter diameter and 30-meter deep crater.
4 Anzac Cove
Anzac Cove is located in the Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey and was the landing site for the Australian and New Zealander troops on 25th April 1915.
For 8 months the cove was used as the base for the Australian and New Zealander troops whilst they attempted to remove Turkey from the war.
5 Menin Gate
Menin Gate is located in Ypres, Belgium and is a memorial to the soldiers who went missing in Belgium during the entire war.
The memorial gate was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfiled and was built in 1927. The town of Ypres is also well known for being the site of three battles known as The Battles of Ypres. Today the memorial contains 54,896 names of British and Commonwealth soldiers.
6 Étaples Military Cemetery
During the war Étaples Military Cemetery was the site of a large military hospital and resides near Boulogne, France.
King George V and General Douglas Haig inaugurated the cemetery on May 14th 1922. The cemetery contains the graves of over 10,000 Commonwealth troops, along with over 500 non-commonwealth troops.
7 Aisne-Marne American Cemetery
The Aisne-Marne American Cemetery resides in Belleau, Northern France at the site where the Battle of Belleau Woods took place.
This battle was fought by the Americans from 1st June-26th June 1918, which secured the area from the German army. The cemetery is an astounding 42 acres and contains 2,289 graves.
8 Chateau-Thierry American Monument
Also known as the Hill 204 Monument, Chateau-Thierry American Monument overlooks the River Marne in France.
The monument commemorates the American soldiers that fought during World War I. The monument also boasts a mesmerizing granite structure with colonnades and heroic statues. Visitors can take the chance to learn about the battles that were fought in the area.
9 Fort Vaux
Also known as ‘Fort De Vaux’, Fort Vaux lies near Verdun and was originally a 19th century fort.
Fort Vaux is famous for the defenses of the French during its capture. It was the second fort to be captured during the Battle of Verdun and the soldiers would not surrender, despite running out of resources, and famously carrier pigeons. Visitors are able to undertake a tour through the fort.
10 Irish Peace Tower
The Irish Peace Tower is also known as the Island of Ireland Peace Park and is a memorial to both Catholic and Protestant soldiers of World War I.
Mary McAleese, President of Ireland, Queen Elizabeth II and King Albert II, King of Belgium opened the memorial back in 1998. The tower rises 100 meters and is located on the site where both Protestant and Catholic Irish soldiers fought together for the only time against a common enemy.
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