The Loyal North Lancashire Memorial, a focus for Centenary remembrance on the Aisne battlefield (Photo: © Paul Kendall)

Battle of the Aisne Centenary to be marked with special commemorations on September 13/14th 2014

Date of Event: 13 September 2014
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Thousands of soldiers killed at the Battle of the Aisne, where the first trenches were dug in 1914, are to be remembered at a special Centenary event in France.

The commemorations, planned by the Aisne Département, take place on September 14th 2014 on the former Chemin des Dames battlefield, near Laon.

On this day 100 years ago, the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) lost 2,000 men while attacking German positions uphill in the opening weeks of fighting in the First World War.

The German Army was falling back after the Battle of the Marne, when it halted on a ridge overlooking the River Aisne to face the pursuing British and French.  

All sides dug in, marking the start of trench warfare on the Western Front.

Remember Aisne 1914 is a joint project involving the British and French Governments, as well as the Aisne Département.

Tributes will be paid to all soldiers killed in the war, regardless of nationality. A German delegation will be present.

The route of the BEF's attack in 1914 will be retraced on September 14th with a walk from Vendresse British Cemetery to the village of Cerny-en-Laonnais.

Wreaths will be laid at the Monument of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, and at the French and German cemeteries. There were will also be remembrance service at the Chemin des Dames Memorial Chapel in Cerny.

The Aisne was to be the scene of more fierce fighting during  the First World War. French losses in the so-called Nivelle Offensive of 1917 resulted in widespread mutinies.

Full details of Remember Aisne 1914 can be found here.

Events also include a two-day Rugby Union tournament and memorial service, starting on September 13th, paying tribute to British and French players killed in the First World War. Some fell on the Chemin des Dames.

Tommies on the Aisne, an exhibition marking the role of British troops on the Aisne, runs at the Caverne du Dragon Museum, on the Chemin des Dames near Cerny, until December 2014. More information is available here.

Source: Conseil Général de L'Aisne/Aisne Tourisme

Images courtesy of Paul Kendall

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News



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