The Portuguese Cemetery at Richebourg, among the sites featured on the 'Histoires 14-18' app (Photo: Centenary News)

French Western Front app explores Bethune & the Artois battles

Posted on on 12 November 2015
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A new app explores First World War sites at the centre of events in the Béthune area of Northern France 100 years ago.

The centenaries of two battles fought near Béthune in 1915, Neuve Chapelle and Loos, have been marked with international ceremonies this year.

Seven audio tracks in both English and French tell the stories of local Great War landmarks, some well known, others less so. Each is lavishly illustrated with period photographs and pictures of the sites as they look today.

The app is part of Histoires 14-18, a wider interactive guide to France and the Western Front, also exploring Verdun, the Champagne Front, Australia's role on the Somme, and the Armistice. 

The Béthune section, launched by Béthune-Bruay tourist office, features:

*The Grand' Place in Bethune, the hub of a base for British & Commonwealth soldiers during 1914-18. The author Robert Graves mentions the Cafe du Globe in his autobiography 'Goodbye to All That.'

*Bruay-La-Buissière stadium and gardens, once the site of a pioneering airfield used during the First World War.

(Photo: Centenary News)

*Neuve Chapelle Indian Memorial in Richebourg (above), remembering more than 4,800 soldiers of Britain's colonial Indian Army who fell in France and Flanders.

*The Portuguese Cemetery, also in Richebourg. Portugal entered the First World War on the Allied side in 1916, fighting under British command in the Béthune area. Almost 2,000 Portuguese soldiers are buried here.

*The Chateau of Rebreuve-Ranchicourt, a British Army headquarters in the run-up to the Battle of Vimy.

*St Mary's A.D.S. Cemetery in Haisnes, where almost 2,000 British dead from the Battle of Loos are buried.

*The Tunnellers' Memorial at Givenchy-les-La Bassée, remembering the soldiers who fought underground.

'Histoires 14-18/WW1 Stories on the Western Front' is free and available for mobiles/cellphones and tablet devices. More details here.

Also in Centenary News: The Commonwealth War Graves Commission launches Battle of Loos remembrance trail.

Source: Béthune-Bruay tourist office

Images: Centenary News

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News