Memorial to resistance members executed in Lille during the First World War

100 Years Ago Today: Lille occupied

Posted on on 13 October 2014
Share |

The French city of Lille fell to the German Army on October 13th 1914 after coming under attack in the fighting known as the 'Race to the Sea."

The industrial centre of Northern France had been declared an open city at the start of the First World War in August. Lille's 19th century fortifications were thought to be incapable of withstanding heavy artillery fire.

But the city was lightly garrisoned during the 'Race to the Sea,' the series of battles which saw the opposing armies try to exploit the remaining open ground on the increasingly deadlocked Western Front.

Lille surrendered after several days of heavy bombardment, which caused extensive damage to the city centre.

It marked the start of four years of German occupation, ending with liberation by British troops on October 17th 1918.

Today, there are visible reminders of the war in several large monuments in the centre of Lille.

To discover more about the history of Lille during the First World War, visit the website of Archives départmentales du Nord

Images: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News