The Battle of Verdun was fought from 21st February to 18th December 1916 between French and German armies, on the hills north of Verdun-sur Meuse in Northeast France.

This battle was significant for a number of reasons:
  • Verdun was a citadel of immense national importance to France, it shared this symbolic importance with Metz and Toul. Its capture by the Germans would have been calamitous for French morale.
  • To capture Verdun would also have opened up an easy gateway to Paris for the Germans.
  • Verdun diverted many French divisions' attention from the Somme leaving the British support attacks to end up playing the principal role.
  • Victory at Verdun was a great morale boost for the French and a crippling blow to the Germans, it would have played a significant contribution to the overall defeat of Germany in WW1.
There was a documented estimate in 2,000 stating the casualties total for this battle to stand at 714,231; 377,231 French and 337,000 German. A staggering 70,000 per month of the battle. This was the longest and one of the most costly battles in human history. More recent estimates increase the number of casualties to 976,000.

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If you need Military Bands or Assistance with Honouring Veterans - Please contact your local Royal British Legion. If sadly this is for a Military Funeral or Honouring Veterans at their Funeral, the best contact points are here.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has the responsibility to ensure that 1.7 million people who died in the two world wars will never be forgotten. They care for cemeteries and memorials at 23,000 locations, in 153 countries. The CWGC values and aims, laid out in 1917, are as relevant now as they were over a 100 years ago....

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We have added a number of further pages and Picture Galleries to our website for you of The National Memorial Arboretum, the Ypres Salient, Flanders & The Menin Gate, Nord Pas de Calais, Somme, Vimy Ridge, Verdun and World War 1 Main Page and seven underpinning pages.

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The images below are:

Picture 1 {0491} - A memorial to the lost of Fleury-devant-Douaumont, This was once a thriving community which is now wiped out. No original buildings survive, only shell holes and occasional debris and rubble. During the Battle of Verdun in 1916 the village had been captured and recaptured 16 times. Since 1916 the population is officially 0.

Picture 2 {0506} - The Ossuary At Douaumont, it was built between 1922 and 1932. The building is 137 metres long and was inaugurated by President Lebrun in August 1932.

Picture 3 {0511} - The view from the Ossuary over the vast cemetery at Douaumont.

Picture 4 {0512} - This plaque marks the meeting of Helmut Kohl and Francois Mitterrand when they attended a memorial service to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the start of WW1. This happened on the 22nd September 1984. In 2000 an estimate of over 714,000 dead was applied to the Battle of Verdun. Recently estimates have risen to 976,000 casualties. The 300-day Battle of Verdun was the longest and one of the most costly in human history.

Picture 5 {0514} - The tower on the Ossuary at Douaumont. The tower is 46m high and contains a bronze death bell weighing two metric tons called Bourdon de la Victoire.

Picture 6 {0518} - The cemetery adjacent to the Ossuary at Douaumont is vast. There are 16,142 French soldiers laid here making it the biggest French WW1 cemetery in the world.

Picture 7 {0520} - Soldiers of the Islamic faith also lay in Douaumont cemetery; note how their headstones face to the East. The memorial in the background is evocative of a North African Mosque.

Picture 8 {0521} - The Ossuary at Douaumont is a memorial to French and German casualties of the battle of Verdun. In the small, lower windows of the building the skeletal remains of 130,000 French and German soldiers can be seen. The cloister is 137m long and contains 42 interior alcoves.

Picture 9 {0525} - Fort Douaumont on Hill 388 was the largest and the highest of 19 forts built in the latter part of the 19th century to protect the city of Verdun. By 1915 it was clear to the French that these forts would offer little resistance to the German 420mm Gamma guns (giant howitzers); these guns had already ripped through a number of Belgian forts in 1914. Douaumont was left little defended by the French and partly disarmed and as a result a small German raiding party easily took the Fort on 25th February 1916. Douaumont was finally recaptured by the French on 24th October 1916, thus ending the Battle of Verdun.

Picture 10 {0528} - On top of Fort Douaumont. Built in 1885 and covering a surface area of 30,000 square metres, the Fort was equipped with numerous armed posts including rotating and retractable 75mm and 155mm guns.

These images are kindly provided by Ian Humphreys, RBL, and are his Copyright. You may click on the thumb nail images for the original - these are high res images and may not be used for commercial purposes without full written consent from Mr Humphreys. Each image is 3264 x 2448 pixels or 3008 x 2000 pixels and are several MB in size...

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AREA17:  So that we may all remember those that served, those injured and those that fell for the peace and security of all...