World War I Sites, Museums & Memorials

World War I was a global conflict that took place between 1914 and 1918, involving major powers from Europe, Asia, and North America. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary sparked a diplomatic crisis that quickly escalated into a full-scale war with millions of casualties. The war was fought on two main fronts, the Western Front in France and the Eastern Front in Russia. World War I was a turning point in world history, leading to the collapse of empires, the rise of new nations and the adoption of new technologies and tactics that would shape the course of warfare in the 20th century.

In Flanders Fields Museum

Named after John McCrae’s famous war poem, the In Flanders Fields Museum focuses its attention on the devastation wrought by the First World War. Particular emphasis is placed on the war’s impact in Belgium, where over 600,000 people were killed during the conflict. Located in the historic cloth hall in Ypres, the museum outlines how the city was devastated by artillery bombardment and chemical warfare. Ypres itself was a place of enormous significance as it hosted five separate battles and was one of the locations for the Christmas Truce of 1914.

Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme

Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme has been described as “the greatest executed British work of monumental architecture of the twentieth century”. Construction began in 1928. Four years and 10 million bricks later it was completed at the cost of £117,000, which is the equivalent today of around £10 million. The result is not just a memorial to all those that fought and died on the Somme, but one that acknowledges the British and French alliance during the battle, and perhaps most importantly, it commemorates over 72,000 British and South African soldiers that have no known grave.