After the First World War, how many thousands of British families would have proud or bitter reason to remember the name St Quentin? At least eight Divisions, 23 Brigades, 74 Battalions an enormous number of fighting men, a weight of experience, courage, defeat and victory, all to be traced through these fields and villages round the city. There is much to honour here: exhausted British troops marching south in the Retreat from Mons in August 1914, resistance attacks on the Hindenburg Line in 1917, desperate feats of arms in the final German onslaught in the Spring of 1918. Many impressive individual and collective achievements, captured guns, Victoria Crosses richly earned. The ancient city itself suffered too – bombardment by French and British artillery, its citizens subjected and exploited by the occupying German forces, then evacuated ahead of the withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line – before its final liberation in October 1918. The book gives details of positions, redoubts, attacks, lines of advance and retreat, with many illustrations provided from local sources. Most of the positions described can still be traced and the sites of some epic events located.
SAINT QUENTIN Hindenburg Line
St. Quentin was somewhat different from the other “battlefields”, in that a major battle was not fought around it. It was however prominent in the early actions of 1914, again briefly in 1917, and again in the actions of 1918, in between it was occupied by the Germans. The format follows the usual “Battleground” formula.