Descendants invited to Battle of Amiens centenary commemoration

Descendants of those who fought at the Battle of Amiens are invited to apply for tickets to commemorate the centenary of the battle that saw one of the greatest advances of the First World War.

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600 tickets are available for an event on Wednesday, August 8, at Amiens Cathedral in France, held in partnership with the Australian, Canadian, French and US Governments.

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “The Battle of Amiens marked a turning point in the First World War and this anniversary gives us a chance to reflect on how the war in Europe moved from entrenched conflict to the signing of the Armistice in 1918.

“We have a duty to tell the stories of those who lived and fought in the First World War and to keep their memories alive. I encourage all those with a connection to the Battle of Amiens or the war on the Western Front during the summer of 1918 to apply for tickets to the commemorations this summer.”

Visit by German General Erich Ludendorff as the black day of the German Army, Amiens started August 8, 1918, and lasted three days. It marked the beginning of the Hundred Days offensive that eventually won the war. The Allied forces, made up of British, Australian, Canadian, French and US soldiers, advanced more than seven miles on the first day of the battle, one of the greatest advances of the war.

Less known than the Battle of Passchendaele or the Battle of the Somme, Amiens marked a distinct change compared to the huge loss of life and devastation of previous battles. This is reflected in the stories of Allied troops who were there.

Historian and broadcaster Dan Snow said: “Amiens might not be the most famous battle of the First World War, but it might be the most important. In the summer of 1918 at Amiens British, French, Commonwealth and American troops decisively defeated the mighty German Army by using a combination of new tactics and weapons that finally broke the stalemate of the trenches.

“This was the beginning of the end of the First World War and it the beginning of modern warfare. It is one of the most remarkable battles in British history, on the centenary we have a unique chance to commemorate it and place it where it belongs, at the heart of our national story.”