Western Front News

Press release


26 October to 22 January 2018

Exhibition themed on the American entry into war in 1917 at the Château de Blérancourt Franco-American National Museum
More information : Château de Blérancourt – T : +33(0)3 23 39 14 72 http://en.museefrancoamericain.fr/

From 30 October until 11 November 2017

The Grateful Nation – Verdun (Meuse)
Journey of the Sacred Flame, from Paris to Verdun.
“Visions d’histoire” film festival, at Verdun cinema on 3, 4 & 5 November.
History book fair, Verdun, 11 & 12 November.

From December 2017 to August 2018

Exhibition "LA BEAUTE SAUVERA LE MONDE" Beauty will save the world at Verdun, Meuse Lorraine
This monumental photography exhibition delivers a strong message of humanity and optimism through the presentation of huge pictures of wonders of todays world.
The moving views lead the visitors from the Verdun Memorial Museum located on the WWI battlefield to the town center of Verdun like a symbolic itinerary to celebrate the end of the First World War, 100 years after. A cultural event based on the work of Thierry Suzan, famous reporter for GEO magazine, recognized for its high quality and in-depth investigated reports on the great aims on Planet Earth.
More information: www.meusetourism.com

25 March 2018

Trenches Trail Timed race. International event giving participants an opportunity to explore the battlefield of Verdun from a novel perspective.
Distances ranging from 15km to over 50km. Nordic walking also possible.
Contact : www.traildestranchees.com

16 April 2018

Ceremony to mark the 101st anniversary of the Battle of the Chemin des Dames Walks, special visits, ceremonies.
More information: www.14-18aisne.comwww.aisne14-18.com

22 to 29 May 2018

Ceremonies and commemorations at Château-Thierry and Soissons
More information: www.14-18aisne.comwww.aisne14-18.com

27 May 2018

Memorial day in the three American cemeteries of Belleau, Seringes-et-Nesles and Bony
More information: ABMC – T : +33 (0)3 23 70 70 90 – www.abmc.gov

Summer 2018

Opening of the American Interpretation Centre at the Hill 204 American Memorial, Château-Thierry
The visitor contact station will offer 2,000 square feet of exhibit space, using an array of interpretive exhibits and multimedia to put American World War I involvement in perspective.
The new visitor contact station is expected to open to the public in summer 2018.
More information : ABMC – T : +33 (0)3 23 70 70 90 – www.abmc.gov

In June and July 2018

“From Flames…to light”, Europe’s biggest Sound and Light show about the Great War, Verdun
A poignant tribute to the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who lost their lives fighting a tragic battle in Meuse. Featuring 250 actors, 900 costumes and 1,000 lights, it is a magnificent fresco set against the unique backdrop of Verdun. The show starts once it goes dark (the audience is advised to arrive for 10pm). New scenes in 2018 ! Option to dine in a marquee; by prior reservation only.
Information : https://spectacle-verdun.com/

1 June to 31 August 2018

Exhibition themed on American WW1 posters (co-organised by the San Antonio Library) at the Château de Blérancourt Franco-American National Museum
More information : Château de Blérancourt – T : +33(0)3 23 39 14 72 http://en.museefrancoamericain.fr/

14 July weekend 2018

Major international ceremony at “Phantoms of Landowski”, Butte Chalmont, commemorating the victory of the 2nd Battle of the Marne. Senior officials will be attending.
More information: www.14-18aisne.comwww.aisne14-18.com

22 to 28 July 2018

Ceremony with the American National Guard and numerous officers, commemoration of the Rainbow Division (42nd Division) plus commemorative walk and other events at Fère-en-Tardenois
More information : www.14-18aisne.comwww.aisne14-18.com

September-October 2018

Evocation of the American Offensive at the Saint-Mihiel Salient then in the Argonne by the association that organizes the sound & light show “From Flames…to Light”
Exhibition “Saint-Mihiel 1914-1918, from the occupation to liberation” at the Benedictine abbaye in Saint-Mihiel
More information : www.meusetourism.com

22-23 September 2018

Participative ceremony at the Meuse-Argonne cemetery, Romagne-sous-Montfaucon
As night falls, over 14,000 candles will be lit at the Meuse-Argonne cemetery at Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, in remembrance of all American soldiers. Volunteers take up positions at various crosses, each next to a specific grave, whose history they will share with any visitors who stop to look. Youngsters of all ages are encouraged to learn about the stories behind each of these 14,246 marble crosses.
This event will honour the promise made by General Pershing: “Time will not dim the glory of their deeds”.
More information: Nécropole de Romagne-sous-Montfaucon - +33 (0)3 29 85 14 18 - meuse-argonne@abmc.gov

17 September to 11 November 2018

Exhibition themed on the photographs of the American Committee for Devastated France at the Château de Blérancourt Franco-American National Museum
More information : Château de Blérancourt – T : +33(0)3 23 39 14 72 http://en.museefrancoamericain.fr/

5 to 11 November 2018

Sporting events and ceremonies themed on the “Route to the Armistice” at the Pierre d’Haudroy Monument
More information: www.14-18aisne.comwww.aisne14-18.com

11 November 2018

Festivities and official ceremony to celebrate the centennial of the Armistice at Verdun, Bar-le-Duc and along the Sacred Way.

Other major upcoming events: 2018

21 April 2018, 3pm

ANZAC Day Ceremony at the Caterpillar Valley Cemetery in Longueval

25 April 2018

Commemoration of ANZAC Day – Centenary of the Battle of Villers-Bretonneux
Australians and New Zealanders commemorate ANZAC Day each year on 25th April with ceremonies that are held throughout the two countries. Across the former battlefields, services are also held in remembrance of the soldiers who fought and died here during the Great War.
Attendance passes required.

1st July 2018

102st anniversary of the Battle of the Somme

4 July 2018

Centenary of the Battle of Hamel
The village of Le Hamel was the theatre of the first successful example of a combined arms attacks in a battle planned and directed by Sir John Monash, the new commander of the Australian Corps. This 93 minute battle was used as a blue print for later battles of 1918. In 1998 a memorial park commemorating the Australian Corps was unveiled on the ridge that was the objective of the battle.
Attendance passes required.

7 and 8 July 2018

Amiens : 1914-1918 United Pipers for Peace
20 pipe bands and bagadoù will gather in Amiens to pay tribute to the soldiers and pipers who took part in the Battle of the Somme and the Great War.

8 July 2018

Commemoration of the Battle of Delville Wood at Longueval

20, 21, 22 and 27, 28, 29 July 2018

Son et Lumière « Dans l’Ombre et la Lumière » (In the Shadow and Light) at Pozières

11 November 2018

Centenary of the First World War Armistice
On the one hundredth anniversary of the signing of the Armistice, the Australian Government is holding a ceremony at the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux at 11am.
Attendance passes required.

###(Re)openings: 2017 and 2018


Vimy Visitor Education Centre
In 2017, Canada celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, a seminal event in Canada’s history. The crowning achievement of the Centennial celebrations was the unveiling of state-of-the-art Vimy Visitor Education Centre ($5 million was committed by the Government of Canada in 2013) near the Canadian National Vimy Memorial in France – a project from Veterans Affairs Canada in partnership with the Vimy Foundation.
While the Vimy monument itself is of course stunningly beautiful, currently visitors are given little context at the existing information booth as to why Canadians fought and died there; why Vimy remains special to the Canadian soul; and how Vimy, and other First World War battles at which Canadians fought, forever altered Canada’s status on the world stage. The Vimy Visitor Education Centre answers these questions.
Visitor Education Centre at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial (Conceptual image courtesy of Robertson Martin Architect and Bisson+Castonguay)

August 2017

Opening of the Franco-German Historial of the Great War at Hartmannswillerkopf – Wattwiller
The Franco-German Historial of the Great War on the site of the Hartmannswillerkopf reunites, exhibits and reflects on the his¬tory of the largest site of the war in the mountains that unfolded from 1914-1918 in France. Throughout the various exhibition spaces (the Reichland, the Vosges Front, Hartmannswillerkopf 14-18, the organization of the French and German battlefield, the daily lives of the French and German combatants and of the civi¬lian population, the Hartmannswillerkopf after 1918, visitors find the latest digital and audio-visual technology employed to recall the specific history of this key battleground, which nowa¬days is a land of reconciliation and remembrance for peace in Europe.
Hartmannswillerkopf Credit photo: Elise THIELE

25 June 2017

Reopening of the National French and American Museum at Château of Blérancourt – Blérancourt
Unique in France, this national museum devoted to transatlantic relations was founded by Anne Morgan, daughter of the American banker JP Morgan, founder in 1917 of a humanitarian organization for the reconstruction of the north of France.
More information: + 33 (0)3 23 39 14 72 - http://museefrancoamericain.fr/

November 2017

Inauguration of the Historical centre of the Battle of Cambrai
100th anniversary of the Battle of Cambrai
Overlooking the battlefield, the historical centre will focus on the tank Deborah (now a historical monument) uncovered in 1998 at a depth of 2,5 meters in a field. It will tell the story of the tank, its 5 members crew burried in the nearby Flesquières Hill cemetery and of the battle of Cambrai.
Contact : cambrai office. Delphine Jouvenez (d.jouvenez@tourisme-cambresis.fr)

November 2017

Opening of Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery Visitor Center
This new interpretive center will explain to the visitors the role of the Americans and the critical importance of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive as it fits into the Great War with 3 main interpretive rooms. The entrance room in the original design from the 1920s. Some of the items in the space will include a fireplace, armchairs, and a library area - replicating the historic look and feel. The original design of this room intentionally mimicked the look of a parlor in the attempt to create a welcoming space for grieving mothers, widows, and families. A campaign and a commemorative galleries, that will include exhibits that show how a relatively inexperienced American Army fought and experienced new warfare technologies that had never before been unleashed on human beings.

November 2017

Souilly Museum - Headquarters of the 2nd Army (Meuse)
The historic town hall of Souilly has been hosting a permanent exhibition covering an area of 160m². The visitors will be able to learn about and understand the role played by the Headquarters of the 2nd Army in Souilly during the Great War, through films from the era and various displays. The exhibition illustrates the sheer complexity and the extraordinary coordination developed by the operational headquarters staff. Located at the heart of the Sacred Way, this pleasant village home to fewer than 600 people became the nerve centre of the Battle of Verdun, transforming itself into the "centre of the world", hosting the French army elite as well as foreign Heads of State. Souilly quickly took on the appearance and the role of a military base. Almost 10,000 people from all backgrounds were thrown together in conditions that were sometimes extremely squalid.
www.meusetourism.com Information: + 33 (0) 3 23 39 14 71

March 2018

Reopening of the Armistice Clearing
“On 11 November 1918, at 5:15 in the morning, the armistice was signed.” 100 years later, the Armistice Clearing memorial site prepares for the centennial commemorations. A 500-m² extension, a newly designed and spacious scenography, and a new exhibition focusing on 10 key phases: from the WWI mobilization to the Second World War, via the interwar period. The museum’s famous Armistice Wagon will also benefit from a brand-new showcasing, immersing visitors alternately in the early morning hours and in the evening at dusk.

Crédit : Mémorial de l’Armistice/Scénographie Malice Images

April 2018

Sir John Monash Centre – Villers-Bretonneux
The Sir John Monash Centre will open in April 2018 to tell the story of Australian soldiers in France and Belgium during the First World War. More than 295,000 Australians served on the Western Front between 1916 and 1918. 132,000 of them were wounded, 46,000 lost their lives. A key element of the Australian Remembrance Trail is the centre named after General Sir John Monash, commander of the Australian Corps from May 1918. His first battle as commander of the Australian Corps was at Le Hamel; this famous victory became a blue print for future Allied military operations. Visitors will be captivated by the Centre’s innovative and immersive displays using cutting edge technology. Providing an educational experience in English, French and German, the interactive layout is enriched by historic artefacts that have special meaning to Australians. The Centre will enable visitors to better understand the role played by Australia on the Western Front as well as the impact of war and the heavy losses that were suffered by this young nation.
The galleries of the Centre will include an immersive gallery, exhibition areas, a multi-purpose space, a café/bookshop and a mezzanine level for meeting rooms and offices, constructed over three levels with a total surface area of 1,600 m². The site anticipates 100,000 visitors, who will receive a multimedia experience as they wander through the various interactive areas designed for younger generations and be able to spend time reflecting in the courtyard and on the paths leading through the surrounding grass meadow.
Designed by Cox Architecture (Sydney) and JLA (Paris) in a monumental style, the interpretation centre will be partly sunken into the ground to remind visitors of the trenches of the Great War. It will also be covered by a turf roof. To leave a lasting impression on visitors, the building will be constructed from white concrete timber, the wall panels will be made with wood from the eight regions (six states and two territories) of Australia, and solid bronze will be used for the interior metalwork and the roof cornice. The courtyard, an imposing monumental staircase, and several of the walls will be clad in high-quality granite and marble. www.sjmc.gov.au

April 2018

Thuillier Farmhouse Vignacourt – WW1 Interpretation Centre
Vignacourt was located behind Allied lines during the war, and was used by the French and Allied armies. Louis and Antoinette Thuillier, keen photographers who lived in the village, began taking portrait photographs of soldiers and civilians passing through Vignacourt, creating a collection of 4000 photographic plates between 1915 and 1920. In 2011, Australian Channel Seven came to film a documentary in the village and the 4000 photographs were bought by Kerry Stokes, chairman of the TV channel. The photographic plates were taken back to Australia. Realising the exceptional nature and historical value of these photographs, the French and Australian authorities now wish to display the collection in the Thuillier’s old farmhouse, the very place where the men had posed for their photographs. A new interpretation centre will thus open in April 2018 and will be included in the Australian Remembrance Trail. www.somme-battlefields.com

Summer 2018
Opening of the Interpretation Centre on American investment during the Great War at the Cote 204 French and American monument in Château-Thierry


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