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The 1st Battle of the Marne: When the British Army saved Paris,
France and Europe.

“I beg you in the name of France to intervene in this battle into which I have thrown my last man.”
General Joffre, to Field Marshal Sir John French, Commander of the BEF, 5 September 1914.

When Britons think of the Great War of 1914-1918 we tend to think of the Somme and Flanders, mud, barbed wire and trenches. But it wasn't all like that. The retreat from Mons is an iconic chapter in the history of the British Army. A march of over 200 miles in ten days, fighting two battles and many small actions, on no more than three hours of rest a day, with little to eat. The story of the British Army at the Battle of the Marne is what happened next to these tired, hungry men. It is the story of the part the British Expeditionary Force |(BEF) played in turning the Germans back from Paris in 1914.

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French Infantry 1914

Sample Itinerary

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Royal Scots Greys 1914

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La Ferte -Sous-Jouarre Memorial

  • Visit the Great War Museum (Le Musee de la Grande Guerre) Meaux and understand why and how the war was fought, and what it was like. 
  • Hear about the tragedy of the French army in 1914; its disastrous war plans and obsolete clothing, mitigated by the stunning bravery of its soldiers.
  • Learn about the heroic attacks from Paris, and see the places where they stopped the German army, and the places where they are buried.
  • Find out about Britain's professional army as they pass through Meaux at the end of the retreat from Mons. 
  • Follow in the footsteps of the BEF as they drive the Germans back.
  • Hear the story of the real war horses such as “Girlie” and “Crasher” and the part
  • played by David Campbell who rode “Soarer” to win the 1896 Grand National, 
  • Listen to the stories of the “Old Contemptibles”, told in their own words, at the places where the events took place.
  • Visit the Commonwealth War cemeteries and the memorial to the Missing at La Ferte-sous-Jouarre, and compare them to how French and German dead are treated.

One day excursion starting from Paris with a stop for a packed lunch or snack meal.