Rendez-vous in the city of Soissons
Soissons was one of the towns most seriously affected by the First World War. First it was captured by the German army in late August 1914 before being recaptured by the French in September, after the Battle of the Marne.
The front line was established north of the town which was heavily bombarded right up to 1917. During the 1917 mutinies, French soldiers marched through, refusing to go up to the front after the disastrous offensive on the Chemin des Dames.
Soissons was captured again in the spring of 1918 during a German offensive, before being finally liberated that summer.
A statue representing French soldiers killed in combat in 1917 can be seen behind the church of Saint Pierre, next to the Soissons law courts.
A memorial honouring British soldiers stands in the centre of Soissons. It is the work of the sculptors, Herbert Hart and Eric Henry Kennington, and the architects, Gordon H. Holt and Verner O. Rees. “Here are recorded the names of 3,987 officers and men of those divisions to whom the fortune of war denied the known and honoured burial given to their comrades in death”. Their names are carved on the ‘inner’ walls of the memorial, regiment by regiment.