Prince William has travelled to northern France to mark the centenary of the Battle of Amiens – also known as the beginning of the end of World War One.
Joined by British prime minister Theresa May, the Duke of Cambridge paid tribute at a service at Amiens Cathedral, where he spoke to family and descendants of soldiers who fought in the battle. Australian soldiers were part of the Allied forces during the war and Prince William said he was delighted to mark the important centenary. The Allied forces, made up of British, Australian, Canadian, French and US soldiers, advanced over seven miles on the first day on August 8 in 1918.
“From the very start of the First World War, Amiens found itself at the heart of the conflict. For most of the war, it was just behind the Allied front lines, and military personnel soon became a familiar sight on its streets, around its shops, cafés and hotels. For thousands of servicemen, it became a home away from home,” Prince William said in the Cathedral of Amiens.
Today marks the 100th Anniversary of the start of the Battle of Amiens – a battle that heralded the Hundred Days Offensive & started the path to the Armistice.
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) August 8, 2018
He described Amiens as a city of connections, noting that its railway line linked Paris to the north of France. It was here where the armies of France and the British Empire came together and connected as Allies. Prince William explained that shelling and bombing destroyed many of the buildings in the area but that the great cathedral was spared significant damage.
“In the summer of 1918, this was the springboard for the Allies’ offensive which would eventually lead to victory on the Western Front,” he continued. “After French, American and British forces had turned the tide against the Germans in the Second Battle of the Marne, the scene was set for a truly co-ordinated Allied effort to strike back.
Remembering those that fought in the Battle of Amiens 100 years ago — The Duke of Cambridge lays flowers in the Chapel of Allies alongside representatives from ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????? as a reaffirmation of friendship between the Allies, Germany and the city of Amiens #Amiens100
“What began here on 8 August was truly a coalition operation under the strategic command of a great Frenchman, Marshal Foch; a battle in which the forces of many nations came together to fight; in which aerial, mechanical and human courage and ingenuity combined with devastating results.”
He said that on the anniversary, the international coalition returned to Amiens with the former enemy in peace and partnership. The Duke also noted that it was fitting that everyone met at the cathedral, which has profound connection to all the people that served.
“Today we return to learn more about the experience of those involved during the historic summer of 1918, to honour the fallen of all nations, to commemorate all those who participated in this great endeavour, and to celebrate the bonds of friendship which unite our nations,” he concluded.
Today marks the centenary of the Battle of Amiens, which was a decisive victory for the allied powers during the First World War. At an event at Amiens Cathedral later the Armed Forces will lead the whole country in remembering the sacrifices made 100 years ago. #Amiens100 pic.twitter.com/9oo4zvduqQ
— Ministry of Defence ???????? (@DefenceHQ) August 8, 2018
Prince William laid flowers in the chapel alongside representatives from the partner countries. More than 2,000 guests attended the ceremony which also saw readings of poems, letters and personal accounts of people who fought in the war.