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Welcome to the Histories section of our website.


Histories is the result of a collaboration between the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Imperial War Museum. Its aim - to give you an insight into the major campaigns, battles and events of the two world wars.

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The Battle of the Somme, 1916

The Battle of the Somme, and especially its calamitous opening day, has come to be regarded by many as symbolic of the wastefulness and tragedy of British First World combat experience.

Conceived in part as an attempt to distract German attention from the French at Verdun, the British effort on the Somme resulted in losses in manpower on a scale unimaginable in 1914.

The Ypres Salient

"I should like to acquire the whole of the ruins of Ypres... a more sacred place for the British race does not exist in the world" - Winston Churchill, January 1919

In four years of concentrated warfare more than 200,000 British and Commonwealth troops lost their lives in the dogged defence of one cramped corner of the Western Front: the Ypres Salient.

Western Front 1918: The German Offensives 

With the collapse of Russia, thousands of German troops flood back from the east to swell the ranks on the Western Front. Can Germany now deal the decisive blow to finish the war before the Americans join the fight on the Allied side?

Western Front 1918: The Advance to Victory

Despite epic efforts in the spring and early summer, the German Army has failed to break the Western Front. Growing in strength, manpower and confidence, the initiative now passes to the Allies. Their goal: Victory before winter. Will 1918 be the last year of the War?

North African Campaign, 1940-1943

For three years Allied and Axis forces surged back and forth across the hostile desert battlefields of North Africa. Who would win this campaign of manoeuvre and movement to become masters of the North African shore?