The march to the Marne: 1914 Revisited

This year is the centenary of the outbreak of World War One in 1914.

You have probably heard about it through programmes on TV. A host of special events are planned for this year. If you want a different angle on the beginning of the struggle on the Western Front read on. There are one or two things in it which might surprise you.

  • 12 Marching French & peasant girl - CopyThe war was not only fought in the trenches. Between 23rd August and 5th September over a million soldiers marched twenty miles a day in temperatures over 30 degrees, often without food and sleep. They carried packs of 60 lbs and marching in hobnail boots on cobbled roads gave them terrible blisters. After some murderous small engagements they fought a great battle- The Battle of the Marne
  • At this early stage of the war the main fighting was between the French and German Armies. The British played an important supporting role alongside the French. In two months the French sustained 487,000 casualties and the British around 15,000.

Walking-the-Retreat-coverI wanted to find out for myself what it was like to do this march to the Marne.

I have always been particularly fascinated by French history. This web site describes a walk I did in August 2013 to mark the beginning of the First World War. On each of the pages you will find a description of the walk with maps and photographs, a list of the walking maps I used, the distances covered each day and details of accommodation.

You can also find details of my new book Walking the Retreat, the March to the Marne: 1914 revisited (Signal Books, 2014) £12.99 in UK. (Note: the Walk Pages contain sections of text in grey boxes. These are direct quotations from my book.)

You can buy the book now from this web site via PayPal by (1) selecting the appropriate delivery address option by clicking on the small arrow below – £12.99 for UK addresses, £15.50 for other European addresses and £17.50 for the Rest of the World, and (2) clicking on the BUY NOW button. Once PayPal has notified me of your payment I will post your book to your delivery address.

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About the author

terry-cudbirdwalking-the-hexagon-coverMy name is Terry Cudbird and I am one of those guys who are happiest walking long distances with a rucksack. I have also loved visiting France since I was a student.

A few years ago I completed a 6,000 kilometre walk around the circumference of France – see my web site

I also wrote a book about my experiences Walking the Hexagon: an escape around France on foot (Signal Books, 2012).