The Official History Of The War; Military Operations; France & Belgium 1918.

The Imperial War Museum, London Department Of Printed Books.

ISBN: 1-870423-94-1

A thorough account of the Battles Of The Lys, with detailed unit-level accounts. Useful analysis of the German perspective. Compulsory reading if you need to understand the detail. Modern copies do not contain the detailed situation maps referred to in the text. However, copies of these maps can be seen & photographed at the Public Records Office, Kew.

The Australian Official History Of The First World War.

Chapter XIII. The Battle Of The Lys-(1) April 9th-13th.

Usefully available free on line. Although focussing on the Australian’s perspective, the whole of the battle is covered. Makes good use of personal accounts and recollections, so very interesting reading from the “human interest” angle.

A Record Of The Battles & Engagements Of The British Armies In France & Flanders, 1914-1918.

Captain E.A.James.

The Naval & Military Press Ltd.

The definitive British record of which units took part in which actions. First published in 1924, it is based on the “Report Of The Battles Nomenclature Committee”, of May 1921.

The German 1918 Offensive. A case study in the operational level of war.

David T.Zabecki

Routledge Publishers, 2006.

ISBN10: 0-415-35600-8

A superb recent study of the German offensives based on authoritative, insightful analysis of copies of original German Army records which were taken by a team of American army historians between the wars. As most of the German records were destroyed by the RAF during WW2, the American inter-war copies represent a historically significant primary resource. This work explains in detail why the Germans failed to translate tactical success into operational victory. A “must have” book if you are interested in understanding the German perspective of the 1918 offensives.

The First World War (3). The Western Front 1917-1918.

Peter Simkins.

Osprey Publishing, 2002.

ISBN 1 84176 348 9.

At under 100 pages, the best summary and overview of the 1918 Spring Offensives and surrounding historical context. Extremely well written, illustrated and easy to follow. If you’re new to the subject, well worth reading this book first as an overview before you attempt the more academic studies.

The Royal Fusiliers In The Great War.

H.C.O’Neil, OBE.

The Naval & Military Press Ltd.

The Regimental History of the Royal Fusiliers during the Great War. Provides a bit of history on the involvement of each of the 50-odd battalions of the regiment. Tackles the subject by battle in chronological order, rather than by battalion. So if you are interested in a specific battalion the story jumps about a bit.

The History Of The 29th Division.

Captain Stair Gillon, 1925.

The Naval & Military Press Ltd.

Essential reading if you are interested in any of the units that made-up the 29thDivision. Contains a highly readable account of events on the Lys, making good use of personal accounts and histories.

Histories Of 251 Divisions Of The German Army.

The London Stamp Exchange Ltd, 1989.

ISBN 0 948130 87 3.

Provides a history of many of the German units that fought in the 1918 Spring Offensive. All the regiments of XIX Corps, 6th Army are here; this is the Corps which launched the main assaults against the British 29th and 31st Divisions.

VCs Of The First World War. Spring Offensive 1918.

Gerald Gliddon.

Sutton Publishing Ltd.

ISBN 0 7509 1107 7.

Thoroughly captivating telling of the stories behind the two VCs won during The Battle Of Hazebrouck; Captain Pryce of the 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards and Lt.Colonel Forbes-Robertson of the 1st Battalion, Border Regiment.

Reminiscences Of Sport & War.

General Sir Beauvior de Lisle.

Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1939.

The biography of a long-serving officer in charge of the 29th Division. Focuses on his early career in the Indian army, but offers a great insight into the makeup and character of one of the key personalities of the 29th. Out of print now, but the odd copy appears now and then on the internet.

Hazebrouck – The Forgotten Battle.

Geoffrey Blades.

Imperial War Museum Library.

Catalogue number 93/836K. Search it from:

The definitive account and history of the actions of the 4thGuards Brigade during the Battle Of Hazebrouck. The Guards Brigade played arguably the key role in the battle and no other Guards Brigade account comes close to matching this for sheer detail and insightful analysis; a master piece of original research and a marvellous read.

NB: This piece forms a part of a publication much wider in scope; Geoffrey Blades M.Phil thesis entitled “The Battles Of The Lys – The British Army On The Defensive in April 1918”. Geoffrey’s family have very kindly allowed the publication of both his thesis and also “The Forgotten Battle” through this web site.

The Imperial War Museum Trench Map Archive On CR-Rom.

The Naval & Military Press Ltd.

E-copies of all the key 10,000:1 scale trench maps of the Western Front. Contains a copy of 36ANE2, which is the ground covered by the 29thDivision during the Battle Of Hazebrouck. Version 2.0 of the software works fine with pre-Vista versions of Windows. This version is available at low cost second hand on the internet, as it has been replaced by an up rated version for use with Windows Vista and above. A better buy (although more expensive) is the excellent Linesman trench mapping system. Linesman contains more functionality than the IWM product, and is operating system independent. IE: Will carry on working as Windows (inevitably) upgrades in the future.

The Accrington Pals. Battle Of The Lys(Hazebrouck), 11th-13th April 1918.

Andrew Jackson.

Site explaining the role and movements of the 31stDivision during the Battle Of Hazebrouck. A classic example of how best to lay-out and explain a complex story. This is the site that started it all for me.

4thTerritorial Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers. 1914-1918. Battle Of The Lys.

Site containing an excellent on-line summarised account of the role of 149th Brigade, 50thDivision during the Battle Of The Lys.

The Irish Guards In The Great War. Volume II; The Second Battalion.

Rudyard Kipling, 1923.

A masterfully-told account of the part played by the 2nd Battalion Irish Guards, 4thGuards Brigade, in the Battle Of Hazebrouck.

PRO Documents On Line.

WO95/2301_95 to 129. 2nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers War Diary.

WO95/2304_7_323 to 326. Ist Battalion Border Regiment. April 1918.

WO95/2304_26_267 to 269. 1st Battalion KOSB. April 1918.

WO95/2304_7_194 to 199.2nd Battalion SWB. April 1918.

WO95/2357_517 to 520 .10th to 13th Battalions East Yorks Regiments.

WO95/2361_403. 18th Battalion Durham Light Infantry.

WO95/2361_404 to 406. 15/17th Battalion West Yorks Regiment.

PRO Docs Off-Line.

WO95/1225. 4th Guards Brigade HQ.

WO95/1226. 3rdBattalion Coldstream Guards, 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards & 2nd Battalion Irish Guards.

WO95/2353. 12/KOYLI.

WO95/2303. 87th Brigade HQ.

WO95/2296. 87th, 88th & 89th Field Ambulance between April 16th and September 19th 1918.

These are the field ambulance units supporting 86th, 87th and 88th Brigades respectively.

WO95/2298. 86th Brigade HQ. March 1916 to December 1917.

WO95/2299. 86th Brigade HQ. January 1917 to October 1919.

WO95/2303. 87th Brigade HQ.

WO95/2282. 29th Division HQ. May 1917 – August 1917.

WO95/2283. 29th Division HQ. September 1917 – December 1917.

WO95/2284. 29th Division HQ. January 1918 – June 1918.

WO95/2299. 1St Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers. March 1916-February 1919.

WO95/2302. 1stBattalion Royal Gurnsey Light Infantry. September 1917-April 1918.

WO95/2360. 31st Division 93rd Infantry Brigade HQ.

WO95/2356. 31st Division 92nd Infantry Brigade HQ.

WO95/2343. 31st Division HQ.

WO95/2358. 1/11th Battalion East Lancashire Regiment.

WO153/69. Battle Of The Lys – Situation Maps.

These are the detailed maps missing from the modern reprint of the British Official History.

WO153/302. Lys – German Order Of Battle – Maps.

These maps show the composition of known German units during the Battle Of The Lys.

IWM Photography Collection Online.

Photos obtainable from the IWM web site;

The individual IWM picture reference numbers to use when ordering are shown beneath the pictures as used in the main website text. For example,


McLellan D (2nd Lieutenant)

Gun crew of a Royal Field Artillery 18-pounder battery prepare to open fire near Meteren during the fighting for Hazebrouch, 13 April 1918.

Gun crew of a Royal Field Artillery 18-pounder battery prepare to open fire near Meteren during the fighting for Hazebrouch, 13 April 1918.

(Photograph: Acton Cross towards Merris. October 2006.)

Pembroke County War Memorial Project.

An unofficial website recording the details of all the men and women of Pembrokeshire and Camarthen who died in the wars of the 20th century. Steven John (the owner) is probably the UK’s most authoratitive expert in this area; extremely knowledgeable and always happy to help. The majority of the photos on the “memorials” page are his.