Armentieres, 1914

The Battle of Armentières was fought by German and Franco-British forces in northern France in October 1914, during reciprocal attempts by the armies to envelop the northern flank of their opponent, which has been called the Race to the Sea.

The Honour was awarded to the 3rd Hussars.


The 3rd Hussars were involved in the series of battles that decided the line of the Western Front as trench warfare took over in the autumn of 1914. Officially the battle took place between the River Douve and a line between Estaires and Foumers and was fought by III corps.

On 12 October III Corps was ordered to advance to the River Lys from St. Omer, where it had arrived on 10 October. The battle is taken to begin on 13 October, when III Corps found the Germans defending the line of a small stream, the Meterenbecque, from a strong position on a ridge behind the line.

A request for help from the cavalry corps was refused as they were also engaged in battle, and so III Corps was forced to launch a frontal assault on the German lines. After a day-long battle, which cost III corps 708 casualties, the Germans pulled back.

III Corps continued to advance over the next six days. It was facing units of the German Sixth Army, who on 14 October were ordered to stand on the defensive while the Fourth Army attacked from Menin to the coast.

On 15 October III Corps was ordered to capture Armentières, repair the bridges over the Lys and prepare for the advance towards Lille. The town was captured on 17 October, and the advance continued until 19 October.

The remainder of the battle saw the British on the defensive, facing a series of repeated but unsuccessful German attacks.

Armentières remained in British hands throughout the fighting, although the front line was pushed back slightly. The biggest attack came on 29 October, the opening day of the battle of Gheluvelt, the most successful German attack at Ypres.

The battle officially ends on 2 November, when the danger posed by the retreat of the Cavalry Corps after the fighting at Gheluvelt had passed, although fighting continued on the Armentières front throughout November.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 3rd Hussars
  2. Western Front 1914-18 timeline