'Waiting in trenches near Arras for our creeping barrage to lift before pushing on', Arras, 1917
Photograph, World War One, Western Front (1914-1918), 1917.
The British, Australians and Canadians went on the offensive at Arras between 9 April and 16 May 1917. After a huge artillery bombardment, elements of the First, Third and Fifth armies advanced up to eight kilometres (five miles) before the assault was halted. Casualties surpassed 150,000 for the British and Canadians and 100,000 for the Germans. Once again there had been no breakthrough, even though the Canadian Corps gained some success in taking Vimy Ridge, a key feature that dominated the surrounding area.
Arras witnessed some of the highest casualty rates sustained by an attacking force during the entire war. Many men were killed in the deep belts of wire which were defended by concrete pillboxes.
From a collection of 101 stereoscopic photographs entitled 'The Great War'.
NAM Accession Number
National Army Museum, Out of Copyright
National Army Museum, Study collection