Artillery going through a cutting in the Canal du Nord | National Library of Scotland

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A Quick Firing 18-pounder gun with ammunition limber of the Royal Field Artillery, moving through a cutting in the Canal du Nord, which was being built when war broke out in August 1914.

The excavations for the Canal du Nord made a perfect defensive system, and the Germans incorporated the ‘canal’ into their famous Hindenburg Line. Still further, the marshy terrain on both sides of the Arras to Cambrai road, combined with the elevated German defences, made it a very difficult position to attack. Nevertheless, during the Battle of the Canal du Nord, 27th September – 1st October 1918, two Canadian divisions succeeded in breaking through the ‘canal’ defences at this point.

Original reads: ‘OFFICIAL PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN ON THE BRITISH WESTERN FRONT IN FRANCE. THE CAMBRAI ADVANCE. Artillery going through a cutting in the Canal du Nord.’

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Cite : Artillery going through a cutting in the Canal du Nord | National Library of Scotland ( by D. McLellan licensed as CC-BY-NC-SA (

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About Richard Marshall

Richard Marshall is studying for a doctorate in the literature of ancient Rome at Wadham College, Oxford, and is a tutor for Ancient History at St Benet’s Hall. In addition to Classics, he has a long-standing interest in the tactics and material culture of the British Army, especially of the period spanned by the Cardwell Reforms and First World War. He has a large collection of original uniform and equipment items used for teaching and research purposes, and is currently exploring the evolution of British military clothing and accoutrements in response to changes in fashion and warfare for eventual publication. He previously worked as a cataloguer for the Oxford University Great War Archive.
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