Commemorating the 100th anniversary of Manchester Hill, British military's second most bloody battle

Soldiers stood in the trenches on the Western Front Credit: PA
  • Video report by correspondent Damon Green

One hundred years ago on Wednesday, one of the bloodiest and second most costly battles the British army has ever endured took place.

The Defence of Manchester Hill battle is not as well-known as others that took place in the First World War.

But the battle is the most famous of the final stands made by the British Army whose efforts contributed to the delay of the German advance.

Manchester Hill was an area of slightly higher ground in Northern France.

It was an important defensive position as it offered commanding fields of view and overlooked the town of St Quentin, which was held by the Germans.

It was given its name after being captured in April 1917 by the 2nd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment, which included the war poet Wilfred Owen.

The German Spring Offensive of 1918, began on March 21 as the Germans launched a series of attacks concentrated around the area where the British and French Armies conjoined.

More than 8,000 soldiers died in the first day of defending the hill.

This offensive let the Germans concentrate an overwhelming superiority of both infantry and artillery which is why the 16th Manchesters’ defence of Manchester Hill was such an heroic and remarkable feat of arms.