On the 29th September 1918, British, Australian and American forces secured a pivotal victory at the battle of St. Quentin Canal, achieving the first full breach of the Hindenburg line (Siegfriedstellung). A key German defensive position – and, indeed, Germany's last line of defence by late September 1918, the Hindenburg line extended from Arras to Laffaux, with heavy fortifications along the entire line. However, the southern parts were considerably more vulnerable to attack, with an important weak point at St. Quentin Canal where Allied forces focused their assault.

In the final stages of the Hundred Days Offensive, the Battle of St. Quentin Canal facilitated the total destruction of the Hindenburg line and German retreat by mid-October and, in turn, the Armistice of Compiègne on the 11th November 1918.


In the above photograph – arguably one of the most famous images of the war – Brigadier General J V Campbell can be seen on the 2nd October 1918 addressing troops of the 137th Brigade (46th Division) from the Riqueval Bridge over the St. Quentin Canal, after the initial successful breach.

 The original image can be found here.