Location of Gouzeaucourt

Gouzeaucourt, a village in north-eastern France, found itself occupied early in WWI. It saw heavy fighting in the later stages of the war, eventually being deliberately destroyed by retreating German troops during 1917.

As the German army advanced into France in 1914, Gouzeaucourt was overrun. Behind enemy lines, most of the war was spent under occupation. A strict ‘occupation regime’ was imposed until the remaining population were forcibly moved out of Gouzeaucourt in 1917 to prepare for the German tactical withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line in 1917. Allied troops advancing in the spring of 1917 found a deserted and destroyed land.

Village after village “found empty, a mass of smouldering ruins”. Worcestershire Regiment in the Great War, Capt H FitzM Stacke M.C.

Gouzeaucourt shared in this destruction.