When Britain entered the war in 1914 it sent an expeditionary force of about 100,000 soldiers to the continent. However the need for more soldiers soon required the army to start recruiting volunteers from August 1914 onwards, after which military service became mandatory in January 1916. As a consequence millions of Britons were sent to France and Belgium during this four-year conflict.
They mainly travelled to the Western front via Pas-de-Calais. Here they initially stayed near the coastline after which they spread out throughout the department. The cities near the coast were also strongly influenced by this British presence.