In 1914, when the First World War broke out, about 600,000 British and Commonwealth (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa) soldiers arrived in Flanders, as well as 20,000 to 30,000 French soldiers, from the mainland and the colonies and several thousands of Belgian soldiers. In 1917 over half a million soldiers were stationed around Ypres.
 As a result, the city of Cassel in French Flanders had to accommodate thousands of French and British soldiers, following the installation of the headquarters of Foch and Plumer and the significant infrastructure that came with it.