First World War 1914-1918
During the war, Béthune was mostly defended by British forces, including units of the Canadian and Indian armies, and initially suffered little damage. It was an important railway junction and hospital site, holding the 33rd Casualty Station until December 1917. However, during the second phase of the Ludendorff Offensive in April 1918, German forces reached Locon, away from the town, and on 21 May 1918 launched a bombardment which virtually flattened it. The whole town has since been rebuilt. Many combatants from both sides are buried in Béthune Town Cemetery.