Following the retreat from the Belgian town of Mons the II British Corps were being followed closely by the German army. At the small town of Le Cateau, France, the decision was made to turn and fight the approaching army and this area was to see a fierce battle between the two forces. The exhausted British army retreated to recuperate and the German army took the area. It was used as a railway centre and housed an important hospital. Le Cateau remained in German hands for almost the duration of the war until October 1918 when it was taken by the Allied forces as the war was coming to a close.
The town is home to Le Cateau Military Cemetery which contains predominantly German casualties but also contains the graves of commonwealth and Russian casualties.