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'V Beach' One of the five beaches at Cape Helles on the southern tip of the Gallipoli peninsula, where Allied troops landed on 25 April 1915. map

Van Largely Armenian province in Turkish Anatolia. The site of the first large-scale Turkish massacre of Armenians in early April 1915. The city of Van itself was besieged by Turkish forces later the same month, but was relieved by Russian forces in May.map

Verdun Small fortress town in northern France. Site of the Battle of Verdun (February-August 1916), one of the bloodiest campaigns of the First World War, in which French forces under General Pétain repelled waves of German attacks. Each side had suffered more than 350,000 casualties by the time attention turned to the Battle of the Somme in July. map

Versailles, Treaty of Allied peace treaty with Germany, signed in 28 June 1919. Article 231 placed the sole responsibility for the outbreak of war in 1914 on the shoulders of Germany and its allies.

Vilna Town in Russian Lithuania; known today as Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Captured by German forces in September 1915 and occupied until the end of the war, when Bolshevik forces moved in to establish the Soviet Republic of Lithuania. Vilna was then seized by Poland in 1920 and was not returned to Soviet Lithuania until 1939. map

Vimy Ridge Salient to the north of Arras, captured by the Canadian Corps on the first day of the Battle of Arras (9 April 1917). The victory confirmed the élite status of Canadians within the British forces on the Western Front and provided a fillip to Canada's developing sense of nationhood.map

Vladivostok Russian port in eastern Siberia. Seized from the Bolsheviks by troops of the Czech Legion on 29 June 1918, Vladivostok was also home to 600,000 tons of Allied war supplies for the now defunct Imperial Russian army. Largely to prevent these supplies falling into German hands after Russia left the war, Allied forces - primarily 70,000 Japanese and 9,000 American troops - occupied Vladivostok and declared it an 'Allied Protectorate' on 6 July 1918. Half-hearted attempts were subsequently made to support the counter-revolutionary forces in the region under General Kolchak; then Allied forces began to withdraw from Vladivostok in the autumn of 1919.

Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) Scheme, first established in 1910 under the auspices of the British Red Cross and the St John's Ambulance Association, to provide volunteers to support the professional military nursing service during times of emergency. The VAD organisation expanded quickly after the outbreak of war in August 1914 and numbered 80,000 volunteers by 1916.

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