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lostinspace

Mons

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lostinspace

Hello all,

Just wanted to mention that the BEF fought for the first time on this date 95 years ago (also on a Sunday). It seems that sometimes these early actions get lost because of the (understandable) interest in the larger battles fought later in the war, but "The Old Contemptibles" need to be remembered too.

Regards, lostinspace

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bantamforgot

How true, however some members do have a particular interest in the early days.

Regards.

Colin.

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Bernard_Lewis

Remembered.

And wasn't it on 11 November 1918 that the Canadians re-entered Mons after 4+ years of spilt blood and tragedy?

Bernard

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steenie
Hello all,

Just wanted to mention that the BEF fought for the first time on this date 95 years ago (also on a Sunday). It seems that sometimes these early actions get lost because of the (understandable) interest in the larger battles fought later in the war, but "The Old Contemptibles" need to be remembered too.

Regards, lostinspace

It may be of interest that a group of friends and I are doing a commemorative ride next year, covering the 200 miles of the retreat on horseback. If you look at the thread 'Mons to the Marne The Great Retreat', is will tell you about our efforts.

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ArmyOfficer

some pictures from today of sites of the first day of the battle of mons

First are pics of position of the 1/NF (-) at Jemappes. This is the original street, looking north towards the site of the "Mariette Bridge" (really the La Rivage Bridge). This was the B Co. position -- with a barricade at the end of the street. All the houses date from the time of the battle, the one on the end of the street on the left was an estaminet in 1914. At least one still has bullet damage from the battle.

post-1664-1251055107.jpg

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ArmyOfficer

This is taken at the end of the street of the previous pic. This is the site of a VC action: Captain Theodore Wright, RE, was awarded the VC for attempting to blow up the two bridges over the canal at this point.

Aside from the stretch at St. Ghislain, the canal has not moved. It has been widened or narrowed -- but aside from one piece of about 4 miles, it runs the same course and traces of the original canal, and its workings are still to be found. This is one - the trace of the original canal from 1914. The grassy bit on the left was the tow path.

post-1664-1251055684.jpg

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ArmyOfficer

Further west from the 1/NF was the 2/KOSB, defending both sides of the canal at the Pont des Herbieres. This picture shows the battlefield of D/2 KOSB on the north side of the canal -- their position was on the left side of the photo. The Germans attacked from right to left in this field. Very close ranges here.

post-1664-1251056689.jpg

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lostinspace

Great photos, there is an excellent map covering the action north of the Pont des Herbieres (and lock #4) in the book on Mons by Jack Horsfall & Nigel Cave. From the map it looks like D Coy. faced northeast so would your viewpoint be directly west or more to the northwest?

Regards,

lostinspace

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Michelle Young

Thank you for those photos, the 1914 actions are never far from my thoughts.

Michelle

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Guest 1RMF

Thank you very much for those pictures. Its too often that the men of 1914 are overshadowed by events such as the Somme and Verdun. Its proper that they are all celebrated together.

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ArmyOfficer

Great photos, there is an excellent map covering the action north of the Pont des Herbieres (and lock #4) in the book on Mons by Jack Horsfall & Nigel Cave. From the map it looks like D Coy. faced northeast so would your viewpoint be directly west or more to the northwest?

Regards,

lostinspace

lost - yes, the picture is facing northwest. the houses towards the center of the photo...those on the far side of the street...are on the sketch, i think. they're original to the time. the trees in the far background mark the railroad. on the other (west) side were the 1/RWK.

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ArmyOfficer

Perhaps just a couple more.

While the histories tend to focus on 23 August as "The" Battle of Mons, there was a significant amount of fighting on 24 August as forces south of Mons on a line Ciply -- Frameries -- Colfontaine -- Audregnies fought to cover the initial stages of the retreat. Probably the most famous was the "Flank Action at Elouges" where the cavalry action resulted in one of the first VCs of the war to CAPT Grenfell, and the Chesires and Dorsets took significant casualties.

Lost in the histories are those battalions who fought in my hometown of Frameries. The positions of both 9th Brigade and 7th Brigade are extremely hard to pin point, but I think I've done so pretty well (given lots of time with old maps, the German histories and some local help).

The first picture is that of the 2/S Lancs battlefield just north of Frameries. This is the axis of the German 24th Infantry Regiment's attack on the morning of 24 August. They went up this road, through the railroad cut, and into the 2/South Lancs positions just visible through the old railroad bridge. The 2/S Lancs right flank was approximately 150m the other side of the railroad -- extremely close range shots.

post-1664-1251138002.jpg

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Guest kenneth.smith

Hello,

This is my first post so don't know if I am posting on the correct thread but the heading seemed appropriate.

I am trying to find out about my grandfather who served in the first world war and fought at Mons and also more about the battle itself and his regiment. He would not talk about his time in the army so the information I have is sketchy and was relayed to me many years ago by my parents who are now dead. He served with the 4th Battalion Middlesex Regiment and I believe was valet to General Hull who later became Lod Hull. I believe he was given the freedom of Mons he was also awarded the MM but I don't know if this was at Mons. I can remember him visiting Mons when I was young and he stayed with a family there. I can also remember him marching with "The Old Contemptibles" on Rememberance Sunday in Leeds.

I would appreciate any advice as where to look to find out more information.

Many thanks

Ken.

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lostinspace

Hi Ken and welcome to the forum,

Here's a short synopsis on 4th Middlesex, mostly taken from Westlake's British Battalions in France & Belgium, 1914 - At Devonport, 8th Brigade, 3rd Division under command of Lt. Col. C.P.A. Hull. To Southampton 13 Aug., embarked SS Mombasa for Boulogne, arrived Boulogne 14th. Entrained for Aulnoye 16th, to Monceau 20th then to Bettignies 21st. Marched to Mons on the 22nd and took up positions along the Mons-Conde' Canal, D Coy. on right around Obourg station, B Coy. covering Lock No. 5 to Nimy on the left. C Coy. in reserve along the Obourg-Mons road and A Coy. south of the railway between Obourg and Nimy. Germans began shelling their positions between 8 and 9 am on the 23rd and advanced shortly thereafter. Withdrawn to Mons during the afternoon then back to Nouvelles. Casualties: 5 Officers killed, 9 wounded, other ranks - 453 killed, wounded and missing. I would recommend "Mons" in the Battleground Europe series by Jack Horsfall & Nigel Cave for a more detailed description of the battle and the prominent role played by 4th Middlesex. I'm sure other forum members will be able to give you more information as well.

Regards, lostinspace

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Robert Dunlop

Ken, you can find a bit more information about 4/Middlesex at Mons here and here.

Robert

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Guest kenneth.smith

Lostinspace, Robert Dunlop,

Many thanks for your replies these have been very helpful. They have made me want to find out more about this particular area of the 1914-18 conflict.

Regards

Ken.

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Bill Tomlinson

The photographs are very interesting, my Grandfather was in this area with the 1st Lincoln,s and as I intend to visit Mons early next year any more photographs you may post would be of great interest to me

regards Bill

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alanpat

.FAO Army Officer... I was interested to see your photo of the 2nd KOSB battlefield. I have visited the same spot as my Grandfather CSM Charles Wilson was mortally wounded there on the 23rd August and died in the early hours of the 24th August.

My Question is.... Does anyone know if the concrete gully at that spot alongside the motorway is the original route of the canal. Has the canal been rerouted to the north since 1914 ?

I am interested as me and several other of his descendants plan to visit the battlefield and Hautrage Military Cemetery on the centenary , and I want to make sure we are at the right place.

Thank You

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lostinspace

Now it's 105 years ago. Still an important date to remember.


DaveĀ 

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