Mons battle open warfare
And yet we return back to the early part of the 1914 -19 Great War Prior to the later battles of the Great War. One that will stand out in history is the Battle of Mons. And also not forgetting the later battle of the Marne, and Ypres; It was the heroic B.E.F. and their forced march into Belgium. After crossing the channel with a force of men horses, and machines. And the British Tommy Atkins, the finest fighting animal at that time. The best trained and the best marksman. Crossing the water of the channel unimpeded by the German fleet, they marched into Belgium to try to stop the German plan 17, worked out by the German Von Schlieffen.
This early open type of warfare, trying to break through Belgium on the flanks of the French lines, and win an early victory, in the drive to Paris. As in later history proved it could be done; when in 1939-45, Hitler; his armies tore through the Low Countries, pouring tanks through the Ardennes, but that was many more generations later; we go back in time to 1914,back in time in mind but not in body. It was near the coal town of Mons. That the British Expeditionary Force, after their forced March, to meet the invaders, well concealed well dug in, fought off repeated attacks by the German III, IV, 1X, corps. The rifle fire of the British being so deadly, the German commander, after great losses, knew that this was hopeless to attempt to try to dislodge the British from a frontal assault, they must be flanked.
The British Tommy had held up the German advance. The German Commander Kluck, He held a respect for the fighting capabilities of the British Tommy and their firepower. The Germans thinking they were up against a machine gun brigade, when the total was only two or so machine guns. Then at the collapse of the poorly trained Belgium army. Sadly losses of the British Forces totalled, after the final forced retreat, came to around 1600. The sudden withdraw of the British by the order to disengage from the fighting surprised the German Commanders. After such a heroic stand by the British, German casualties were very heavy. But again we see the old clichés of lions led by donkeys, old men in the officer rank’s of the British and the balls-ups.
The loss of any man can be a tragedy and it was in this battle that a young lad named Robert Kitchener. Private in the Royal West Kent’s wounded in the thigh by the German shrapnel from one of the German shrapnel shells, when under a barrage of fire. During the Battle of Mon’s or maybe fighting their way out of Belgium. Although the wound was treated and shrapnel removed, and he returned home on convalescent leave, he later died of wounds on his return to hospital. The sad loss of a brother of the young girl working on munitions, young Amy, then not fully adjusted to such a shock, thinking of the first-hand account of her brother, saying of seeing in the skies over the battlefield of Mon’s. The angel in the sky and not only he alone but also many men, on both German and British Army’s swear to having definitely seen an angel in the skies. And yet in the cold light of day one is sceptical.
But who knows when the carnage of battle and the savagery of killing and the blood runs hot with our animal instincts. One does not know what one will see or hear. Think for a moment of the ancient Celts in the savagery of their killing. The Aztec era and what they had from their sacrifices. When they tore the living heart out of their chosen victim. The red Indians in their scalping of the enemy in victory. And do not forget our own bloody past ancestor ruling class of recent times. The tower of London and all the torture equipment to rack one’s body to pain. And to then chop one’s head off. Not much different from our Celtic pagan ancestors where if you were born to be a sacrifice. You might end up with your head on a stake, or be burnt in a massive corn dolly like a helpless animal.
What does the screams of a million, or millions of men that have gone before do? Bewitch us all, or maybe the burning of witches, like Pope Gregory. A religious fanatic who destroyed the knowledge of a thousand years of herbal remedies along with the burning of flesh. And that is not all one can see if one looked the way certain tribes today slaughter the meat for the table cutting the throat and hanging up while alive to drain the blood from the body of the poor unfortunate beast. The caging chickens; and calves in crates, to get white meat, what for? The sacrificial feast or some hidden vision, banging the forehead, wailing at the wall. You can get the same vision on the alcohol. If you have a spate of time on the stuff pink elephants will appear. So to sum up those poor bastards who never had a lot of time to wonder? The total helplessness of not knowing if you are next to die. Imagine it seeing the slaughter, you see something and then after the battle finished. All is silent all is still one will start to think it then becomes legend, and then set into type print. In papers, like the story of the angel of Mon’s was later told in the evening news, by the writer Arthur Machen, who disclaimed that any one had told him about the Mon’s angel; he had made up the story.
Strange though it may seem, people do experience by chance or fiction an event that happens elsewhere. And so after the many years of trench warfare. War weary on both sides, they signed a peace treaty. The gallant Tommie, those that were left came home to a troubled and uncertain time. Ireland and the troubles there the arrival of the roaring twenties, unemployment and singing in the streets. Those old Soldiers Many blinded and with little prospects of any work unable to prevent or stave the pangs of hunger from the low intake of food nearly starving when on the only income available was the so called. “On the Parish”. Once more women were shanghaied back into service by sequence of events into service toil with long hours for that well-heeled above and middle class in country and suburban abodes. The salary of twenty or so pounds per annum from the well to do One had to work for a paltry pittance included ones keep with room in the attic a day off sometimes was arranged. And if fate were it Amy had to take a vacancy as a nanny and move to another town, and if lives and fate run in parallel and life is a paradigm of fate, and fate is a paradigm of life.