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The Battle of Mons

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The Battle of Mons August 1914 in Flanders, the first major battle of World War I took place at Mons. There, British troops were held back by German forces, who outnumbered them. The British fought fiercely, but in the end they had to retreat or be trapped. They succeeded in making an orderly withdrawal, but suffered heavy casualties. These would have been even worse, if not for two factors. Firstly, the British had excellent marksmen, and the British riflemen had been trained in rapid-fire techniques. At times, the German troops believed they were facing machine-gunners. Also, each British soldier carried an entrenching tool; this tool allowed them to throw up protective earthen ramparts in minutes. Thus, even exposed units could shield themselves quickly, allowing them a chance to fight back. ...read more.


Discredited stories have continued to be reprinted and quoted, nonetheless. The story seems to have originated with a short story by Arthur Machen, The Bowmen. It was printed on September 29, 1914, in the afternoon and evening editions of the London Evening News. It was the first mention of anything resembling the later "Angels of Mons" story. This tale begins with a massive retreat by the British Expeditionary Forces. One of the soldiers remembers St. George and cries out a motto he'd seen once in a depiction of him- "Adsit Anglis Sanctus Georgius" ("St. George help the English"). Thousands followed suit and called out to St. George. Miraculously, a long line of ghostly English archers appears to cut down ten thousand German troops, killing them without leaving any wounds! ...read more.


She claimed to have direct testimony from various sources to verify her. Other statements by Ms. Campbell make clear that she would do anything to help defeat the Germans, even lie. There is solid evidence that some nurses during WWI invented wild tales, trying to bolster morale. In this case, though, no one would dare say Ms. Campbell was blatantly lying, she was well placed in society. Over the years, the truth has been smothered by a very appealing fantasy. The story was a wonderful morale booster in England, as it appears to have actually helped the war effort. The angels didn't actually help the British at Mons, but the tale did help the British at home. This proves, in its own way, the power of faith, even more than if the story was real: the sheer belief in the story aided the hearts of the British, allowing them to save more lives than the angels themselves supposedly would have. ...read more.

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