It was close to the small southern Belgian town of Mons that the shooting war began or the British Expeditionary Force in August 1914. It was close to the same town that it ended for them over fifteen hundred days later. Neither the BEF nor the German Army planned or foresaw that first confrontation at Mons. It came about through blind chance and a series of miscalculations, born of ignorance on both sides, of precisely where and how strong their adversaries were. Although the Battle of Mons showed the BEF to be more than a match for the Germans, it was forced into the long Retreat from Mons as the growing German preponderance became apparent. Mons only briefly played host to the BEF in August 1914. Nevertheless the town acquired a special place in the hearts and minds of the BEF and the British people, enhanced for many by the enduring stories of the Angel of Mons. Although the Western Front became mired in static trench warfare many miles from Mons, there was always a resolve on the part of the BEF that one day they would fight their way back there and liberate the town. This was finally achieved on the last night of the war, only hours before the Armistice ended it. The year 2008 sees the 90th anniversary of the liberation of Mons. To mark this milestone the book describes the arrival of the BEF in Mons in 1914, the Battle of Mons itself, the Retreat from Mons, the Battle of Le Cateau, and the background to the Angel of Mons stories. It also describes events on the Western Front through to the German spring offensives of 1918. During more than four years of German occupation the people of Mons suffered privation, near starvation, deportations and executions. These are described, drawing heavily on unpublished local sources. The Allied 100 Days Campaign is then outlined culminating in the liberation of the town. The last chapter brings the story of Mons and of the main wartime players up to date. Finally two appendices describe the military and political developments which brought the BEF to Mons on that fateful weekend in August 1914.
|Publisher:||Helion and Company|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||17 MB|
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About the Author
Don Farr was born and raised in southwest London. He was educated at Emanuel School, Wandsworth, where his lifelong interest in the First World War was kindled. The peripatetic nature of his career in the Diplomatic Service, which took him to most parts of the world over a period of forty years, curbed somewhat his ability to pursue this interest. But since his retirement in 1996 he has been able to make frequent visits to the battlefields of the Western Front, the primary focus of his interest in the Great War. These visits have made a major contribution to the research he has carried out in preparing for the writing of his three books, all published by Helion. The first of these, 'The Silent General', a biography of General Sir Henry Horne, Commander of the BEF's First Army 1916-18, was published in 2007. The second, 'Mons 1914-1918: the Beginning and the End', the story of the Belgian town of Mons and its involvement in the Great War, was published the following year. Don Farr is married with three grown-up children and eight grandchildren. He and his wife live in Wokingham, Berkshire.