Although a familiar name to us,
the battles for Mons only lasted days rather than the weeks or months of other
battles, such as the Somme, or Verdun.
Over the years since the wars the whole region around Mons has
altered substantially with new roads and buildings everywhere.
If you head north east towards the town of Maisieres you will
pass the area of Nimy, one of the industrial suburbs. Here the road crosses
over the canal near to the old railway station. On 23 August 1914 the first two
Victoria Crosses of the war were won here by Lieutenant Dease and a Private
Godley from the Machine Gun section of the 4th Bn Royal Fusiliers.
Continuing out past the home of SHAPE , is the village of
Casteau. At 0700 hours on 22 August 1914 as the British Expeditionary Force was
advancing to the aid of Namur it encountered the First German Army under
General Von Kluck. There is a memorial here on the crest of the hill, marking
the spot where Troopers of the 4th Irish Dragoon Guards opened fire on a unit
from the German 4 Kurassier Regiment. The first shots fired by British Troops
on the Continent in over a hundred years.
The battle for Mons began in earnest on the following day: 23
August when men from the 4th Bn Middlesex Regiment encountered the German Army
in full strength.