The British action at Mons on 23 August 1914 was the catalyst for what became a full blown retreat over 200 blood drenched miles. In this fascinating book the Author examines eighteen of the ensuing desperate rearguard actions that occurred over the twelve days of this near rout. While those at Le Cateau and Nery are well chronicled, others such as cavalry engagements at Morsain and Taillefontaine, the Connaught Rangersí action at Le Grand Fayt and 13 Brigadeís fight at Crepy-en-Valois are virtually unknown. We learn how, in the chaos and confusion that reigned, units of Gunners and other supporting arms found themselves in the front line.
The work of the Royal Engineers responsible for blowing bridges over rivers and canals behind the retreating troops comes in for particular attention and praise: likewise the sterling efforts of the RAMC. The fact that no less than 16 VCs were won during this historic Retreat shows that, even in these darkest hours, individuals and units performed with gallantry, resourcefulness and great forbearance. Extensive use of primary source material, including first-hand accounts, letters, diaries and official unit records, brings alive this delightful and informative account of an historic, if not victorious, chapter in our Nationís military history. It would make an excellent companion on a battlefield visit.
Jerry Murland is an ex soldier, mountaineering instructor and teacher. He is also the and author of the recent, and highly regarded Aristocrats Go To War. He brings the all rounder's approach to his analysis... [read full review]Mr. D. J. Filsell
For their comparatively small size, the British Official History of military operations dedicates more space to the battles of 1914 than any other period. It dedicates as much attention to the actions of battalions as... [read full review]The Long, Long Trail - Chris Baker
Öis to be congratulated on producing a book that combines excellent sketchmaps of specific actions and a broad selection of photographs with descriptions that bring the often chaotic 200-mile retreat to life.Guards magazine, Spring 2012
This excellent work only narrowly missed being the Editorís Choice this month and covers the eighteen desperate rearguard actions which occurred over the course of twelve days. Whilst some are well chronicled, others are little... [read full review]The Great War, March 2012
Murland has made a fantastic contribution to the history of the BEF on the Western Front. Impeccably researched, it is based on a wealth of primary and secondary material. In particular I was very impressed... [read full review]Dr. James H. Thomas
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August 1914Surrender at St Quentin
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About Jerry Murland
Jerry Murland served in the Parachute Regiment. He is the author of Departed Warriors and Aristocrats Go To War (Pen and Sword Military). He lives near Coventry.
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