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  • 8 years ago
Dr David Clarke: The Angel of Mons and Other Wartime Legends

Dr David Clarke: The Angel of Mons and Other Wartime Legends

The Angels of Mons were once described by the eminent historian A.J.P. Taylor as “the greatest wartime mystery of the 20th century.” Two weeks after the outbreak of the First World War a force of 30,000 crack British troops became trapped and surrounded in the Belgian town of Mons by a massive German Army three times as strong. But at the very moment they expected to be annihilated the German attack was suddenly halted, allowing the British force to escape to fight another day. On the Home Front the escape of the British Expeditionary Force was proclaimed as “a miracle” by patriotic newspapers whose readers believed the Germans had been stopped not by armed force but by supernatural forces – angels and phantom bowmen led by the English patron saint, St George. During the remainder of the war soldiers and nurses came forward to claim they had personally witnessed the miracle at Mons. The legend captured the imagination of thousands across the world, brought hope to those who had lost lo