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La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial
First Name: Thomas William Last Name: BUCKINGHAM
Date of Death: 23/08/1914 Lived/Born In: Hackney
Rank: Private Unit: Northumberland Fusiliers1
Memorial Site: La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France

Current Information:

19, Westgate Street, London Fields, Hackney


The Battle of Mons  August 23, 1914

This was the first battle fought by the British Army (BEF) in the war. Since landing in France ten days earlier the four infantry divisions and five cavalry brigades of the BEF had advanced to a position on the left flank of the French Armies only to find themselves directly in the line of the advance of the German First Army as they swept through Belgium and headed for Paris.

With orders to hold the German advance for 24 hours and outnumbered two to one, the BEF dug in along the Mons-Conde canal. The battle commenced at 9 am and lasted all day. By nightfall the BEF had withdrawn to a position along the Valenciennes-Maubeuge road, a position from which the Great Retreat began the next day. British casualties, killed, wounded or missing, amounted to 1600 for the battle. German casualties were higher.

From their position at Mariette, the 1st Northumberland Fusiliers battalion of 9 Brigade, 3rd Division, were, at first, able to stop the German advance even after two enemy field guns were brought up and used against the defenders at the bridge.  A shell burst in the house from where a party of 1st Northumberland Fusiliers had stopped the first German advance and all the men there were killed. They had stopped firing when a group of Belgian girls hurried down the road and as a result the enemy were able to swarm forward.  The advance party of the battalion north of the canal, continued to hold their position denying the Germans passage of the canal. They were also engaged in fighting along the roads and around the slag heaps north of Flameries. Even after the order to withdraw, the two forward companies stuck to their positions on the canal to cover the Royal Engineers as they demolished the bridge.  At 5 pm, 1st Northumberland Fusiliers withdrew towards Frameries but the Germans did not pursue. Thomas Buckingham was among those who lost their lives during this action.


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