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First Name: Percy Stanley Last Name: MARSHALL
Date of Death: 24/08/1914 Lived/Born In: Balham
Rank: Private Unit: Lincolnshire1
Memorial Site: 1. County Hall 2.Balham Hill, Church of Ascension

Current Information:

Age-23

Born-Bow

Jemappes Communal Cemetery, Belgium

 

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 By nightfall the BEF had withdrawn to the Valenciennes-Maubeuge road, a position from which the Great Retreat began the next day.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.

On 24th August, the 1st Lincolnshire battalion of 9 Brigade, 3rd Division were in position around the village of Frameries a few miles to the south of Mons. At 4 am the Germans opened up with artillery and a nearby factory was destroyed. As it burned it became so hot that the men in the ditch in front of it were withdrawn to an Orchard.  B Company held the side of the Orchard at right angles to the front and suffered from enfilade fire as the Germans attacked.  On the left of the orchard a 600 yard slope went down to a cornfield through which the enemy tried to advance from stook to stook but were halted by accurate fire from 1st Lincolns.  The battalion’s machine guns were busy but were inevitably located and knocked out.  After 3-4 hours fighting the Germans broke off their attack and 1st Lincolns withdrew  south west. It was impossible to evacuate the seriously wounded and these and nearly all the stretcher bearers were captured.  1st Lincolns stopped after three miles and ate their ‘iron rations’  and after one hours rest they continued their march, still the rear guard of 9th Brigade.  They spent the night in a field near Bermeries, dog tired. At some stage during the course of the day Percy Marshall was killed.

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