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La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France
First Name: Arthur Last Name: KING
Date of Death: 24/08/1914 Lived/Born In: Kingsland
Rank: Sergeant Unit: Dorset1
Memorial Site: La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France

Current Information:


148, Culford Road, Kingsland


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 By nightfall the BEF had withdrawn to the Valenciennes-Maubeuge road, a position from which the Great Retreat began the next day.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

As the BEF moved back after the Battle of Mons, the 1st Dorset battalion of 15 Brigade, 5th Division,  were well dug in along the railway north-west of Wasmes, with artillery support on their left. The Germans crossed the canal and advanced from the southern edge of Hornu from where enemy machine guns forced the rapid withdrawal of the 121st Battery of the Royal Field Artillery but 1st Dorset and 37th Battery of the Royal Field Artillery brought this German advance to a standstill, inflicting heavy losses on them. At 9am a further withdrawal brought pressure on the depleted flank of II Corps and some of 1st Dorset temporarily filled the gap.  At 10.30am, with the withdrawal of 5 Brigade on their right it was time for 1st Dorset to move back from Paturages.  The first line transport of the battalion was caught in an ambush by advanced German troops at La Bouverie but got clear without too many casualties. At 11am, they moved south-west, behind 13 Brigade, towards Petit Wasmes and Warquignies.  There was some sharp fighting withdrawing from Paturages after which they moved back to Blaugies where they stopped at 2pm having suffered over 100 casualties during the day. One of these was Arthur King.

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