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First Name: Charles Barry Last Name: GIBBONS
Date of Death: 24/08/1914 Lived/Born In: Maida Vale
Rank: Second Lieutenant Unit: Royal Irish2
Memorial Site:

Current Information:

Age-22

197, Maida Vale

St Symphorien Military 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 24hours and outnumbered two to one, the BEF dug in along the Mons-Conde canal. The battle commenced at 9am 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 By nightfall the BEF had withdrawn to a position along the Valenciennes-Maubeuge road, a position from which the Great Retreat began the next day.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.

By 12.30pm the German’s had passed the canal west of Obourg and had reached the railway. The 2nd Royal Irish battalion of 8 Brigade 3rd Division moved up, under heavy fire, to reinforce 4th Middlesex but far from being able to launch a counter attack they could barely hold their own line.  They were in a precarious position, overlooked by German artillery, but nevertheless put up a stubborn resistance.  By 3.15pm the Germans were within 200 yards of 2nd Royal Irish at which stage they withdrew to the  northern slopes of Bois la Haut. At 5pm they were again forced to retire this time to the south east corner of the Bois la Haute. The enemy followed  up but did not attack. In the early morning of 24th August  a German attack resulted in  8 Brigade being withdrawn from Nouvelles.  They marched south to Genly and around mid morning took up a position on the western flank of I Corps rearguard. At some stage during the day Charles Gibbons was killed, probably by shell fire.

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