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La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial
First Name: William Henry Last Name: WHITING
Date of Death: 23/08/1914 Lived/Born In: Marylebone
Rank: Lance Sergeant Unit: Middlesex1
Memorial Site: La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial, France

Current Information:

Enlisted-Mill Hill


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 By nightfall the BEF had withdrawn to a position along the Valenciennes-Maubeuge road, a position from which the Great Retreat began the next day.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

19th Brigade, which at that time was not attached to any division, arrived at St. Aybert where the 1st Middlesex and 1st Scottish Rifles battalions relieved the Cavalry Division and extended the BEF line to Condé and where they were ordered to hold a bridge and a lock on the Mons - Condé canal.   At 5pm there was a heavy German attack on B Company but this was held in check.  Another German attack was driven off that night and the battalion suffered only light casualties one of whom was William Whiting who was killed.

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