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First Name: James Last Name: ELLARD
Date of Death: 24/08/1914 Lived/Born In: Pimlico
Rank: Sergeant Unit: Norfolk1
Memorial Site:

Current Information:



Hautrage 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 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 By nightfall the BEF had withdrawn to the Valenciennes-Maubeuge road, a position from which the Great Retreat began the next day.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 the following day,  24th August, the  1st Norfolk and 1st Cheshire battalions of 15 Brigade, 5th Division moved to Dour as Divisional reserve. 5th Division HQ realised that the withdrawal of 19 Brigade had left their left flank exposed especially as the Germans were advancing due south in strength between Thulin and Condé so the two battalions, still at Dour, were ordered to move north and counter attack. Other orders soon arrived that redirected them west to a position along the Élougies-Audregnies-Angre road. By12.30pm 1st Norfolk were in position with their right resting on the Élougies-Quiévrains railway with 1st Cheshire on their left. The enemy then attacked in two columns, one from Quiévrains  and the other from the Bois de Déduit and Baisieux. moving south-east on Audregnies. At 12.45pm the serious fighting began. A German division moved up covered by artillery at La Croix.  Solid masses of Germans moved out of Quiévrains and Bois de Déduit and 1st Norfolk and 1st Cheshire found many targets. But the German pressure was overwhelming and  both battalions fell back. and 1st Norfolk fell back in two parties under shrapnel fire, leaving 100 wounded  behind at Élougies.  One platoon did not receive the order to retire and their fate is unknown.  1st Norfolk suffered  250 casualties on this day, one  of whom was James Ellard.


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