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First Name: Alfred Last Name: BROWN
Date of Death: 23/08/1914 Lived/Born In: Walworth
Rank: Private Unit: West Riding2
Memorial Site:

Current Information:


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 By nightfall the BEF had withdrawn to a position along the Valenciennes-Maubeuge road, a position from which the Great Retreat began the next day.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


13 Brigade of 5th Division held a three mile front along the western stretch of the canal.1st Royal West Kent covered the canal bridges immediately east of St. Ghislain in excellent trenches and on their left the 2nd Scottish Borderers battalion occupied the canal up to the railway bridge at Les Herbières. The two remaining battalions of 13 Brigade, 2nd West Riding and 2nd Yorkshire Light Infantry, were in reserve in St Ghislain. In the afternoon the German attack spread west to the bridges of Les Herbières where they infiltrated the reedy marshes next to the canal.  2nd West Riding and 2ndYorkshire Light Infantry moved up but were not required as the German attack had been brought to a halt but 2nd West Riding suffered a few casualties from shellfire, one of whom was Alfred Brown.

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