25 August 1914

On this day the first accounts of the Battle of Mons started appearing in British newspapers.  The Times headed its main report ‘Namur Lost, German Success in Belgium’ and led off: ‘The battle is joined and has so far gone ill for the Allies.’  Elsewhere an editorial entitled ‘The Germans Strike Hard’ admitted: ‘Yesterday [when the B.E.F. had retreated further southwards] was a day of bad news, and we fear that more must follow.’

However, after it came another editorial headed ‘England’s Call’, which appealed to men to join a ‘new army’ that Kitchener was assembling: ‘We shall want every man who is able and willing to do his duty by his country in this crisis of England’s fate.  It would be rank folly to reject such men.’  Interestingly, it made no reference to age.  The numbers of men volunteering now rocketed.

Next entry: ‘The Godfather in War’


About Patrick Miles

I am a writer who specialises in Anton Chekhov and is writing a biography of George Calderon.
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