This Day in History: 1914-08-24

Two miles south of Mons, 2nd South Lancashires occupy hastily-dug trenches – little more than scrapes in the ground – near the village of Frameries. Shortly after 4 am, German infantry, ‘ in serried masses and firing from the hip, came straight for (our) positions … The trial of strength had commenced.’ Disciplined rifle and machine gun fire takes heavy toll of what was a very gallant German onslaught, causing, the regiment believed at the time, an estimated 1,000 casualties. As always, this figure is wildly exaggerated. Friends member Colonel Jack Sheldon, who knows the German army of WWI better than anybody, has unearthed a German regimental account of the same action which makes clear that their total casualties that day totalled 282 killed, wounded and missing. Nevertheless, the South Lancashires hold the enemy at bay until the Battalion is ordered to withdraw ‘in perfect order as if on parade.’