The Angel of Mons

Discussion in 'Infantry' started by Lord_Wentworth, Nov 22, 2005.

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  1. Just read a very interesting book on the "Angel of Mons".

    During the opening months of WW1 whilst the war was still fluid, before the stalemate of the trenches, the British Expeditionary Force fought a costly rearguard action against advancing German troops. Afterwards reports circulated that an Angel, or St George on a white Charger had appeared, and had turned the tide of the battle, saving British Troops from annihilation. Hundreds of soldiers swore to having seen visions of angels and reports of the phenomena, no doubt fuelled by the war office happy to convince people that God was on our side, were widely circulated at the time.

    My question is, have there been any more recent accounts of supernatural intervention in recent conflicts or was it all driven by beliefs in an age where the existance of God was accepted as fact rather than a possibility?
  2. It has widely been dismissed. The story of the angels was spread after a popular paperback short story paper around at the time published a story along those very sam elines where angels came and fought along side the troops in the trenches. Chinese whispers did the rest.
  3. Indeed.

    However my question remains.
  4. There is the incredible intervention by a dark angel in the recent GW2. Many troops were finding themselves in danger because of lack of equipment and/or ammunition. But the dark angel came along 6 months later and - hey presto, everyone had had plenty of kit and ammo after all. The dark angel's name was rarely mentioned, but 'TCH' was oft on the soldiers lips.
  5. Here's an online article that takes a look at the legend, the battle it describes, and what could have actually happened to give rise to such an enduring story:

    Not being much of a military historian, perhaps you can look at it with a more critical eye. :)

    I first read about this story in a book of "phantom army"-type legends. I remember another story in the same book of a small village somewhere in Europe that was purported to have heard one night, from start to finish, the sounds of a battle that had taken place there years before in WWI (down to explosions and cries of soldiers). I don't remember which battle it was, but I was fascinated by the story. Have any collectors of this sort of lore heard this story before?
  6. Reminds me of Lord of the Rings - the Two Towers, this story. Maybe it actually gave rise to this bit:

    Attached Files:

  7. Very interesting. But I wonder how it is described in the book? Does that passage have any correlation to historical matter from Mons?
  8. Very interesting. But I wonder how it is described in the book? Does that passage have any correlation to historical matter from Mons?
  9. I'm no Tolkien boffin and so can't quote you chapter and verse. But Tolkien did serve in WWI on the Western Front and commentators have frequently pointed out that his experiences there fed into the book. See

    I was struck by the similarity of the following in the page TankiesYank linked to, and the episode in the images above:

  10. A fascinating association. I wasn't aware that Tolkien had fought in WW1. It would seem that he drew much inspiration from those times. Be hard not too I imagine.

    Fortean Times did a good piece on this urban myth. Even AJP Taylor was taken in by it

    You can bet that if the americans do make a film of it the history will be miraculously re-written to replace the Tommies with Yanks even though they didn't set foot on the battlefields till 1917 :roll:
  12. Sorry, not had time to look at the links above, but my understanding was that said 'Angel' was some sort of 'eerie' fog which descended upon the Mons battlefield with little or no warning thus facilitating the withdrawal of our troops. Maybe wrong.
  13. The report of the Angel of Mons was serious enough for Caharteris the 1 Corps G2 to put it in his diary.

    It was probably a genuine phenomena, but it a geniuine piece of mass hallucination by some very very tired sleep deprived people.

    There are several pieces piece in Lord of the Rings based on Tolkein's experience in the Great War

    I read that the images of the dead marshes with dead bodies in every pool of water ...
    .. Is based on his impressions of the Ancre Valley on the Somme.

    The relationship between Frodoand Sam was based on the officer and his batman.
  14. Not a deep student but have read many diaries etc. from guys in the first WW. My grandfather figured in a number. With all respect, I cannot think that many of us around now can ever understand the impact of that war. The only word to describe some actions was slaughter. Images from latter days burn deeply but to imagine everything multiplied many times, day after day in the same situation, is almost beyond my imagination.
    It follows that almost anyone writing anything in those days would have been most unusual if the war had not been the source of much emotion. Kipling's search for the remains of his son is especially poingnant when one can relate his words with conditions.
  15. not 100% but i think i read some place that the angel of mons turned out to be a fluke of a light shining on a statue and reflecting off low cloud.
    Again i say i might be way off but im sure i remember reading that somewhere