We find ourselves in the sector defended by the 4th Batallion of the Middlesex Regiment. On 21 August, this batallion had sent a patrol of cyclists towards Casteau-Maisieres, and it fell upon a German patrol. Following an exchange of fire, Private J. PARR (serial number L/14.196) was killed. He was the first.

On 23 August 1914, beginning at eight in the morning, shots were exchanged on both sides of the canal. The Germans were about to launch an attack. The fight started to the west of the station and spread to the canal bridge, held by D Company (under the command of Captain GLASS who was wounded during the assault).

At the station, B Company had been put under Lieutenant WILMOT-ALISTON who gained the unhappy privilege of becoming the first prisoner from the entire British Army. The soldiers had been camouflaged under the platform of the annex, well concealed under sacks of cement. Thanks to this protection, they cut down any enemy that tried to approach. The German soldiers were from the 31st Infantry Regiment.

It was a hard-fought battle all along the canal held by the 4th Middlesex and, thanks to the accuracy and rapidity of their fire, the British inflicted heavy losses on the 85th and 86th Regiments of the Germans.
Towards midday, the English began to be overwhelmed by numbers and had to give ground, their losses being heavy. The battalion sent an urgent message to Colonel COX (commanding the 2nd Royal Irish), requesting assistance and adding that they were forced to fall back to the edge of the cemetery.

Two companies of the 2nd Royal Irish were sent in rescue towards the cemetery where the head of 1 Company, Captain MELLOR, was immediately killed by an exploding shell.

At the station in Obourg, a heroic British soldier, whose name is unknown, sacrificed himself to allow his comrades to retreat. Alone among the dead and dying, perched on the station’s roof, he resisted the Germans. These managed to wound him at last and forced their way through and their first concern was to finish off this anonymous warrior.

There is a plaque on the wall of the station, bearing this inscription: « On 23 August 1914, at eight o’clock in the morning, near this spot, the 4th battalion of the Middlesex Regiment fired the first shots in the Battle of Mons. On the roof of this station, a British soldier, who has not been identified, remained alone, laying down his life to safeguard the retreat of his comrades. »

The fighting shifted towards the cemetery and the asylum. Follow the Beauval road, turn right and take the old Binche road; turn left at the chemin de l’Oasis and then turn left again to find yourself in the chemin du Chene aux haies (it means the road of oaks with hedges). On the right is the wall of the cemetery, while to the left are the buildings of the psychiatric hospital.

The cemetery at Mons includes a military section where the British and German soldiers, killed during the two conflicts lie at rest. A cenotaph rises above the graves all around. There are 390 British interred there.