The legend

One of the earliest and best known legends associated with trench life in the First World War is that known as the "Angel of Mons". The "Angel" was reputed to have appeared in the sky during the British retreat from Mons during August 1914, and to have safeguarded the withdrawal. This legend grew from a short story by Arthur Machen, published in the Evening Post of 29 September 1914.

Monument to the fallen from the Battle of Mons Monument to the fallen in the graveyard for French, Belgian and German dead from the Battle of Mons.
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Australian red ensignAustralian red ensign presented to Imperial Reservists by W M 'Billy' Hughes in 1914 and carried by Corporal Edward Dawson Watson of the East Lancashire Regiment during the retreat from Mons.
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Sources

  • Arthur Machen, The Angel of Mons: the Bowmen and other legends of the war (London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, 1915)
  • Paul Fussell, The Great War and modern memory (London: Oxford University Press, 1975)

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