The ‘Royal Middlesex’, Mons

Today is the centenary of the Battle of Mons; after the fighting around the city the British Expeditionary Force withdrew and  the famous Retreat From Mons began. It was the Germans and local Belgian civilians who buried the dead at Mons. At St Symphorien the Germans established a cemetery in an old lime quarry and buried their own dead, but honoured their enemy too – and gave the British soldiers a decent burial too. In addition to burying the dead the Germans also put up memorials to their foe as well.

In the plot where the men of the 4th Battalion Middlesex Regiment were laid to rest the Germans erected a column in local Mons stone with the legend to commemorate the dead of the ‘Royal Middlesex Regiment’. The Middlesex were not a Royal Regiment in 1914 and nor would they ever be except on this memorial in text written by an enemy who respected them and honoured their fallen.

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