An Object has the Force of a Character: Nimy Bridge

Nimy Bridge over the Mons-Conde Canal

Nimy Bridge over the Mons-Conde Canal

Sometimes a place or an object can have the force of a character in a novel or story. Consider novels whose title is the name of a place. Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier, the Malabar Hills in F.M. Forester’s A Passage to India. Sites in Dublin in James Joyce’s Ulysses.

So it is that Nimy Bridge, that crosses the Mons-Conde Canal, and the canal itself, almost has the role of a character in The Angel of Mons. The bridge was the place of greatest vulnerability and, at the same time, the point in greatest need of defense by the British on the first day of battle. It was understood that the Germans would at some time in the long day’s battle breech the defense of Nimy Bridge, and make its way into the city of Mons. The longer the bridge could be held, the better would be the prospects of an orderly retreat for the BEF who fought that day.posed picture soldiers nimy

It was the task of the Royal Fusiliers, Company “A”, to hold the bridge. The machine gunners and the musketry fought courageously that day. The first two Victoria Crosses awarded in the war went to two soldiers who manned the machine guns—Lieutenant Maurice Dease and Private Sidney Godley. This was the first and the only day that Dease fought. Godley, holding the gun on his own, was taken prisoner by the Germans and spend all the rest of the war in a POW camp.

At the foot of the Nimy Bridge is a memorial plaque commemorating their brave defense and its importance to the battle.

 

The bridge is the first point battlefield tours visit because of its importance. On the one hundredth anniversary f the battle on August 23, 1014 commemorative exercises began there.

What places strike you as being of great significance in novels, stories, poems, or plays and rise to the standing of characters?

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