Tag Archives: Battle of Mons

Women at Work Manufacturing Ammunition

Last week I posted a blog about a memorial built to commemorate the work of people producing rubber boots for soldiers who spent much time in the trenches of France and Belgium. This week I am giving a glimpse into the work life of women who manufactured ammunition.

Factory workers -- all women in this illustration--manufacturing artillery shells for the British Army--The Great War
Factory workers — all women in this illustration–manufacturing artillery shells for the British Army–The Great War

The picture gives an idea of the extent of the factory in which the women labored. Once the Great War got under way, the scale of everything dedicated to the conduct of the war grew by many magnitudes. The pressure of all these efforts had a monumental effect on the way of life of the countries engaged. These changes were permanent.

St. George! In the Flesh!

A sample from Chapter 12: St. George and the Angels of the Dark Cloud

imagesSt. George in the Flesh!

All up and down our ragged line those still able to raise their voices shouted like men in a madhouse, “St. George! In the flesh! St. George! Come to do for England!”

“God save us!”

“Sweet saint, I’ll worship at your feet forever.” Some nearly wept. Heavenly reinforcements. And the soldiers about cried in relief, “Heaven’s knight, save us.” An instinctive moaning and involuntary sobbing, breath drawn deeply and quickly expelled.

Seemingly in reply to our cries the phantom warriors roared the ancient salutation, a summoning shout, though in speech of Chaucer’s day:

“Sente George! The longe bowe and the stronge bowe.”

The voices of all, as in chant or call, resounded above the shrieks and blasts of the artillery, machine guns, and rifles. “Comen we to saufe merrie Englonde!”

“Joynen as a bretherhede!”

“The bowe and the swerd, the launce and the pike!”

In words and speech closer to what we spoke, we heard the same pledge of aid. Their bloodcurdling yells died away. The officers of the King’s Own Something called out commands. The drummers beat the signals to the troops. The soldiers faced straight ahead. As if we weren’t there. As if they were real while we were not.

The celestial soldiers and cavalry covered the field, devouring the Germans before them. Blasts of horns and trumpets assailed the ear, fifes and drums tore the air, beat louder and louder until it seemed we were in the midst of interminable thunder.


In The Angel of Mons St. George and his horde of angels save the British not only at Mons, but again at the next battle. In reality, the fact that the British Expeditionary Force survived those two battles is considered vey much a military miracle. All the reason I needed to have St. George help again. This passage appears in “St. George and the AngeIs of the Dark Clouds” I had two scenes in mind, two ways I wanted St. George to save my Vickers machine gun crews. So I separated them, assigned them to two locations, being that there were only two Vickers guns for the entire company of one hundred soldiers. I had the Victors fighting here along a stone fence line. Elsewhere and later St. George saves the Ruffians when they and the company band—the musicians–are trapped in a quarry. This appears in the preceding chapter, “The Quarry, St. George, and the Angels of the Golden Mist of Salvation.”


Why I love ”the wickedest man in the world”

Aliester Crowley was initiated into the Outer Order of the Golden Dawn in 1898 by the group’s leader, MacGregor Mathers. The ceremony took place at the Isis-Urania Temple in London, where Crowley took the magical name, “Frater Perdurabo”, meaning “Brother I shall endure to the end.”

A senior Golden Dawn member became his personal tutor in ceremonial magic and the ritual use of drugs. He performed the rituals of the Goetia,[ A year later he was expelled from the order, not enduing to the end, at least as a member. In the ultimate sense, he did continue dark practices for most of the rest of his life, establishing his own religious order and attracting many adherents.

In the history of the occult Aliester Crowley, was referred to as “the wickedest man in the world.”

For the purpose of my novel, The Angel of Mons, I am grateful that he belonged to the Order of the Golden Dawn. The book has a chapter on the reaction of the Order—William Butler Yeats, leader, and other prominent members–to St. George’s intervention in the Battle of Mons. I wanted a chapter in which the reaction of an occult order would be explosive. What better than to have a confrontation between Yeats, a practitioner of benign magic, and Crowley, the master of dark magic? Read the book (soon to be published) to see what happens.

Because Crowley fit so nicely with what I needed, I love the “wickedest man in the world.”

Gentlemen, We Will Stand and Fight

I highly recommend reading @Tonybird  #GentlemenWewillStandandFight #ww1 military history. #lecateau #angelofmons #ww1centenary

In writing my upcoming book, St. George and the Angels of Mons I’ve read some great military histories of the opening days of World War I. Tony Bird’s Gentlemen, We will Stand and Fight is one of the best. In the First World War’s opening days British success at Mons, Belgium and two days later at Le Cateau, France were vitally important.  Tony Bird’s  book details the day’s battle at the battle of Le Cateau. I highly recommend it.

At Mons (23 August, 1914)–the first battle between the British and Germans in World War I–the British were heavily outnumbered. At Le Cateau (26 August) the British were even more greatly disadvantaged. If the fighting have gone badly at Mons or at Le Cateau nothing of consequence would then stand between the German Army and Paris. In military history, the two battles, and the separation of BEF’s I and II Corps at the Foret de Mormal were strategically of great importance. Mr. Bird’s book gives a detailed account of the fighting at Le Cateau.
In my novel, St. George and the Angels of Mons, angels join the fight at Mon, the Forest of Mormal, and  at Le Cateau. The novel will be published in May.