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The Angel Of Mons

buschmasterbuschmaster Member Posts: 14,255 ✭✭✭
edited December 2007 in General Discussion
1914: GUARDIAN ANGEL OF THE COLDSTREAM GUARDS
Among the paranormal phenomena of the early Twentieth Century are the numerous and strange reports of "the angels of Mons."

During the opening weeks of World War I, on August 23, 1914, the Allies were under heavy German attack in western Belgium. General Sir John French, commander of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), learned that General Lanrezac's Fifth French Army was retreating from the Ardennes back into France. The BEF had no choice but to follow suit and "accept the hazards of a long retreat."

"The BEF withdrew skillfully without the loss of one gun, but the troops were puzzled and worried by a retirement that made little sense to them for they thought they were winning."

"When the British reached the Mormal Forest...they split into two corps and passed on either side of it, not knowing there was a sheltered road through it that would have afforded cover to at least one corps. It was during part of this movement that" the Coldstream Guards "experienced their astonishing encounter with the Angel of Mons."

"When the (BEF) retreat started, the Coldstream Guards were the last to be withdrawn, and in the half-light of a false dawn they became lost and wandered about trying to make contact" with other Allied forces. "When it was obvious they were completely out of touch, they dug in, determined to make another stand with the daylight."

"'Wot the 'ell are we retreatin' for?' one Guardsman is said to have demanded."

"'How should I know? We're probably goin' to attack 'em in the rear.'"

"'I was having a glorious time,' another grumbled, 'Just like knocking down a set of skittles.'"

"'Well, it looks like we're in a fine mess 'ere. Nobody seems to know where we are.'"

"At that moment, when one of the Guardsmen looked up to make certain his digging (foxhole in the USA--J.T.) lined up with that of the next man, he noticed a warm glow just ahead. For a second he thought someone was moving about with a farm lantern."

"'Who's that messin' about out there, carrying a light, the damn fool!?'"

"'Some bloody-fool French farmer.'"

"'We ain't in France. This is Belgium, so they tell me.'"

"'Who knows?...Coo! Look at that!'"

"The glowing nimbus moved in closer and the Coldstreamers perceived the dim outline of a female figure. As it became more distinct, they decided they were looking at an angel. It looked exactly like any angel they had ever seen in a regimental chapel: tall, slim and wearing a white flowing gown. She had a gold band around her hair and (Middle) Eastern sandals on her feet, a pair of white wings were folded against her slim back."

"'Crikey!' one of the Guardsmen gasped, 'What sort of game is this?'"

"'She's beckoning to us,' another muttered slowly."

"'What's she want?' the first Guardsman inquired tonelessly."

"No question about it, the angel was inviting them to follow her. She moved closer to the digging and her signal was more insistent."

"No one remembers who first crawled out of the narrow slots, but one by one the Coldstreamers lined up, after hauling out their rifles and entrenching tools, and followed the glowing figure across an open field."

"'Did you ever read about anything like this in your Sunday-school papers?' a puzzled Tommy asked over his shoulder."

(Editor's Note: Tommy is UK slang for a British soldier, comparable to the terms grunt or G.I. in the USA--J.T.)

"'Keep moving, and ask no questions.'"

"The angel moved on, her right hand still making that inviting gesture until she came to a half on the upper rim of a sunken road."

"The Guardsmen looked down in surprise. 'How did she know the road was here? It wasn't here (before) when we tried to get out of this mess,' one of them said, 'Bloody funny to me.'"

"'You're right, chum. I was leading the patrol that went out this way. We was lookin' for a pathway like this, but it wasn't here then,' a young corporal insisted."

"'Well, 'ere it is now. Come on.'"

"The vision led the way until all of the Coldstreamers reached the end of the sunken road, then she floated up the bank and pointed toward a covering copse (cluster of woods) a dozen yards away. She smiled--and vanished."

"Not questioning this strange visitation, the Guardsmen were gratified to escape and join the other British forces. Within a few days, the story had trickled all along the front, and for a time the Angel of Mons was accepted as a friendly token of the Almighty."

"What made the story more puzzling was that no one ever found that sunken road again."

Both the Coldstream Guards and the Royal Engineers pored over every map of western Belgium that they could lay hands on, even ancient maps held by the University of Antwerp. But they could not find a map showing the mysterious sunken road revealed by the angel.
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