The British casualties
Admirable behaviour of the troops
It now appears that the French armies have never held the line of the Meuse and Sambre in any strength and Namur prior to the fall was practically isolated, and that, of the fighting of which we have accounts, the French did the attacking.
Except on the extreme left in the neighbourhood of Mons where the British successfully resisted the efforts of a much superior force of the enemy to turn that flank and only fell back at the express command of the generalissimo.
The plan of retiring step by step if that is the correct interpretation of the allies’ strategy, would deprive the enemy of the chance of striking a decisive blow and getting their armies back in time to meet the Russians. This may be no more than surmise based upon indications which may be misleading.
What seems clear is that the Allies have not been driven from their defensive positions, they have merely failed to drive the Germans out if theirs. A vigorous offensive may yet be resumed. The British casualties are estimated to excess 2,000 and we may have to go back to the Crimean war to find that number exceeded in one battle.
Kitchener’s message to British troops in the House of Lords Lord Kitchener said the present conflict would strain the resources of the Empire and entail considerable sacrifices on the people.
Our troops had been for 36 hours in contact with a superior force of Germans and had maintained the tradition of the British soldiers.
Sir John French had telegraphed ‘British force in best spirits’ Lord Kitchener replied ‘Congratulate troops on splendid work, we are all proud of them’. Sir John French estimated that there were rather more than 2,000 casualties.
Comrades in arms
French and British troops engaged
Official communique – on the east of the Meuse our troops advanced through very difficult country. They were vigorously attacked on emerging from the woods and obliged to retire after a very sharp fight to the south of Lemons.
On the order of General Joffee the French and British troops had taken up covering positions which they would not have quitted had not a fine effort by the Belgians allowed them to enter Belgium.
They are intact. The cavalry in no way suffered, the artillery asserted its superiority. Officers and soldiers are in the best condition, physically and morally. The struggle will change the aspect during the next few days for the French army will remain only a short time on the defensive and at a moment chosen by the Commander in Chief, it will resume a vigorous offensive.
Our losses are considerable. It would be premature to estimate those of the German army which nevertheless suffered to such an extent that it was obliged to cease the counter-attack in order to establish itself in fresh positions.