August 1914 – Surrender at St Quentin

August 1914 - Surrender at St Quentin

The great retreat of the British Expeditionary Force from Mons in August 1914 is one of the most famous in military history, and it is justly celebrated. But not all the British soldiers who were forced back by the German offensive performed well.

Two colonels, Elkington and Mainwaring, tried to surrender rather than fight on, and were disgraced. This is their story. It is one of the least glorious and most revealing episodes in the record of the British Army during the conflict on the Western Front.

In this compelling account John Hutton shows, in graphic detail, the full confusion of the retreat, and the dire mental state to which brave men can be reduced by extreme stress, uncertainty and fatigue. But he also describes how Elkington redeemed himself.

He joined the French Foreign Legion, fought gallantly, was severely wounded and was reinstated by King George V. His is one of the more remarkable stories to come out of the Great War, as is the story of the attempted surrender at St Quentin itself.

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