On 23rd August 1914 both the English and German forces believed they had witnessed a miracle. Some saw St George and a legion of bowmen others said that angels had surrounded the English in a wall of protection. Whether it was divine or supernatural intervention or not, the fact remains that the heavily outnumbered British Expeditionary Forces were being forced to retreat under heavy fire. Something turned the tide.
A further tale has it that a group of soldiers belonging to the Coldstream Guards got lost in the Mormal Forest and became aware that they were close to being discovered until a tall, slim female figure appeared to them. She wore a white flowing gown and appeared to be glowing. The soldiers followed her across a field where she showed them a hidden road which allowed them to escape.
Arthur Machen, a Welsh author, published a short story entitled “The Bowmen” on 29th September 1914 and insisted that this was the inspiration for the story of the Angel of Mons, but would this story spread far enough to account for the tales told by English and overseas forces alike?
One of the other ideas to account for the tales is that fog and rain caused unusual cloud formations or poor visibility that gave rise to unusual sightings, but this can be discounted since the sun came out from around 10 am that day.
I have used this enduring piece of folklore in Blackfeather to place Ash at a a turbulent time in history where his path crosses not only with one of Kate’s previous lives, but also at a crucial moment for Kate’s Great Grandfather. By saving Arthur Parkes’ life Ash ensures Kate’s birth in the future – the discovery shocks him. Perhaps someone should have explained to him that time is a big ball of wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff 🙂
You can read a more in-depth investigation of The Angel of Mons by Alan S. Coulson MD, PhD. and Michael E. Hanlon here. They even include pictures, maps and theories on the legend.