26 August 2014 : 10.30 onwards : religious service, march-past and presentation of arms, wreath-laying, speeches, lighting of the eternal flame
Le Cateau War Memorial, chemin de Reumont
On this beautiful sunny day, the British gunners were dazzled by the August sunshine. For the first time they were taking part in a battle in France, in the Selle valley. After the Battle of Mons in Belgium, the British and the Belgians pulled back to Le Cateau Cambrésis. General Smith Dorrien, in charge of the British Expeditionary Force, had six German divisions on his heels. Contrary to orders received from headquarters, he decided to turn round and fight. The battle, fought under a heavy leaden sun, lasted for three quarters of the day, 40,000 British soldiers were involved and 8 to 9000 were killed or wounded. It was the first battle the British had fought in France.