Melvin Hurst, on 01 April 2012 - 07:05 AM, said:
I have attached one of the most widely published photographs of the events leading up to Mons, taken in the town square on 22nd August 1914. If the date is correct it must have been just before the soldiers moved up to take their positions along the Mons-Condé Canal near Nimy.
All captions I have seen state that the men are from A Company of the 4thbattalion of the Royal Fusiliers, who were indeed in that place at that time. Apart from its intrinsic interest as a record of the BEF prior to its first day of action, it is the man facing the camera in the centre who has always held a fascination for me. Many of the faces in photographs of this time don't stand out so clearly, perhaps because many of them were taken with the men wearing service caps, which tends to limit the overall image. This man appears full face, and it is hard to imagine that a friend or relative on seeing that photo wouldn't immediately recognize him. He might have been a regular or a recently recalled reservist, with aching feet from marching on the pavé roads. With hindsight we know what was in store for him, but was going through his mind –his face doesn't show.
Is there any way of identifying an ordinary soldier from such a photo? Were official company photographs taken prior to embarkation for France? If any could be found, might there be a way of identifying individual soldiers after all this time? It is very unlikely that the man in the photo came through the next four months unscathed, but it would be good to know what actually happened to him, out of interest and also as a tribute to what he and his comrades went through.
I am intrigued! If indeed this is 4th RF, then you are right: about 1500 casualties [all causes including PoW] up to end November.
However, there are myths about casualties ..... "death of an army" etc, which are belied by the take-up of the 1914 star to the living...... ie. men who survived all four years.