Landrécies, 25 August 1914
Oil on canvas by William Barns Wollen (1857-1936), 1915.
The street-fighting in the outskirts of Landrécies, a town north-west of Le Cateau in Northern France, took place during the night of 25-26 August 1914, in the early part of World War One (1914-1918).
The combatants were the advancing German 14th Infantry Brigade and the 4th (Guards) Brigade, withdrawing during the retreat from Mons. Meeting by chance, the two opposing units fought tentatively throughout the evening. The Germans eventually set light to straw-stacks near the British position with incendiary bombs, and the light from the flames can be seen in the painting over the rooftops in the distance. After midnight a howitzer of the British 60th Battery was brought up in support at close range and soon silenced the German guns, after which the enemy withdrew.
Eventually, however, the Germans retook Landrécies and it remained behind German lines until the final advance by the Allies in 1918. It was liberated on 4 November by the 25th Division under its General Officer Commanding, General Sir Ronald Charles, to whom there is a memorial in the town, on the bridge over the River Sambre.
NAM Accession Number
National Army Museum, Out of Copyright
National Army Museum, Study collection