3461 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.
in Mons this pitiful crowd of civilians
was the first indication that the Germans
were within range. "We waited for the
advance of the Germans," says a British
officer; "some civilians reported to us
that they were coming down a road in
front of us. On looking in that direction
we saw, instead of German troops, a crowd
of civilians-men, women ,and children waving white handkerchiefs and being
pushed down the road in front of a large
number of German troops." "They came
on as it were in a mass," says another
British soldier, "with the women and children massed in front of them. The Germans seemed to be pushing them on, and
I saw them shoot down women and children who refused to march. Up to this
time my orders had been not to fire, but
when we saw women and children shot,
my sergeant said: 'It is too heartrending,'
and gave orders to fire, which we did."
"I saw the Germans advancing on hands
and knees towards our position," testifies
another Briton; "they were in close formation, and had a line of women and children in front of their front rank. Our
orders at that time were not to fire on
civilians in front of the enemy." A Belgian standing in a side-street saw six of
the victims shot by the Germans for trying
to get away. The Burgomaster of Mons
himself had been seized in the streets,
and was driven forward with 'the others.
The Germans renewed these cowardly
tactics on the other side of Mons, on August 24th, when the British were in retreat.
"They had collected a number of women
and children from the houses in the town,"
says a British soldier. "I could see that
the Germans had their bayonets fixed
and pointed at the backs of the women and