The great retreat of the British Expeditionary Force from Mons in August 1914 is one of the most famous in military history, and it is justly celebrated. But not all the British soldiers who were forced back by the German offensive performed well. Two colonels, Elkington and Mainwaring, tried to surrender rather than fight on, and were disgraced. This is their story. It is one of the least glorious and most revealing episodes in the record of the British Army during the conflict on the Western Front. In this compelling account John Hutton shows, in graphic detail, the full confusion of the retreat, and the dire mental state to which brave men can be reduced by extreme stress, uncertainty and fatigue. But he also describes how Elkington redeemed himself. He joined the French Foreign Legion, fought gallantly, was severely wounded and was reinstated by King George V. His is one of the more remarkable stories to come out of the Great War, as is the story of the attempted surrender at St Quentin itself.
John Hutton is the Member of Parliament for Barrow and Furness, and he is a former Secretary of State for Defence. His special interest in the Great War, which was inspired by the men he met in his constituency who served in the conflict, led to his first book with Pen and Sword "Kitchener's Men: The King's Own Royal Lancasters on the Western Front 1915-1918."