Was it St. George? St. Michael? Multiple accounts testified to a heavenly host on the fields of France in August 1914.
Nations and their armies have often gone to war believing “God is on our side.” In a little-known incident at the outset of World War I, that sentiment seemed to have been visibly affirmed for a number of British soldiers.
In early August 1914, soon after tensions on multiple fronts and levels erupted into war, Great Britain dispatched the British Expeditionary Force to counter the German invasion of Belgium. The Germans had their sights on Paris, and the BEF met the German Army at the Belgian town of Mons, southwest of Brussels.
The BEF was vastly outnumbered but fought valiantly against the forces of the Second Reich. Unfortunately, they could not hold the line. As they retreated, the Germans pursued them.
By August 26, the two sides engaged in fierce battle at Le Cateau, France. Multiple British fighters swore later that they witnessed celestial intervention against the German onslaught.
“Some Tommies swore it had been St. George, the warrior saint of England,” writes historian Robert Barr Smith on the website Warfare History Network, reproduced at The National Interest. “Others said it might have been St. Michael, since he carried a gleaming sword. A few said they couldn’t tell, but it had definitely been an angel, maybe more than one. Some men were sure they had seen three wonderful, tall figures towering above the smoke and dust of the battlefield. For others it had been a brilliant light, a golden aura against a brilliant sky, or a cloud in which indistinct but heroic figures had come and gone, aided by phantom archers from the olden days of the English warrior-kings. Whatever it was, the soldiers agreed, it had saved their lives. No amount of civilian scoffing would ever change that.”