Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1914, Major Charles George Pack-Beresford, 1st Battalion, the Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent Regiment), was killed in action at Wasimes near Mons. It is noted in his biography that he fell not far from the field of Waterloo, where a distinguished ancestor won a great military achievement.
The son of a Justice of the Peace and Member of Parliament, and grandson of both Major-General Sir Denis Pack, K.C.B., and George Beresford, the first Marquis of Waterford, he was educated at Wellington College and then attended Sandhurst, joining the Royal West Kent Regiment in 1889. He served on the North-West Frontier of India and in the South African Wars, being Mentioned in Despatches and receiving the Queen’s Medal with four clasps. He was then Officer of a Company of Gentlemen Cadets at Sandhurst and went on to command the Depot of his regiment at Maidstone from 1910 to 1911.
A Lance-Corporal (un-named in the account) had been wounded at Mons and later gave his account of the fighting in which four officers, including Major Pack-Beresford, were killed: “We reached Mons the day before the battle. We at once commenced to entrench, and were still engaged on this work when the Germans fired their first shell, which wrecked a house about 20 yards away. We made loopholes in a wall near the house and remained there for 15 hours under heavy fire of shrapnel. The Germans came across the valley in front of us in thousands, but their rifle fire as they advanced was absolutely rotten, and much damage as they did was done by the big guns which covered their advance. Numerically the Germans were far superior to us, and as soon as one lot was shot down another took its place. We retired from Mons about 4 o’clock on Monday morning to a little village on the borders of France. We kept up a rear-guard action all the way, and it was in that I was wounded. A shell dropped close to me, and some fragments penetrated my left leg. I was thrown to the ground, and for a time lay unconscious. When I recovered I found my rifle and ammunition were missing, having, I suppose been taken by the Germans who evidently thought I was dead. I last saw Major Pack-Beresford, who was in charge of “B” Company, about an hour before he fell. He was leading his men to the top of a hill, and I heard him shout, as he rushed forward, “Come on, boys; they are all ours.”
Major Pack-Beresford is commemorated on the La Ferte-sous-Jouarre Memorial at Seine-et-Marne in France, and also on the Great War Memorial in Leighlinbridge, County Carlow.
Charles, from Bagenalstown, County Carlow in Ireland, was 45 years old.