Gwilym Games, “The Bowmen and The Angels of Mons – A Legend of The Great War

Swansea Libraries

01/08/2015 2:00pm - 01/08/2015 3:00pm

Talk Lecture

Swansea Central Library
Civic Centre
Oystermouth Road

Website: http://

In August 2014 the Town of Mons in Belgium commemorated the beginning of the war and The Battle of Mons by a huge 3D light and sound display focused around the theme of Angels. In Northern Ireland an new war memorial featuring the Angels of Mons has just been erected. All this shows how the wild rumours of Angels descending from heaven and saving British troops at the battle of Mons which spread in Britain in the spring of 1915 still resonate today.

A key role was played by the Welsh writer, Arthur Machen and his short story, The Bowmen, which Machen claimed inspired all these stories. “The Bowmen” first published in a newspaper in September 1914, was published in a bestselling book in August 1915.

In this illustrated talk expert Gwilym Games will look at how these strange tales inspired sermons, pamphlets, songs and even a film in 1915, and explore why some people in Britain were so ready to believe angels fought for them and why some still believe it today. Was there any basis to the stories at all or are they the product of wartime hallucinations, rumours or even the product of British propaganda?