– HEDLEY MALLOCH – “ THE KILLING OF THE IRON TWELVE”
Between October 1914 and February 1915, the village of Iron, Aisne, France, sheltered eleven members of the BEF left behind during the retreat to the Marne. Eventually they were betrayed, and shot by the Germans in Guise Château before being buried in graves they had been forced to dig for themselves. In this talk I will tell of the soldiers’ arrival Iron, their lives in the village and how they were twice betrayed. The focus will then switch to the Germans: who they were and the prevailing German military culture which enabled them to act with such extreme brutality. An unanswered question is whether or not there was a 12th British soldier who escaped at the last minute and, if so, who was he? The talk will conclude with an account of the dreadful, heart-wrenching fates of the French families who helped them.