The first contact of the War was made by the 20th Hussars in Belgium on 21st August 1914.
On 4th August 1914, Britain declared war on Germany, following The Kaiser’s declaration of war against France on 31st July. The 20th Hussars were mobilised from Colchester on 4th August. They disembarked at Le Havre on 17th August, not without incident, as Lieutenant Goodhart and two horses were dropped into the hold of the ship and Sergeant Lee’s horse escaped and swam ashore.
The 20th crossed into Belgium to Binche, 10 miles east of Mons. They arrived in Binche on the night of 21st August, joining the 5th Cavalry Brigade only seventeen days after they had been mobilised. Orders were given for patrols to be sent out at 4 am. Lieutenants Goodhart and Thomson led their twelve-man patrols to Seneffe and Godarville respectively.
Goodhart’s patrol saw a troop of German cavalry dismounted, with a mounted patrol some 30 strong. Dismounting his patrol, Goodhart took position in a ditch and ordered his men not to fire until he gave the word. However, one of his men fired too early, warning the enemy when they were 300 yards (metres) away. Goodhart’s patrol moved out quickly. They subsequently ran into a patrol of Uhlans (German lancers) One of them chased Goodhart, who drew his revolver and tried to shoot him at about two horse’s lengths behind him, but discovered he had neglected to load his revolver. His fast polo pony won the race and he regained the protection of his patrol.