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Brave Belgians

Brave Belgians
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Title: Brave Belgians
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Brave Belgians, by Camille Buffin, Translatedby Alys Hallard

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Title: Brave Belgians

Author: Camille Buffin

Release Date: December 21, 2018 [eBook #58509]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK BRAVE BELGIANS***

 

E-text prepared by Brian Coe, Graeme Mackreth,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
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Note: Images of the original pages are available through Internet Archive. See https://archive.org/details/cu31924027945017

 


 

 

 

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Brave Belgians

From the French of

Baron C. Buffin

By

Alys Hallard

Preface by

Baron de Broqueville

Belgian Minister of War

Awarded the Audiffred Prize by the French Academy ofMoral and Political Science

G. P. Putnam's Sons

New York and London

The Knickerbocker Press

1918

Copyright, 1918

BY

G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS

The Knickerbocker Press, New York

Foreword

St. Pierrebrouck.
January 15, 1916.

My dear Friend:

I am glad to hear that you have now completed the work you undertook ofcollecting, from our soldiers themselves, these accounts of the war.They will certainly help people to know, and to appreciate, what you sorightly call our heroic and valiant Belgium.

You could not have employed your talent and activity in a better way.As it is not yet possible to write the History of the tragic dayswe are living, it is highly necessary to collect the most strikingepisodes, and to prevent the loss of testimony to which posterity canappeal when it wishes to judge the men and things of our times. Theaccounts that you have collected so patiently help us to live overagain the whole campaign, from the startling revelation which theglorious days of Lige were for many of us, down to the hard momentsthrough which our army is passing in its victorious defence of the Yser.

"The determined resistance," our King called it in his memorable speechto Parliament. How we see this determined resistance in the magnificententhusiasm of our soldiers, arresting, around the Lige forts, thefirst wave of invaders, without troubling about the human torrentrolling onwards towards them from the whole of Germany! How we see it,too, in the tragic episodes of the invasion, in the bold adventures ofour volunteers, in those glorious deaths of which your book reminds us,deaths of which we cannot think without a pang at our hearts!

Your accounts prove to us how the unanimous will of the nationgalvanised the army and how the example of our chiefs, from the Kingdown to the merest sub-lieutenant, encouraged and brought about themost noble self-sacrifices. These accounts prove to us, thanks to manydetails of episodes lived through during these eighteen months of war,what a quantity of virtues our magnificent little army, brave andstudious as it is, held in reserve for the hour of danger.

Well-known figures and deeply regretted friends are evoked in thesepages by their sorrowful comrades. These rapid sketches, written incampaign diaries by those who shared the same dangers and sacrificedeverything to the same cause, have a special value. The modesty of theman who tells the story is still another homage rendered to the wholeCorps, and it is to the Army, to the traditional, disciplined, nationalforce, that our admiration goes out, when we read of the fine deedsdescribed in this book.

On reading it, the country will better understand the affection andrespect it owes to the soldier from whom it may demand, some futureday, all that those of our day have endured and given.

In your former book, you retraced for us the early life of Leopold I.,our first king. When I congratulated you on your conscientious work,in depicting for us the early days of the man who has very justly beencalled Leopold the Wise, I little thought that you would soon be thechronicler of the army of his grandson, acknowledged by the wholeworld, as the champion of loyalty and honour, the incarnation of anoppressed and valiant country.

How times have changed since then!

The horizon is brightening, though, and I hope that, in order tocomplete your work, you may be able to connect the past with thepresent and sketch for us the History of this gigantic struggle, inwhich the indomitable courage of the Belgians, led by Albert I., willhave preserved, for our country, the Independence, and the Liberty thatthe political spirit of our fathers had won for it under the reign ofLeopold.

Accept, my dear friend, my best wishes,

Broqueville.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I
The Defence of Vis 1
From the account given by Deputy Staff MajorCollyns of the 12th Line Regiment.
CHAPTER II
The First German Flag Taken 10
From the account given by Deputy Staff MajorCollyns of the 12th Line Regiment.
CHAPTER III
The Attack on the Offices of the 3rdDivision 17
From accounts by General Major Stassin, CommandersVinotte and Buisset, Captains Lhermite andRenard, Adjutant Burlet and Private Poncelet.
CHAPTER IV
The Sart-Tilman Combat 24
From an account given by Pre de Groote, ArmyChaplain to the 1st Regiment of UnmountedChasseurs, and completed by Major N—— of the4th Regiment of Unmounted Chasseurs.
CHAPTER V
The Retreat of the 800 34
By Captain —— of the 14th Line Regiment.
CHAPTER VI
Chaudfontaine 41
By Count Gaston de Ribaucourt, Sub-Lieutenant ofthe Heavy Howitzer Corps.
CHAPTER VII
Loncin Fort 51
From accounts by the Army Doctors: Maloens, ofthe 3rd Battery of Heavy Howitzers; Courtin, of the1st Chasseurs; Roskam, of the 14th Line Regiment;Defalle, Director of the Calais Municipal CrcheAmbulance; and Quartermaster Krantz, of theGendarmerie.
CHAPTER VIII
Haelen 63
By Colonel Baltia, Chief of Staff of the 1st CavalryDivision.
CHAPTER IX
The Budingen Combat 77
Death of Lieutenant Count W. d'Ursel. By Colonelde Schietere de Lophem, Commander of the 4thLancers.
CHAPTER X
Aerschot 87
From the report of Captain Commander Gilson, commandingthe 4th Company of the 1st Battalion ofthe 9th Line Regiment.
CHAPTER XI
A Few Episodes of the Retreat of Namur 96
By Captain Paulis, Artillery Commander.
CHAPTER XII
Death of Corporal Trsignies 113
From the account given by First Sergeant-Major ——of the 2nd Regiment of Unmounted Chasseurs.
CHAPTER XIII
The First Attack of the Retrenched Campof Antwerp 116
By Father Hnusse, S.J., Army Chaplain to the 84thArtillery Battery.
CHAPTER XIV
The Re-Taking of Aerschot 122
By Sub-Lieutenant Ch. Dendale of the 7th LineRegiment.
CHAPTER XV
A Fine Capture 127
By Staff Deputy Captain Courboin.
CHAPTER XVI
The Second Sortie from Antwerp 131
Episode of the Battle before Over-de-Vaert (Haecht).By Lieutenant L. Chardome of the 14th LineRegiment.
CHAPTER XVII
The 1st Regiment of Lancers 140
By Staff Deputy Colonel E. Joostens.
CHAPTER XVIII
The Termonde Bridge 150
By an officer of the 4th Artillery Regiment.
CHAPTER XIX
The No. 7 Armoured Car 155
By Sub-Lieutenant G. Thiery, of the 1st Regiment ofGuides, in command of the group of armoured carsof the 1st Cavalry Division.
CHAPTER XX
The Wavre-St. Catherine Combat 169
By Sub-Lieutenant Henroz, in command of the 1stCompany of the 1st Battalion of the 2nd Regimentof Fortress Carabineers.
CHAPTER XXI
The Death-Struggle of Lierre Fort 184
By an officer of the garrison.
CHAPTER XXII
Prisoner in the Soltau Camp 197
From the account given by Amand Hasevoets, FirstSergeant of the Regiment of Fortress Grenadiers.
CHAPTER XXIII
The Last Fragments of Antwerp 209
By Artillery Captain M—— C——.
CHAPTER XXIV
Tournai 228
By General-Major Frantz.
CHAPTER XXV
Dixmude 236
From an account given by Ernest Collin, a private ofthe 12th Line Regiment, and completed by ErnestJob, a corporal in the same regiment.
CHAPTER XXVI
Eight Days in Dixmude 256
Extracts from the Diary of an Artillery Observer, byF. de Wilde of Brigade B (formerly 12th Brigade).
CHAPTER XXVII
Four Hours with the Boches 271
From the Diary of Dr. van der Ghinst, of the Cabour(Adinkerque) Military Ambulance, and an accountgiven by Lon Deliens, Private of the 11th LineRegiment.
CHAPTER XXVIII
The Tervaete Charge 283
By Artillery Captain M—— C——.
CHAPTER XXIX
A Reconnaissance 287
From the Diary of Father Hnusse, S.J., Chaplain ofthe 84th Battery.
CHAPTER XXX
The Irony of Fate 295
By M. Sadsawska, Civic Guard, Motorcyclist of the1st Line Regiment.
CHAPTER XXXI
Observers 299
By Artillery Captain M—— C——.
CHAPTER XXXII
A Patrol 312
By Artillery Captain M—— C——.
CHAPTER XXXIII
The Death March 319
By Doctor Duwez, Army Surgeon to the Regiment ofGrenadiers.
CHAPTER XXXIV
Shelter D.A. 327
By Dr. Duwez, Army Surgeon to the Regiment ofGrenadiers.
CHAPTER XXXV
Steenstraete 337
By Dr. Duwez, Army Surgeon to the Regiment ofGrenadiers.
CHAPTER XXXVI
Lizerne 340
By Dr. Duwez, Army Surgeon to the Regiment ofGrenadiers.
CHAPTER XXXVII
Death of Sergeant Count Charles d'Ansembourg 344
By Dr. Duwez, Army Surgeon to the Regiment ofGrenadiers.
CHAPTER XXXVIII
A Guard on the Yser:—The Death Trench 350
By Corporal J. Libois, of the 12th Line Regiment.
CHAPTER XXXIX
Nieuport in Ruins 361
By Sub-Lieutenant L. Gilmont, Director of the AutomobilePark, Ocean Ambulance, La Panne.
CHAPTER XL
The St. Elisabeth Chapel 368
By Marcel Wyseur, Registrar to the Military Court.La Panne, August 26, 1915.

Brave Belgians


[Pg 1]

CHAPTER I

The Defence of Vis

From the Account Given by Deputy Staff Major Collyns of the 12thLine Regiment[1]

In order that the reader may have a connected idea with regard to theepisodes related in the following chapters, the main lines of thepreliminaries of the war must be remembered. On the 2nd of August,1914, at 7 P.M., Germany presented an ultimatum to Belgium.The Belgian Government replied at 7 A.M. the following daythat "it would resist, by all

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