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Belgian/French Resistance 1914-1918


NeilEvans
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I've read various accounts of men evading capture due to Belgian families in 1914. However, surely there would have been some resistance movement???

If so, are there any decent books on Belgian/French resistance in the occupied territories?

Neil

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The opportunities for large-scale resistance akin to the Maquis of WW2 were very limited, but there is a book called 'A Foreign Field' by Ben MacIntyre (Harper Collins paperback) that tells the 'true story' of four British soldiers, cut off in enemy-occupied territory in 1914, who were sheltered in a French village until betrayed in 1916. Someone will perhaps now leap in and establish that it isn't true, after all – but, true or not, it would certainly make a nice Anglo-French film.

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You should also read German Atrocities 1914 A History of Denial by John Horne and Alan Kramer, published by Yale University Press in 2001 [iSBN: 0 300 08975 9]. I believe it is now also available in paperback. It gives a documented history of instances of Belgian resistance - real and imagined - and the German reprisals which followed in 1914.

ciao,

GAC

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I've read various accounts of men evading capture due to Belgian families in 1914. However, surely there would have been some resistance movement???

If so, are there any decent books on Belgian/French resistance in the occupied territories?

Neil

Neil,

You could give "The Secrets of Rue St Roch: Intelligence Operations Behind Enemy Lines in the First World War," by Janet Morgan, a try. My wife bought it for me as a present, and though a bit out of my area of interest I read the entire book and enjoyed it. It does cover work done in Luxembourg especially.

Paul

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One question that I do not understand and only barely perceive is that there seems to be two Belgian histories of the war and especially Belgium in 1914 and later, the French-speaking Walloon perception, and the Flemish/Dutch speaking Flemish take on these matters. In 1914 Belgium was almost entirely dominated by the Walloons, and the Flemish were badly discriminated against. I am transliterating/translating a detailed diary of a NCO in my grand-father's army corps, which took Antwerp, and I am seeing a very complex picture of events, especially in the relations between the Germans and the Belgian civilians. Frequently Belgians were friendly to the Germans, for example coming out and giving them water and fruit for free as they marched thru towns (probably Flemish; he states that their language "was a lot like ours"; i.e., Flemish/Dutch). Other times, frequently, they were fired on by Belgian civilians, and he describes this, and the reprisals that followed. (My grand-father's letters from

Belgium and his oral history are full of his reporting these attacks; once he had to jump out of his staff car and crawl under it for cover from snipers, displeasing him greatly. He described Belgian atrocities, and also German reprisals that, without any detail, seem excessive. He hated the campaign in Belgium, especially being in cities, which he described as: "powderkegs; you can be shot at any second." He also said: "half of these people are crazy".)

Dunn's The War the Infantry Knew, one of the best British personal narratives of the war, IMHO, repeatedly described the French in Belgium shooting Flemish civilians in Flanders in 1918, including people he knew. The reasons were sometimes rediculous, like plowing with white horses (almost all Belgian plowhorses were white, unlike France), or hanging out wash, which the French assumed was signalling to the Germans. Other evidence of an issue was an occassion in 1932, I believe, where Belgian Walloons built a memorial to supposed Belgian martyrs, but before the memorial could be dedicated, Belgian Flemish blew up the memorial with dynamite. What was that about?

I was recommended a Belgian semi-official history on the war, entitled (in translation) The German Invasion, a large, elaborate book, and reading it, it was not apparent that there actually were any Flemish in Belgium. Also, there was not, as far as I could see in some determined skimming, any mention of military matters, it was say 400 pages of atrocity stories, some probably true, some seemingly fantastic and fabricated. There was a suppoed letter from a German to a brother on another front, it stated: "Yes, it is hard work, crucifying and bayonetting people, but we do it with a happy heart!" (from memory, but close) and lots more in that vein, but of course in French, no date, no names, place-names, no explaination of how the Belgians got this letter, nor how it got past german censors, true or not.

Now Belgium seems to be slowly splitting, I think that they were unable to decide on a PM for something like 15 months; the former down-trodden Flemish are now both more numerous and richer than the Walloons, and are engaged in pay-back, it seems. The written material on WW I from that era is, I believe, 100% from the Walloon position, doubly so (small joke) from the English-language material, much written for swaying opinion in the US and Canada.

I can remember a Belgian, an astonishing full-time student of WW I who works in six languages, Flemish, published author, disputing the narrative of 1914 held by some UK pals, and his being literally driven out of this Forum by the fury of people who could not read any of the primary languages of the history of the period.

I wish I had a better grasp of this, I just perceive an interesting divergance here. If Belgium does split, a study of the school books in the two new states would be interesting. Just be aware of the fact that if you are reading the history of the place and era, especially in English and/or in materials published during the war, you are reading the Walloon narrative, true or fabricated. I have a 400 page book (in Flemish/Dutch) by the Belgian I mentioned above, I should break down and read it. Having English and German, the Flemish is not too hard to get thru

Bob Lembke

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There are one or two volumes published just after the war that cover some of the cross frontier work done by civilians but I just can't remember the titles (sorry.....)

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There was certainly a very active Belgian resistance in the years after 1914 but this was very much a "secret army" type of affair (for those who remember the BBC TV WW2 drama series) mainly involved in helping escapees, downed airmen etc and intelligence gathering (just as in the next world war). There was a thread on the subject on this forum more than a year ago and BBC radio 4 did a half hour programme on the subject earlier this year with archive recordings of some of the participants. A number of men and women captured were shot. Resistance members were both Walloon and Flemish (the latter didn't like their country being invaded either).

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I do remember reading a book that dealt primarily with Allied intellgence in WW1, which described how the German's policy of reprisal ensured the Belgians took little active measures in terms of armed action - IIRC, the King ordered Belgian citizens not to take up arms in occupied Blegium - but which had them queuing up to join spy rings. The author mentions that there were over 70 operating in Belgium by war's end. But - I can't remember the title or the author!

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Hi Mick,

I read the book you mention sometime ago & thought it an excellent description, alas not read frequently according to my library, true or not it's a good read.

Colin

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Maybe its helps ...

from the flyer

CURRENTLY AT THE MUSEUM :

18 May - 17 Nov 2008 : Exhibition

Are you sure you know who Edith Cavell or Emilienne Moreau were?

Nowadays, the word Resistance suggests the sacrifices of the Second World War fighters, and people have forgotten about the women and men who fought occupation in Belgium and Northern France as soon as 1914. If you would like to learn a bit more about these brave patriots of yore, come and visit our new exhibition, « Resistants of the Great War ». «The Resistants of the Great War»

for more information: www.ville-bondues.fr/musee

but I don't have visited the exhibition for the moment.

marc

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as information: exhibitions & other activities in the sign of the great war.

see also once on www.cg59.fr

about "C'était le Nord en 14-18" (it was north into 14-18 - 90 years afer..., the departement remembers...)

see www.cg59.fr >>> go to musées

marc

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Ahhhhh...59.Magic number indeed.

'This was Northern France during the'14/18 war'.

Visit the site as there are lots of things to see.

Vive le schnord!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Neil,

Effectively, there were Resistance movements in the occupied territories in northern France. I think that this resistance is based more on sheltering, evasion and inteligence networks rather than acts of violence against the German army. There is no or little evidence of violence from french civilians against German troops in the occupied territory except in the first days of the invasion. The killing of a German soldier was repressed mercilessly by Germans.

It is necessary to say that the German army still remembered acts of the French " francs tireurs " during the war 1870/1871.Any French Male could possibly be a "franc tireur".An excellent but very old book speaks about the occupation of Valenciennes during the first world war.(Valenciennes-Occupation allemande-1914-1918/René Delame, 1933) The author evoke the French acts of resistance there, as the evasion of the Lieutenant Bushell(2nd Dragoon Guards) and his men after the fall of Maubeuge and the fights near Le Cateau. He deals with the role of the prince and the princess of Croÿ, and the role played by Edith Cavell and others.

It is necessary to know also that to make sure the obedience of the French people, The Germans took hostages whom they sent to Germany.

Emmanuel.

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  • 7 months later...
Hi Neil,

Effectively, there were Resistance movements in the occupied territories in northern France. I think that this resistance is based more on sheltering, evasion and inteligence networks rather than acts of violence against the German army. There is no or little evidence of violence from french civilians against German troops in the occupied territory except in the first days of the invasion. The killing of a German soldier was repressed mercilessly by Germans.

It is necessary to say that the German army still remembered acts of the French " francs tireurs " during the war 1870/1871.Any French Male could possibly be a "franc tireur".An excellent but very old book speaks about the occupation of Valenciennes during the first world war.(Valenciennes-Occupation allemande-1914-1918/René Delame, 1933) The author evoke the French acts of resistance there, as the evasion of the Lieutenant Bushell(2nd Dragoon Guards) and his men after the fall of Maubeuge and the fights near Le Cateau. He deals with the role of the prince and the princess of Croÿ, and the role played by Edith Cavell and others.

It is necessary to know also that to make sure the obedience of the French people, The Germans took hostages whom they sent to Germany.

Emmanuel.

Hi Emmanuel,

I actually have Bushell's medals.

While riding forward near Le Cateau on 26 August 1914, Bushell was caught behind the enemy lines and forced to hide in a ditch for three days. After, Bushell took command of a group of 35 British and French soldiers from various regiments who were trapped and, with the help of local inhabitants, lived in the Mormal Forest for the next two months. Forced to flee, the group met Princess Marie de Croÿ at the Château de Bellignies. The princess agreed to hide Bushell but on the advice of Captain C. O’D. Preston, Royal Artillery (also hiding at the château) surrendered the others to a nearby Red Cross hospital. Bushell and Preston remained at the château until December 29 when they escaped via Brussels with the help of the princess’s brother and Louise Thuliez. After his escape, Bushell returned to the Queen’s Bays and served with them until resigning on 21 April 1920.

In addition to his own 19-page account published in "A History of the Queen’s Bays", the events surrounding Bushell’s 4-month odyssey are recounted in "War Memories" by Princess Marie de Croÿ and "Condamnée à mort" (Condemned to Death) by Louise Thuliez. Both women were later tried and convicted by German court for their roles in aiding Allied evaders.

However, I've never heard of "Valenciennes-Occupation allemande-1914-1918". Do you know if this is simply retelling the accounts in "War Memories" and"Condamnée à mort", or does the information from the book you mention come from a different source?

Thanks,

Barney

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  • 3 months later...

Hi Barney,

The book of René Delame is one of the books written after the war to tell the story of many cities and town in Northern France during German occupation in WW1. The author was a member of the city council of Valenciennes. He knew very well Princess de Croÿ and miss Thuliez. He told the story of Lieutenant Bushell in some of the pages of his book. I've scanned the first page with the dedication. Here is the translation: "In memory of the heroic Captain Bushell who after being hidden in the Mormal forest with his men surrounded by the Germans managed to cross the Dutch border to continue the fight in the Yser front".

If you want I can translate the pages in which René Delame told the story of Captain Bushell. I'm on hollidays in the end of the week, I will have some time to do so.

Emmanuel.

post-38223-1251661684.jpg

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Hello all. I just had a look at the posts and this got me searching and, I came up with subject on the underground press in occupied Belgium.

The Secret Press in Belgium by Jean Massart and dated 1918

http://www.archive.org/details/secretpressinbel00massrich

Perhaps it will shed some light on the subject of Belgian resistance during the conflict.

Joe

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Hi Barney,

The book of René Delame is one of the books written after the war to tell the story of many cities and town in Northern France during German occupation in WW1. The author was a member of the city council of Valenciennes. He knew very well Princess de Croÿ and miss Thuliez. He told the story of Lieutenant Bushell in some of the pages of his book. I've scanned the first page with the dedication. Here is the translation: "In memory of the heroic Captain Bushell who after being hidden in the Mormal forest with his men surrounded by the Germans managed to cross the Dutch border to continue the fight in the Yser front".

If you want I can translate the pages in which René Delame told the story of Captain Bushell. I'm on hollidays in the end of the week, I will have some time to do so.

Emmanuel.

Hi Emmanuel,

Thank you, it would be wonderful if you could send a translation of the pages mentioning Captain Bushell. I just picked up an English translation of Louise Thuliez's Condamnée à mort. I've had the original volume in French for some time but only recently discovered that there is an English language version. I've attached a photo of Bushell.

I tried sending you a Private Message with my direct e-mail address but this was rejected.

Best wishes,

Barney

post-9817-1251670148.jpg

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Hi Barney,

Here is my translation of the of the pages mentioning Captain Bushell in René Delame's book. I hope this translation will not be too rough.

This is the first part: the stay in the Morma forest. I will soon translate the escape of Lieutenant Bushell an Captain Preston in Holland.

Remember that this story is told by a witness of the events that occured. It is Lieutenant Bushell's story viewed by another angle.

ESCAPE OF MEN AND PRISONERS THEIR ARRIVAL IN HOLLAND

STAY OF THE ENGLISH IN THE MORMAL FOREST

(from August 25th till November 12th, 1914)

After the fast retreat of the French and English troops decimated in the battle of Charleroi, then in the battle of Le Cateau, numerous allied soldiers not willing to surrender, tried to find their respective army corps. The neighborhood of Bavay and Le Quesnoy, with the Mormal forest, offered to the escapees a convenient place allowing them to hide more easily; but they did not think that this stay in the forest was going to go on in circumstances made precarious for them and for the civilians. The odyssey of some of these soldiers, which aroused many heroic deeds, deserves to be told, especially that it is ignored by most of our fellow countrymen.

Several groups formed at the beginning: the one of Maroilles, who was helped by the forest warden Mr Taisne, Alfred Rousseau and the Maillard family; the one of Salesches by the Priest Deschoet; the one of Romeries by Mr Bisieaux; the one of Solesmes by the Abbot Flament and Mrs Ladent; the one of Obies, connected with Valenciennes, by Mr. Eugène Baron, his son Henri, and the Committee of provisioning of which I was the president.

But the persons who filled the the most mattering role in this odyssey were:

Mrs princess of Croy; the countess of Belleville; Misses Thuliez and Moriamé.

I am going to try to describe the long months of fear ( two and a half months) to which were forced these fugitives, and according to the reports of this heroines, the report of the captain Bushell, that of the forest warden Taisne, and according to my own notes.

I shall begin with the group of Obies, near Bavay and near Valenciennes.

Miss Thuliez, professor in Lille, had come spendind his holidays by his family, in Saint-Vaast-la-Vallée, where her friend, Miss Moriamé also lived, when the war was declared.

August 23rd, 1914, beating a retreat, an English regiment crossed the village at nightfall, abandoning some wounded persons who were lying on the straw in a room of the City hall.

The next day, at 9 in the morning, Miss Moriamé carried them in her house, with the help of M1le Thuliez, and having bandaged them, put a flag of Red Cross in the first floor of her house. It was time, because at noon, the first Germans arrived.

The commanding officer entered at Miss's Moriamé's, and found six wounded English soldiers. With a violent gesture, he discovered them to see if they were really hurt, and made them undergo an interrogation to have information on the battle of the day before, the number of the regiment and the road followed by the fugitives.

A few days later, wanting to see the enemy forces surrounding Maubeuge, I obtained a pass to look for the wounded persons who could be in the region. Having noticed in passing to Saint-Vaast the small flag of Red Cross, I decided to return there alone and, the next day, by going to Maubeuge to return wounded persons to our hospital, I decided to stop there.

Miss Thuliez opened very shyly the door; I reassured her. And so I met her and Miss Moriamé, without doubting our future relations. She taught me that in Obies, situated in 8 kilometres from her home, on the northern border of the Mormal forest, there was an Englishman hidden in an isolated house. I gave her the advice to send her wounded persons to join him, because they would not delay being arrested; she followed my advice as soon as they were cured of their wounds. And so the English people began to look for a refuge in the bushes of this vast forest.

26 - August, 1914, the English army beat a retreat, trying to stop the invader. One of the heroes of this odyssey, the lieutenant C.-H. Bushell 2nd D.G. of Queenns Bays, went on reconnaissance under the orders of the brigadier Briggs, commanding the 1st brigade of cavalry, in the neighborhood of Le Cateau, when he was surrounded by the enemy. Seeing itself to be taken, he hid in a train near the crossing of railroad of the village of Honnechy.

The German troops continued to pass and bivouac even very close to his hiding place, in which he stayed three days and three nights, without drinking nor eating.

At night of the third day, quiet seeming to return, lieutenant Bushell ( 1 ) went out of his hiding place and went to the village. Literally starving, he ventured into a farmer's small house, where he was very well welcomed. He began to eat, when this nice man came to warn him that the German troops arrived again.

He was hidden very fast during this night and the next day. He wondered which party to take, when a neighbour came to say to him that there was in a wood, near the village, three other English people. Judging that it was necessary of its duty to go to find them, he dressed upon his uniform civil clothes, and by means of his guide, he went to join them. He then met sergeant Taylor and the ten men of the 11th hussar, who were also in a very critical position.

Lieutenant Bushell took them under his orders, and he had the happiness to meet the mayor of Honnechy a patriotic support. This one provided them, then helped them to go out of their precarious situation.

During this time, the German troops continued to pass, what forced them to live six days in their hiding place, thinking of being able to reach Lille at the first bright period.

Taking advantage of a moment of calm, the small troop put itself in wheel at night of September 6th. Believing to arrive at Englefontaine before the day rise, they were again surprised by the Germans and they had to stop in the border of the Mormal forest, and hide during two days in an abandoned hut.

(1) Notes of lieutenant Bushell confided to the princess of Croy.

The forest warden Taisne having been informed about their presence, went to their hut and also his friend Alfred Rousseau, a professor in Maroilles, and both organized the provisioning of these fugitives. From day to day, the number of the escapees increasing, lieutenant Bushell, who took them under his orders, was not any more in safety. So, the warden Taisne forbids them the too frequent visits to the civilians, and indicated them a place to build huts in full copse.

At that moment, an incident occurred. One day, a well put Sir met the soldiers English and introduced himself as a French officer having a mission to be filled. He showed even papers of requisition of the place of Douai. It was a question of blowing up the bridge of Wassigny; Taisne attended the interview, and as this individual showed to whom wanted to see them cards and papers, he distrusted it; but lieutenant Bushell, who did not speak French, trusted him and promised his help. Fortunately, the warden Taisne arrived with foods.

Knowing this decision, he returned to his house, and spoke to Mr. Henri Cousin, brewer in Le Cateau, and sergeant escaped from Maubeuge, and to Mr Labbé, mayor of Solesmes, taken hostage and escaped the hands of the Germans during the attack of Le Cateau. These Sirs decided to make a walk in the forest to see this so-called officer. Mr Labbé recognized in this individual a man nammed Leclercq and nicknammed "bird dropping", of Briastre, near Solesmes.

In spite of this distrust, the small troop started at four o'clock in the evening, guided by Taisne, to go to the meeting by diverted paths. By a magnificent moonlight, they found the so-called officer who carried of a Mauser rifle. The Fifty men made a stop at the place called “Locquignol Calvary”.

Arrived there, this individual engaged them, to attack the post of Hachette to get weapons and ammunitions. It was half past ten. The forest warden succeeded in dissuading him from it.

But lieutenant Bushell who wanted to blow up the bridge, left with some men, accompanied with a soldier of the 26th Territorial still having his rifle, and which had order to kill the pseudo-officer in case of treason. But having been surprised by the German sentinels who fired at them, they had to give up their project. By returning to their camp, they met, towards midnight, in the copses of the " Big Pastures ", ten English soldiers who were very happy to find their fellow countrymen.

The warden Taisne settled them in a hut situated on the road of Raucourt, and, the small troop went at three o'clock in the morning into its camp, lieutenant Bushell regretting not having been able to blow up the bridge. The next day, the warden having met the individual who roamed, says to him that he knew his name, and since then, we did not see him again any more.

The number of the English increasing, the hut was not any more enough, and the warden having some wood, ferns and branches under the hand, made build an other one in a bigger copse, route Duhamel, adding it a kitchen with a fireplace made with clay The Irish Patrik, Joseph Cormelly and James Dorian occupied the small hut of Taisne, fifty metres from their companions.

The instruction in the camp was very severe, as it is showed by the small following incident. To celebrate the day of his wife, private James Dorian left with civil clothes to Rieux, where he drank and made noise.

The lieutenant having heard of it, made him look for and return to the hut. Judging that was needed an example, he made him bind to a tree during three days, leaving him free only at the hours of meal. The warden Taisne, Mr Cousin and Labbé, having asked for his grace, James Dorian was released in the morning of the third day.

The Evence-Maillard family, living in Paris, in coming for its holidays to Maroilles was surprised in its property of the Abbey, Madam Maillard of English nationality, joined, as well as all her family, to Mr Taisne and Rousseau to help the English soldiers in the Mormal forest.

Their daughter Betty having been able to go to Valenciennes where she stayed at Mr Daubresse's, Saint Jacques street, knew by Mrs Besnard that a service was organized by Miss Cavell for the passage of men.

Some weeks later, at nightfall while any circulation was forbidden in the municipality, Mr Maillard found at its door two women dressed in long coats, put on by black woolen caps. It was Miss Thuliez and Miss Moriamé who had come look for a passage for their seven English soldiers.

The arrival of these two unknown travelers, when any circulation was formally forbidden, making be afraid of a dangerous visit. So she offered them the hospitality only after very clear statements, and Miss Cavell's letter, offering the passage of the men hidden in the forest.

It is, during this first evening when was decided the departure of the English soldiers under the direction of Misses Thuliez and Moriamé for the Castle of Bellignies at Princess de Croy, and from there in Brussels at Miss Cavell.

Being able to meet lieutenant Bushell, Misses Thuliez and Moriamé spoke to him about princess Marie of Croy, and indicated to him on an Ordnance Survey map, a precise place where were hidden their seven English people.

Princess Marie de Croy, Belgian, but French of heart, lived peacefully in her castle of Bellignies with her old mother and her brother Reginald, when the war was declared.

She had organized an ambulance and looked after the French and German wounded soldiers, while hidind in the soldiers who had stayed in the region. Her behavior was admirable during all the war. So, every Frenchman has to have for her a big admiration.

Lieutenant Bushell, having heard that the Princess, been born Parnell, spoke perfectly English, confided a note to a girl who came to the provisioning.

This one hid it in her hair and left for Bellignies, where she put back it to Princess of Croy . Bushell begged her to come to its help, and to bring ammunitions, and especially a map. Naturally, the Princess was not reluctant, and went the next day to the meeting which the Lieutenant had assigned her, in a meadow of Englefontaine, where the girl had to join and guided them to the English soldiers.

On the way, she met Germans who addressed her. As she also spoke their language, they let her go. Already the Germans worrying about the presence of the English people in the forest had put notices in all the villages, threatening with death every person who would provide them.

So, before venturing into the forest .The Princess did not hide to the girl the danger which she ran. " I have just given my word to my father not to return to it any more, she answered ". Then, after one second of hesitation, and looking at the Princess in the eyes: " let us leave, she says, I am going to show you the road, I shall tell it then to my father ".

Both, bravely, went on the way, crossing the thick undergrowth, making least possible noise, when suddenly, two gunshots were fired near them. Frightened, they lie down and hide. They perceive a German officer who went hunting quietly and had not perceived them. The Princess could breathe again, because she carried hundred of cartridges and a map; continuing her road through wood, the girl soon stopped in front of a thick undergrowth and made sign: " it is here ". Nothing outside let see that men were hidden from it.

The Lieutenant had made build by his soldiers a trench with subterranean room to take refuge in case of alert there. The girl pulls a thread at the end of, which resounded a small little spherical bell.

Immediately arrived a sentinel who guarded the footbridge and says to them: " do not move, I am going to warn my chief ". The fictitious and invisible fortress consisted of three surrounding walls formed by threads not to be surprised unexpectedly.

The sentinel returned and says to the two fearless visitors: " Follow me ". Having crossed enormous blackberry bushes, they found in front of clog maker's hut lieutenant Bushell, impeccable in his uniform who salute them militarily.

" Is it you who had written to me asked for the Princess in English, what I may do for you? "

" Perfectly, answered the Officer, I asked for weapons, for cartridges not to be killed as dogs: we have only eleven rifles and some revolvers.”

The Princess having put back to him his precious burden, the Lieutenant honoured her of his camp, where thirty five men quietly played cards. Before leaving him, the Princess says to him that if the situation became worse, they could take refuge in her castle of Bellignies.

She held word, because at the risk of her life, she never abandoned them.

November 4th, 1914, Germans had organized a big hunting, also our English soldiers were alerted. In the morning the Lieutenant had confided to Taisne two of his men, Joseph Cornnely and James Dorian in civilian clothe to help him to bring back the provisioning which began to miss. The warden who was very watched, had left its hunting gun in the hut, thinking of taking it back in the afternoon.

He came back accompanied with his dog at three o'clock, with 18 kg. of bread, and both soldiers carrying foods: all three had put slippers not to make noise, and walked in single file.

The Lieutenant had big difficulties to find his way, and was obliged to stop repeatedly, because one of his men was seriously sick. They arrived finally at the crack of dawn at Obies, where they were happy to find the small group of which took charge Miss Thuliez. They had to stop there because the rain continuing to fall, her men were completely wet, and could not warm themselves.

And so Miss Thuliez and Moriamé, accompanying Mr. Henri Baron who brought of Valenciennes, some provisions, were surprised finding at Obies, thirty men instead of seven!

These ladies went then to Princess's de Croy's to examine with her the situation and organize the provisioning. They met Captain Preston there who, having escaped from Red Cross of Bavay, had come take refuge in the castle of Bellignies.

Following this visit, Miss Thuliez came to find me in Valenciennes (always without pass) on behalf of Princess de Croy, to ask to help her what I made very gladly.

Knowing the patriotic feelings of Mr. Eugène Baron and his son Henri, who was already in relations with Miss Thuliez, I could not find better aids. The escapees demanded provisions, collecting apples in the meadows during the night, to feed.

I also addressed another man of heart and dedication: Mr. Arthur Gabet, Manager of the food warehouse, who took, with my approval, some foods from the ration supplied to the population, keeping us good from speaking about it to whoever it is. Regrettably, a day when we transported a bag of rice at Mr Baron, the rice, escaped, so that we were able to follow in the track its destination. At once, it was a big emotion, and the population began shouting: " stop thief !". We have had very big difficulties to calm her.

In the middle of September 1914, a first sending of 250 kilos of diverse foodstuffs was loaded with in secret on Mr Baron's car, which was authorized to circulate within the 6th bavarian Army area to provide the butcher's shops.

The whole was to send this first sending, because Saint-Vaast-la-Flamengrie, being the limit of 6th (Bavarian) Army the traffic was very watched and became very precarious when it was a question of passing in the 2nd (Prussian)Army. They took Miss Thuliez on the way to Saint-Vaast to go to Obies. Having put down their reserves in clog maker's hut, had put the car under cover in a farm, they went on foot to the traffic circle, says "Cheval-Blanc", where were the English soldiers. The reception was warm, especially when they learnt, when, during the night, Miss Thuliez would go with some men to look for foodstuffs in the farm. Lieutenant Bushell honoured of his cagna, mode of this time, by branches and by strong leaves. We would have imagined, told me Mr Baron, in the aspect of six small huts arranged in circle around that of their leader and both non-commissioned officers, in a Senegalese village; all wore their uniform which they did not want to leave, with their weapons and their luggage.

During the two hours when Mr Baron spent with the English, they organized the provisioning for every Friday, Miss Thuliez guidind them. They left them comforted, then they returned at 8.30 in the evening to Valenciennes having gone through 46 kilometres without incident, and meaning to return soon.

Miss Thuliez having returned to the castle of Bellignies, to report her mission to Princess de Croy, was not able to refuse to the captain Preston to drive him in forest to see his fellow countryman the lieutenant Bushell.

They thus left the castle at 8 in the evening, by a small frost, leaves cracked, the captain followed his remote guide to avoid the sentinels. It was 9, when they arrived in Miss Thuliez's family in Saint-Waast-la-Vallée, after several alerts.

At ten o'clock in the evening, not to be seen by people of the village, the Captain and Miss Thuliez went out by the bottom of the garden to go in forest where they met Lieutenant Bushell at midnight. The interview was very moving, the captain taking this small troop under his orders, he advised to his lieutenant to change his camp place.

But it was necessary to leave. On the road, the captain says to his guide: " I leave you the care of staying up my men, you will be the captain of the troop, in case of danger, drive them to Bellignies! " It was 2 in the morning, when they returned in the castle and the fearless guide returned that very night to Saint-Waast-la-Vallée.

Miss Thuliez went to settle down in a small house in Obies, where from she returned every evening to her, beside to have assured the provisioning.

Miss Moriamé made the shuttle between the camp of the English people and the castle of Bellignies, bringing back the orders of the captain Preston.

But the Germans began to get excited of the presence of the English soldiers in the forest, They tightened the lines of suveillance, and published notices informing the population that the inhabitants giving asylum or protection to the soldiers being behind the lines would be summoned in front of a council of war and shot.

Frightened, the population did not want to lend any more its help for the transportation of the provisioning and Mr. Baron had all the more difficulties as the Kommandature restricted the traffic, the extreme limits being 17 kilometres from Valenciennes, almost half of the road.

Fortunately, Mr Baron obtained the complicity of a German soldier who was billeted in his house to make register on former pass the zones in which he wanted to go. The father and the son thus continued their mission, not without danger nor without fear, being often stopped and searched by the gendarmes.

For more tranquillity, they circulated between two hours and five o'clock in the morning, or at nightfall. One day, their description was given to stop them near Obies; fortunately, MlleThuliez warned them at time. As by a fortunate coincidence, Mr Baron had changed his white mare for another bay horse; the gendarme in charge of arresting him was deceived and did not dare to execute its order, but from this day, the provisioning became impossible.

1000 Germans encircled every portion of the forest making the manhunt. The Mayor of Locquignol, Mr Huvelle, was put in the wall during three days, with threat to be shot if the English soldiers fired at them.

It was the reign of terror and the situation of the unfortunates became more and more critical. As they were in a kilometre from the forest, it was impossible to them to hide in another forest square; so, Lieutenant Bushell decided to go to the invitation of Princess de Croy: Miss Thuliez and Moriamé had to drive them next night to the castle of Bellignies.

This last evening was exciting. Usually, the meal was brought at 5 am. Seeing nothing coming, all were worried, when at 8 am, arrived Miss Moriamé with the provisioning. She taught them that the German trackers were at 100 metres of them for a moment, that on the other hand, the German troops quartered in Obies to continue their manhunt the following morning.

There was not thus hesitation anymore, it was necessary to leave. Having gone to the village to see by where the small troop could go, Miss Thuliez returned at 10 in the evening in the forest, giving order to the English to put wool socks on their shoes, to make least possible noise, take reserves and to make disappear what could be compromising.

Well served by a pouring rain, thirty five men were on the way; but the moon having got up as they crossed the village, they had to stop during half an hour in a small alley waiting that it hide. In his report lieutenant Bushell writes:

" This night of November 12th, 1914 was really for me a historic night. We were driven by MissThuliez who knew perfectly the country. We walked through fields, avoiding the main road and leaving Bavay on the left. We arrived at 2.30 in the morning at the castle of Belli-gnies, without even a soul knew where we were, having taken many precautions not to make noise.

" The Princess did not wait for us. Thirty five men settled down in a small dependence, very comfortably, while I went to the castle. The first thing I made was to have a bath, the first one for three months, what was very pleasant to me.

" The next day, early in the morning, the Germans made, their last manhunt. Big was their disappointment and their anger when they did not find any more the English people whom they planned to capture. "

It was not the whole to arrive at the castle, it was now necessary to go out of it. The Princess sent me during the night her chambermaid who made the road of Bellignies toValenciennes, to ask me to go to her and to get her some subsidies for her men because she had exhausted all her resources. I naturally was not prayed.

November 20th, 1914. - the weather had put itself in the cold. I left early in the morning without pass by 10 ° below zero, driven by Henri Baron who had put some provisions in his car. The air was pure, and the ground covered with snow reflected the bluish tone of the sky.

In the entrance of villages, the old willows seemed to stand guard, wondering who dared to venture at the present time in the middle of the barbarians. Without problem we let us arrive at Bellignies. Henri Baron comes down to the priest Vallez putting his car under cover while I go to the castle.

The gardener took up good guarding, and opened a side of the door, because he watched for my arrival. The Princess without thinking of the danger that she ran, received me very kindly, and presented me Captain Preston, and Lieutenant Bushell, who wore civilian clothes and the linen which I had made them send of Valenciennes.

It would be impossible to me to tell this lunch, the memory of which will always remain profoundly engraved in my memory.

Everything was planned in case of alert. The gardener, of his changing room, gave the alarm, and at once both officers disappeared by a staircase hidden in the tower. It was impossible to discover them in the panelling. A cupboard being of use to the dishes hid the access.

Naturally, it was question during all this lunch only of the critical situation in which we were, and of the way of going out of it. During this time, Miss Moriamé and Thuliez went through the country, being travelling more than 50 kilometres in their day to realize if there was no means to cross the lines by the front, and to get back to the French troops.

Captain Preston, was of opinion to avoid reprisals to the civil population and to his men, to try, Bushell and he, to get back to England by the Holland to report to their government of their behavior and start again the service in the front.

The town of Bavay had organized an ambulance in the head of which was the Mayor, Mr Derome, Miss de Montfort and Mr. du Sartel.

The Princess, who was very close to Miss de Montfort, and knew Mr Derome's patriotism thought that the captain Preston, and his men would run less danger by constituting prisoners as wounded persons, that as soldier behind the lines.

We were drinkinf coffee. Lieutenant Bushell who, during all this conversation had made no observation, fell in tears, declaring that, coming to pass two and a half months with his men in precarious situations, always on the alert, he could not abandon them. This conversation, in English, went on all afternoon long, and I tried hard to console him, demonstrating him that, without weapons nor ammunitions, he could not think of defending himself.

At this poignant moment, Henri Baron came to warn me that it was time to leave, if we did not want to be surprised. I thus left of the Princess and her mother, strongly shaking hands with both officers, wishing them: " Good luck. "

Upset of this moving day, and looking at every bend if a trap is not tightened at us, we get back to Valenciennes by a glittering setting sun, which gave to the landscape a particular aspect; little by little, it disappears behind the old trees on a mauve snow, over which ravens passed in bands, getting back to the Mormal forest which, had sheltered our English people! Then, the night arose, and we were able to return at home thinking of the future fate of our escapees.

After my departure, Princess de Croy tried to persuade Lieutenant Bushell to abandon his men to get back to Holland, but he remained inflexible. The men were hidden for three days and had only a small night light to enlighten them. This situation could not go on. All right with Captain Preston, the Princess went near the men in their hiding place, and says to them:

- I bring you the order of your officers to surrender.

The non-commissioned officer in the name of his men, answered her:

- We refuse, we must risk our life for definding the homeland. The English regulation opposes to it.

The Princess.

- think of your women and your children.

The non-commissioned officer.

- it doesn't much matter. We do not want to surrender. The women and the children pass after the regulation.

The Princess.

- Make it at least for the population which risked a lot for you.

The non-commissioned officer.

- Let us, at least, see again our lieutenant before our departure. He was always so good for us.

The Princess.

- it is impossible. You again have to make this sacrifice because, if he knew it, he would not cross the lines.

The last argument, questioning the population touched the men. They accepted to surrender, the death in the soul, having passed two and a half months in forest by all the bad weather, having supported the hardships and the feelings of every moment.

The next day, Miss Thuliez being brought in by its long hike, declared that we could cross railroads by eliminating the sentinels. But the decision of the captain was irrevocable: the men had to surrender. Nevertheless, she offered to them to guide them again them in forest, but the non-commissioned officer answered her:

- we have to obey our officers.

Miss Thuliez and Moriamé drove the English to Bavay.

Along the way, they offered them a last time to guide them again them in forest; but, they, by obedience, refused.

Having hidden them in a path between two hedges, Miss Thuliez left alone to Bavay, to warn the Mayor, Mr Derome, who also found that the surrender was the wisest solution. She thus returned to look for them, and the Mayor made them drive to the College of the Assumption, transformed into hospital, where they spent the night.

The following morning, Mr Derome went to declare to the German lieutenant that thirty English people had come to surrender at night. They were questioned and treated respectfully: they declared that they had lived on their hunting, not to compromise the population. Then that very day, having been driven to Aulnoye, one embarked them for the camp of Wittenberg; the looked purpose was reached, their life was safe. It was now a question of making both officers pass in Holland.

When, he woke up, the Princess announced to Lieutenant Bushell that his men had surrendered at night, during one hour he sobbed as a child, the head on knees. Nothing was able to calm this crisis of despair except by indicating him the means to join its regiment.

Naturally, the Germans made responsible the Mayor of Bavay, Mr Derome who was arrested and driven in prison to Saint-Quentin. But, as this last one wanted to admit nothing, the Germans released him, for lack of proofs, six weeks later, He went out of prison, the white hair, having had a lot to suffer, but the high head!

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Emmanuel;

Many, many thanks for your great deal of work translating this very interesting account of the English stragglers hiding in the woods and the attempts of the Belgians to aid them. This is the sort of report by actual participants, apparently written to record the history, and not to score propaganda points. I have mentioned my efforts to find first-person accounts of the events in Belgium, in my case the letters of my grand-father, an officer in the Generalkommando of III. Reservekorps, and also translating the manuscript diary of a sergeant from my grand-father's army corps, which I bought and have now largely translated. I am taking steps to preserve these two sources for other students of the Great War.

I will now snap on my Hunnish Pickelhaube and point out some of the points of the very interesting narrative. The English soldiers behind German lines were rearming themselves, with the help of some Belgian civilians, and once set off to blow up a bridge. This exposed the Belgian civilians who helped arm them, and probably those who fed them, to severe punishment, including death, according to the rules and usages of war, as I understand them. Evidentially the Germans had some idea what was going on, and did put up signs warning the Belgians not to assist the British soldiers, and surrounded the woods where they were hiding. The Germans must have realized that 30 men could not have fed themselves by "hunting" for several months, especially if they could not risk firing shots, and that some of the local Belgians had to be feeding them. The Germans at one point arrested the mayor, but then released him. It seemed from the description that the Germans could have legally shot dozens of people, had they really understood what was going on. However, they seemed to have behaved very leniently, and seemingly not punished anyone.

(I have just finished reading a UK-produced book about the Germans cutting the hands off of French babies and also raping them, to suggest why I am sensitized to this.)

There is no doubt that some Belgian civilians were unjustly shot in 1914 in Belgium, and surprisingly there even seems to be some agreement on how many civilians died, if not on the exact circumstances. But there were an enormous number of books written and published specifically to distort the history of this time and place. This narrative certainly has the hallmarks of something that can be believed, at least at first blush.

Emmanuel, are you a member of the Feldpost Working Group of the German postage stamp collecting society? In a moment of madness, I almost joined a few years ago. They had an international membership of about 100 some years ago.

Thanks again for doing this work to make this narrative accessible to our mono-lingual friends.

Bob Lembke

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I also have just finished with an interesting book written in 1923 by one of the most important people involved with the massive propaganda campaign during the war, a Canadian actor in British employ during the war, in which he repudiates and regrets his earlier participation in the production and desemination of war propaganda. I will start a thread here in "Other" tonight or tomorrow. His condemnation of war propaganda is very dramatically written, to say the least. I haven't read his 1916 book in several years, but I believe that in that one he wrote very dramatic Belgian atrocity stories. His wife, in 1918, also wrote a really remarkable book with a variety of astonishing stories, that might have been even more extreme than her husband's book. One wonders what she thought of her husband's repudiation of their war-time work. They went on a year-long lecture tour in the US, and she had a baby in Chicago during their tour. She was Anglo-Irish, and obviously quite allergic to the Irish as well.

Bob Lembke

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Hello Bob,

Thanks for your further information. Just a comment, Bob, the events I translated from René Delame's book did not occure in Belgium but in Northern France. I think we could find the same examples that occured on the Belgian territory. One thing was sure, Belgium was the center of the escape network for the allied soldiers behind the lines and also for civilians who were about to be arrested and wanted to pass in the Netherlands.

About the atrocities, René Delame rather spoke about the extreme harshness of the Germans. There was for sure attrocities in the beginning of the war when the German troops were moving forward. At this periode, every civilian could be a "Franc Tireur" in the eyes of the Germans. During the occupation, the German authorithies didn't really care of the population except to prevent proven, supposed or imaginary spying. What could be consider as an attrocity is to starve a population to support their own war effort. But I was told that the German population was also starving in WW1.

In the beginning of the war supposed or proven attrocities could serve the Germans because it could frighten the population and perhaps the allied soldiers. During the occupation the Germans had to show themselves not as barbarians.

To answer to your question, Yes I'm a member of the German Feldpost Working Group.It is still an active group. I'm not a WW1 specialist. My interest in this period is only because I'm a Postal history collector and because I'm interested in the German Fieldpost used by the troops the district of Valenciennes (Northern France).

As soon as I finish the translation of Lieutenant Bushell's escape, I'll post it.

Emmanuel.

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Just been browsing through a official account of the BEF's intelligence operations in 1917 and 1918. It appears that one of the problems was that there was very little coordination or cooperation. Thus for example local Belgians were employed as railway watchers reporting on movements. However there were far too many on some lines so that several people would be reporting on one stretch of track with no junctions when one post at either end would have done the job just as well. This greatly increased the chance that someone would be caught without adding anything to the intelligence gathered. In 1917 there were no less than six intelligence organisations running Belgian and French agents in occupied territory (and tending to fail to share product). One of these was Russian run! Then the Americans arrived and decided to set up their own network so there were seven. The Americans had problems as by this time all those Belgians and Frenchmen who were willing to act as agents were already doing so for one (or more) of the original six organisations. There are hints at attempts to poach agents [bit like Chelsea FC].

The BEF did set up a network designed to assist escapees and evaders get into the Netherlands. This seems to have been quite successful.

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