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Remembered Today:

Belgians in Action


Terry Denham
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In a stroke of good luck, I have just obtained a photo album containing about 15 original (and probably unpublished) sepia photos of the early weeks of the war taken mostly in Belgium. Some have captions and some do not. They all originate from a news media archive in London.

The photos show action scenes of the early fighting by the Belgian army (not posed), the evacuation of civilian refugees and Belgian troops, early destruction and the embarkation and disembarkation at Dunkerque of British troops.

I will post a sample below for anyone that is interested. Can anyone date these pics accurately?

1) Belgian civilians escaping the fighting at Lokeren. Note the urgency shown by the people in this photo.

post-19-1211710110.jpg

2) British troops waiting to go at the docks. Note the kids!

post-19-1211710192.jpg

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3) The caption on this one says...

"Heavy fighting at Grembergen, when the Germans tried to bombard the town. Belgian soldiers changing their positions after the German artillery had discovered their range (some of the Germans are good marksmen)"

post-19-1211710318.jpg

4) The caption on this says...

"Fighting at Lebbeke. The caisson in the streets of Lebbeke from where the shells were carried to the firing lines"

post-19-1211710414.jpg

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Terry,

Thanks for sharing them. Very interesting these pictures of civilians fleeing and the British kids staring at the camera.

I'm afraid I cannot asnwer your question. In many ways the first few weeks remain the most interesting because of the culture shock.

All the best,

Fred

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The bus (as its destination plate shows) is part of Howe Btn RND. The bus was lost at Antwerp and I have found a photo of it in German hands in Brussels

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Very interesting about the bus.

The other pics in the series show war far from the trench warfare that was to come.

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Brilliant images, Terry. Lucky you!

It would be Grimbergen rather than Grembergen. I think that would be 19-20 August 1914.

Lokeren is east of G(h)ent. My guess is that this was as the German forces were pushing north towards Antwerp, so possibly 21 August.

They are certainly around that time.

Lebbeke is south of Dendermonde. Maybe our Belgian friends can answer this one: did the sorties from Antwerp in September mean that Belgian troops could be in Lebbeke? Say on 29 September 1914?

By the way I am sure that the Royal Museum of the Army and Military History in Brussels would be interested in having a copy in their archives.

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5) Heading for the guns

post-19-1211725931.jpg

6) British new arrivals at Dunkerque.

Are they the RND men from the bus?

post-19-1211726004.jpg

7) A picture for the boys down the pub back home? How many made it back?

post-19-1211726077.jpg

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8) More problems for civilians.

Where is this and are those shell bursts in the sky?

post-19-1211726217.jpg

9) The caption on this one says...

"The 1st Belgian Regt taking cover at Melle to check the Germans' advance on Ghent. The photo was taken in the actual firing line and is not a posed picture. The German rifles could be heard cracking in the distance while photo was being taken."

post-19-1211726336.jpg

10) The caption on this says...

"Some of the Belgian Cycling Scout Corps taking a little ice cream refreshment near Audegem after a very long spin."

Happy days!

post-19-1211726452.jpg

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Hi Chris,

it is indeed Grembergen and not Grimbergen.

Grembergen is near Dendermonde where heavy fighting took place in september 1914

(see Lebbeke)

Cnock

nr.8

no shell bursts but smoke raising

Cnock

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Terry,

Splendid material !

Picture 3 looks staged to me: see the troops standing near the railway station.

Is it possible to read the text on the board left of the bicycle on the original image?

regards,

bert.

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Fantastic photos - some are extremely high quality for the time. How many more collections are languishing in some archive somewhere? Thanks for sharing them with us Terry.

Jim

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Great pictures Terry and wonderful to see, thanks very much for posting them.

Andy

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  • 4 weeks later...
In a stroke of good luck, I have just obtained a photo album containing about 15 original (and probably unpublished) sepia photos of the early weeks of the war taken mostly in Belgium. Some have captions and some do not. They all originate from a news media archive in London.

10 images posted so far of this fantastic material.

Are there more to come, Terry?

regards,

Bert

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Image number two may have been photographed in Britain. In the background is the Windsor Castle Hotel with an advert for Bass Ale & Stout. The Daimler bus has English language adverts on it.

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No 3 - I agree, Bert - for a position targeted by German guns there are a lot of figures milling around in the background! But I suspect it is the description that is 'phoney' rather than the action in the pic.

No 8 - one of the puffs looks like a Woolley Bear bursting!

Great pics nonetheless, thanks Terry.

Ian

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  • 4 weeks later...
it is indeed Grembergen and not Grimbergen.

Grembergen is near Dendermonde where heavy fighting took place in september 1914

To confirm the identification of picture 3 (see post 2) as Grembergen: below a picture of the railway station of Grembergen.

The similarities with Terry's photo are clear: the picure was taken from a position on the right side of this view.

regards,

Bert

grembergencg5.jpg

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Amazing pictures ! I am Belgian and live near Dendermonde so those scenes are of great interest to me. It's the first time I see pictures of my region during the early days of the war. Indeed, there was a lot of fighting around Dendermonde. All bridges at Dendermonde, Temse, Hamme, Waasmunster and Lokeren were destroyed by the Belgian army in a desperate attempt to stop the Germans. Between Lokeren and Grembergen, an armoured train operated on 9 september - the bridge towards Dendermonde was by then allready destroyed.

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Wonderfull!!!

I'm born & living in Dendermonde for 47 years and intrested in the Great War so long.

At this moment I'm doing something about Dendermonde 1914 on "Forum Eerste Wereldoorlog". http://forumeerstewereldoorlog.nl/

The same time I started a topic "Then & Now" with already a lot of pictures from my hometown.

So I will ask you by this: May I please use this photographs their? (and maybe I find the place back as it looks in 2008 :rolleyes: )

Dendermonde 1914

http://forumeerstewereldoorlog.nl/viewtopic.php?t=15367

Then & Now

http://forumeerstewereldoorlog.nl/viewtopic.php?t=15355

(PS Sorry for my auwfull (wroten) English :blush: )

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BWG

As I own the originals and they are long out of copyright, I am happy for you to post them as you state with a credit.

Your English is far better than my Flemish!

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BWG

As I own the originals and they are long out of copyright, I am happy for you to post them as you state with a credit.

You English is far better than my Flemish!

Tanks a lot Terry.

Could you make a scan in greater resolution of photograph 10? Maybe so we can read who own the icecream-car??

(I posted some of them on:

http://forumeerstewereldoorlog.nl/viewtopi...p=230546#230546

Once again thanks a lot)

-------------------------

Greetings from a Little Gallant Belgian:-)

Patrick De Wolf

http://users.pandora.be/ABL1914/index.htm

There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness".

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