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Adinkerke, Heldenweg



The military cemetery in Adinkerke is located at the end of the Heldenweg behind the church of Adinkerke about a quarter mile from the De Panne railway station.


At this military cemetery 1,651 Belgian victims of the First World War are buried. Of these, three unknown soldiers. Two tombstones don’t wear bronze nameplates and the graves are probably empty. Due to the status of protected monument, at a military cemetery in Flanders, the headstones may not be removed when a buried soldier is unearthed, for example, to be repatriated to a family grave in a municipal cemetery. Only the nameplate with the details of the soldier may, in fact, must be removed.


There is a double grave, and one gravestone has Hebrew writings, which is quite rare (Frank Emmanuel). Along the central aisle, at the end of the cemetery, there are 5 private tombstones. Léon de Maelcamp d'Opstaele has one private tombstone and nearby an official tombstone (with his name spelled slightly different). His remains are probably under the official headstone and the family was allowed to place an ornamental stone at the side. The total surface of ​the cemetery is 2.2 acres.


This cemetery was established already during the war. Many burials were of the soldiers deceased in the military hospital "L'Océan" in De Panne and the field hospital "Cabour" in Adinkerke.

The building of the road to the cemetery, the Heldenweg, in 1925 gave rise to sharp protest. Some 130 “herotributetombstones” were indeed shattered by order of the then Minister of Defence and mixed with red brick to serve as surface to the road.


“Herotributetombstones”, in Dutch “heldenhuldezerkjes”, are tombstones from the model hereunder to the right. They bear the initials AVV (vertically) and VVK (horizontally) meaning in Dutch “Alles Voor Vlaanderen - Vlaanderen voor Kristus” and in English, “Everything for Flanders - Flanders for Christ”. This was the political statement bij the Flemish Movement as a reaction to the unfair treatment of the Flemish soldiers by the “French only” speaking of the majority of officers and sub-officers.







A peculiar phenomenon occurs in Adinkerke and Oeren. In Adinkerke in grave 443 brigadier Mattheusen Louis of the second Artilerie regiment, born in Gierle on March 24, 1894 is buried under a standard Belgian gravestone. In Oeren we find him under a Herotributetombstones in grave 430. In Oeren Mattheusen was written with a single T.








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