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Houthulst, Poelkapellestraat





Houthulst is about 6 miles south-east of Diksmuide. The military cemetery is in the Poelkapellestraat, opposite housenumber 44, about 6/10th of a mile from the village center. The cemetery is located adjacent to the famous Houthulst Vrijbos. The cemetery was constructed, after evacuation of explosives and at the beginning of the reforestation (1924), in a star shape (Star of David).


You will find here on a surface of 12 acres 1,723 Belgian casualties, of which 495 are known unto God only.

Most of the dead, 1,691, died on September 28 and 29, 1918, at the outset of the final offensive.

There are only 19 deaths from 1914, 2 of 1915, 3 died in 1916 and 8 in 1917. All other fell in the final offensive of 1918.


On September 28, 1918 the Belgian army took the “Vrijbos” from the Germans, a position that everyone thought to be impregnable. When Marshal Foch heared the news in France he asked up to three times confirmation of the message.

Also notable is the high number of deceased officers. 26 second lieutenants, six first lieutenants, 12 captains, one captain-commander, four majors and two doctors for a total of 51 officers.





Two Belgian war dead are buried twice. Private Declercq Emiel of the 18th infantry regiment, born in Geraardsbergen on the 4th of March 1896, and deceased in Gits on October 14, 1918, has two standard gravestones, Q-691 and Q-896.


Although his first name Emiel is indicated on both gravestones, in the register the first name of the man in grave Q-691 reads Elie and that he served in the 10th infantry regiment.






Private De Haes Pieter Joseph served in the 5th infantry regiment. He was born in Duffel on June 30, 1894, and died on the 14the of  October 1918, in Oekene. He also has two gravestones.

One grave J1-1806 and a second grave G1-1550. According to the register the De Haes in grave G1-1550 served in the 2nd regiment carabineers.







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