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Oeren, Oerenstraat





Along the axis Veurne-Ieper, Oeren is the second of 4 major Belgian military cemeteries. In the order from Veurne to Ieper they are: Steenkerke, Oeren, Hoogstade and Westvleteren. To get there use the exit 1a of the E40 south and drive in the direction of Ieper. Oeren village is the second to the left of that main road. Take the Oerenstraat about 5 km. east of the E40 and follow the sign to the military cemetery near the church at the village entrance.


In Oeren we counted 509 graves of Belgian soldiers who fell in the First World War. Among them are only 6 unknown soldiers. They are buried in a beautiful, less than half an acre, setting.


This cemetery was established in 1920 around a "late gothic" church dating back to the 16th century. The church was once dedicated to Saintes Apollonia. The iron sand in the wall encrustation refers to an earlier romanesque church, in yellow brick, integrated into the current building.


In 1797 the French revolutionaries ransacked the churc. Since the Concordat of Napoleon (1802), the church closed for worship. This church is now only used as an art studio and museum.


There are currently five heldenhuldezerkjes (hero homage crosses) with Celtic cross, a seagull and the letters AVV-VVK, designed by the front-line soldier, painter and draftsman Joe English (see also Steenkerke). There have been more of this type of tombstone but in the night of February 9-10, 1918, grave robbers smeared 38 of them with cement.


To repeat from what we wrote on Adinkerke, that here in Oeren at place 430 brigadier Matheusen Louis of the second Artilerie regiment, born in Gierle on March 24, 1894, is buried beneath a hero homage cross, while he also has a grave in Adinkerke cemetery under a standard Belgian gravestone at position 443. In Adinkerke they wrote his name with double T.








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