The Belgian mass graves
In Belgium, at the end of the First World War, there were only two mass graves worthy of the name. Among those, the mass grave of Ougrée, which we have discussed under the heading of the military cemeteries.
However there are many of our heroes at several other cemeteries under the same tombstone or monument. But one can hardly call these mass graves. Nevertheless, we mention them here.
In Rhees, a hamlet of Herstal near Liège, we find the second real mass grave of Belgium. Here 151 Belgian soldiers were buried in the greenery around this hideous monument. We have doubts about the exact number, because we have found that at least two names on the monument are also remembered on two other individual headstones in other places of our country.
The dead heroes here all died on August 5 or 6, 1914, in the defense of the bridges on the river Maas at the city of Liège.
We like to remember you that, where we have no individual grave, we do make a photo composition with the monument that appears on the mass burial site whereto we apply the data available of the related soldier.
Below is an example of such a composition for a hero in the mass grave of Rhees.
In Dendermonde, under this green honorary park, 20 local heroes are buried together under the watchful eye of this strong soldier.
The names of the twenty men are engraved on the side of the monument. They are all Dendermonde citizens whom died in Belgium here and there and whom were repatriated to Dendermonde by their families or by the city at the end of the war.
Furthermore on the military part of this cemetery, under individual headstones 136 other soldiers are buried. They lost their lives in the defense of the city and the villages around it during the first two months of the war.
In Izegem we find a similar situation. Here, 21 local heroes were buried at the foot of this large memorial wall.
In Kortrijk, 18 victims of the First World War have been buried, but are their remains still here?
Under this miniature mass grave in Menen lie the remains of 9 local heroes.
In Niel the heroes of both World Wars were buried in front of this unique monument. The photos of the dead, with underneath their names, are on three bluestone slabs. There are thirty victims of the First World War, whose names are on the central plate and eleven victims of the Second World War to be honored on the other two plates left and right.