Montpellier, Cimetière Saint-Lazare
45 Avenue Saint-Lazare
According to the data of the IV NIOOO department of the Belgian defense ministery, in both honorary parks at Montpellier Saint-Lazare cemetery a total of 94 Belgian soldiers should be buried. And 94 tombs we found. Seven soldiers from that list, we didn’t find, but in compensation we found 7 Belgian heroes who were not on the list.
4 of the 7 extras were Belgians, buried under the Belgian cockade but they had fought for the French army. That was apparent from the description of the unit in which they had served. That description was on their nameplate. Two of the three others had clearly fought in the Belgian army, also because of the unit for which they served. Of the seventh, we could not determine whom he fought for because his unit was not listed on the nameplate.
When we had photographed all military graves with Belgian cockade we had 8 names on the list of IV NIOOO for whom we had no picture. In the office of the cemetery an attendant was very helpful. We asked him if he had a grave number for the first hero on our alphabetical list (Louis Cottin). He gave us that number and we found him at the designated grave, but he was buried under a French cockade.
Hence the conclusion that the 7 others probably were under French cockade also was logical. The searches, the return to the office and taking the picture of our first man under French cockade had lasted over half an hour. We just did not have the luxury to lose three more hours in Montpellier on the search for these 7 graves and we went on on to our next appointment.
Earlier on, when cross-referencing our list with the graves, my attention was drawn to the fact that we had two graves with the same name and surname. Also, the dates of death were the same in both instances.
It appeared that, years ago, there has been a rearrangement of the honorary parks and that they have moved, for unclear reasons, soldier De Boo from park A to park B. We suspect that they installed a new headstone with a new identity plate for De Boo, and that they mistakenly left the De Boo headplate on his old grave and removed the nameplate of the French soldier that was buried with De Boo under the same headstone in the first grave. In our count as well as in the IV NIOOO count De Boo appears only once.