6 Rue de Verdun
The town of Saint-Aubin-lès-Elbeuf is located about 12 miles south of Rouen, wedged into a narrow U-bend of the river Seine. The town has 8,200 inhabitants. Due to its proximity to the A13, which connects Paris with Rouen and Caen (passing only 8 km. From the town), Saint-Aubin-lès-Elbeuf is easily accessible.
Around the monument for the French war dead of WW 1, 8 individual Belgian tombstones are lined up.
Under one of those 8 stones are the remains of Gustaaf Keppens, born in Buggenhout on March 21, 1851, as the son of Frans Keppens, and Maria Van Sande. On August 4, 1877 he married Joanna Van Regemoortel. Barely three months later, on November 11, 1877, their first son Jan Baptist was born.
A second child, a daughter, Marie Delphine, was born on August 30, 1886. In 1888 he was transferred by the Belgian railways, his employer, to Lebbeke and he moved into a house in the Baasrodestraat nr. 5.
Near his front door at Lebbeke railway station he is responsible for the safekeeping of traffic at the railroad crossing. On August 24, 1890, his youngest son Frans was born.
At the August 1914 mobilization all employees of the railways, which are not mobilized by the Belgian Army, are soldiers in the railway battalion. Gustaaf joined the army as a soldier-militarized citizen. What his exact function was, we could not discover, but it had all to do with railway transportation. Despite his age, Gustaaf was 63 years in 1914, he was, and he still is considered by the Belgian Ministry of Defence as a soldier.
What injury or illness caused his death in 1918, we could not detect, but he died on October 31, 1918.
It is not known whether his sons, Jan Baptist and Frans, have also fought in the First World War. In 1914 they had the right age for it.