Why did we have victims of war on August 4, 1914, far from the frontline?






Alberik Van Gheluwe was born in Harelbeke on September 12, 1889. During the mobilization, he was a corporal in the 2nd infantry regiment.


How did a corporal of the 2nd infantry regiment get killed in Wetteren on August 4, 1914, whilst the Germans didn’t make it to Liège yet?


Those are those oddities you see and that stop you when you investigate the data on a nameplate of the grave of a war casualty. That incongruity I noticed when I looked at the dates of death of my listing of the soldiers buried in Dendermonde.


On that listing Alberik’s case jumps to attention. Only by the end of August 1914 the Germans ventured near Dendermonde. So his date of death of August 4, 1914 made me investigate further.


The solution of this enigma was eventually offered ​​to me by Noël Maes, local historian in Heule. Noël managed to figure out that Alberik died in a car accident in the Jabeke district of Wetteren on August 4, 1914, he received the status of war victim because he died on war duty. He was buried the same day in Wetteren. Later his remains were transferred to the cemetery of Dendermonde, where the military casualties from the surrounding villages have been centralized.












A similar freak accident happened on the same day to adjutant Léon Samyn, born on May 19, 1858 in Izegem.


Adjutant Samyn died in a strange accident with a cannon at the citadel of Namur also on August 4, 1914.


There was no German nearby. He also was on war duty and therefore was a military victim of the First World War.








Voilà, thanks to the searches made by Noël from Heule both riddles are solved.












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