Introduction: Our losses



A brochure in french of the authors Baud and Van der Beken tells the history of the first battle of the First World War. The brochure is titled "La Première Bataille Belge - Rabosée - 5/6 Aôut 1914" and was published by the publisher Wellens in Brussels between the First and the Second World War.


On the last page of the only 31-page booklet we find a remarkable statistic. A publication from the Ministry of Defence that details the Belgian losses of men and officers in the First World War as follows:



Casualties on the battlefields: 843 officers, 20,247 men


Deceased as a result of injuries: 314 officers, 5,866 men


Deceased as a result of diseases: 398 officers, 10,052 men


Deceased in accidents: 17 officers, 605 men


Missing: 33 officers, 2,881 men


Totalling: 1,605 officers and 39,651 men or total losses: 41,256 soldiers








Today more credibility is given by the services of our ministry of defence IV NIOOO to a figure closer to 43,000 and probably with good reason. Today, few people know that there was also been fought in the African colonies. Germany for example, had two colonies, Rwanda and Burundi, that bordered the Belgian Congo and a number of British colonies. In that part of Africa too, real battles  were fought with the result that lots of Belgian soldiers are buried scattered over the entire region, even as far south as Mozambique.


Part of the German war debt, allocated to Belgium after the war, was payed by the transfer of both German colonies, Rwanda and Burundi, to Belgium.


The African Queen, a movie with Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, directed by John Huston, whom on D-Day, filmed the famous images of the Normandy landings, won several Oscars with that African episode of the First World War as its subject.





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