A daytrip to Flanders Fields - Historic society Norbert de Vrijter from Lille
Daytrip to Flanders Fiels, September 6, 2014
‘In Flanders Fields,
On Saturday September 6, 2014, 58 members of the history society 'Norbert de Vrijter' departed from Lille (Antwerp) at 7.30 by bus for a day trip to the Belgian front of The Great War. Our town had 18 military casualties, heroes that sucumbed during that war. To represent each borough of our town, we will hold memorial services at the grave of four soldiers, one from each district.
At 9.30 am we arrived in Mannekensvere where we had a nice breakfast waiting for us, from there on we went to Adinkerke, De Panne and Hoogstade.
The ceremony consisted of a brief curriculum of the soldier, reading a poem, floral tribute, moment of silence, tribute with the clarion. For the floral tribute, we chose a pot of purple heather. After all, our soldiers came from the "Stille Kempen, op de purperen hei" (Armand Preudhomme) - the quiet Kempen, on the purple moors.
Our poem, of course we choose 'In Flanders Fields' by John McCrae, but in an adapted version by Anton van Wilderode, another time in the version by Tom Lanoye.
The war poem by Albert Verwey written in 1916, "Wie in de loopgraaf ligt...” - Him who waits in the trenches, bleak and hopeless..., touched the bystanders minds.
After the obligatory minute of silence, which we loved to respect for these young heroes, Gust Van Bouwel of the Gierle borough blew on his clarion an emotional “The Last Post”.
For Karel Nuyts who was killed in battle in Kaaskerke, he brought the 'Ten Velde" - At War - as a last tribute for those who died on the field of honor.
Then we drove on towards Diksmuide, where we just had the time to walk the death trenches. Subsequently a nice lunch was served to us in the “Sint-Jan” restaurant in Diksmuide. By that time It was already 13.30.
After lunch we visited the “IJzertoren” in Diksmuide and its exhibition. As last item of our full schedule we rode the 1914-1918 frontline by bus, with a stop in Ramskapelle and at the bridge of Tervate where everything was put into his proper historical context. Besides, the morning drive from Lille had already been used as one long, interesting 'history lesson'.
Once in Flanders Fields everyone was on track with what had happened a century ago. The Ganzenpoot in Nieuwpoort (the locks) with the nightly escapades of our soldiers in 1914, in order to realize the flooding of the German occupied side of the river, got the undivided attention and admiration of our sappers and of Hendrik Gevaert.
With just one more drink- and sanitary stop in Mannekensvere we started the journey home. We arrived at 20.30, just in time to avoid troubles for our busdriver with his ride and rest schedule.
Everyone expressed their appreciation for this day well spend! It was indeed a day that will linger in our memory for years to come.
President of the historic society
The members of historic society "Norbert de Vrijter” from Lille (Antwerp) on their way to the grave
of their fellow citizen Karel Nuyts at the military cemetery of Adinkerke to bring homage to this hero.
The President of the historic society, Rosette Dillen, reads a poem at the grave of Karel Nuyts
at the military cemetery of Adinkerke and Guy Martens will do the floral tribute.
From left to right: Marleen van Echelpoel, J. Bayens , Jos Willems (half hidden), Rosette Dillen,
Francine Verhaert, Robert Verboven, Jacqueline Van Hooghten, Guy Martens.
Staf Van den Broeck puts an heath plant at the grave of his uncle Jozef Van den Broeck
at the military cemetery of De Panne.
Nico Paepen will put flowers on the grave of Louis Van Dijck.
Gust Van Bouwel brings The Last Post as a tribute to our fallen fellow citizen Frans Piedfort
at his tombstone in the military cemetery of Hoogstade.
First row, from left to right: Rosette Dillen, Gusta De Vos, Gust van Bouwel, his wife, and Staf Van den Broeck.