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Virtual tour 8 - Belgian troops at the front

"This hall details the role of the Belgian forces at the end of the Great War. Starting in the summer of 1918, the Allied forces prepared for a final offensive. On September 28th, the armygroup 'Legergroep Vlaanderen', commanded by King Albert I, attacked the German
forces on the rigdge near Ypres. The army group, consisting of Belgian, Brittish, American and French troops, swiftly reclaims the terrain lost earlier in the same year. The Belgian forces liberate Zonnebeke and Paschendale. A third of the Belgian casualties  during the Great War fall during this final offensive."

 

Object 1: Bugle (MZ 07538)

This bugle belonged to Léon Mollet of the Belgian 1st Carabiniers who fell in Ingelmunster on 15 October 1918. In the midst of all available modern communication in the Great War, orders were still given by ‘pre-war’ bugle with different tone combinations standing for different orders. Even in the middle of the mêlée, brave bugle players like Mollet took their instrument and blew the orders, but they paid dearly for their courage. After all, they were extra vulnerable while they are doing their duty. (MMP1917, MZ 07538)kl

Object 2: football and book (MZ 06267, MZ 06271)

The Front Wanderers was a kind of national football team of the Belgian army created in 1916. Their captain was Hector ‘Torten’ Goetinck, an experienced footballer who has been playing for Club Brugge and for the national team. Goetinck is 28 when the war breaks out and served as dispatch rider on a motorcycle. When he was not on duty, he lead the Front Wanderers and travelled to several Allied countries to play matches with his team. The front and football are two totally different worlds, however. Several of Goetinck’s players were killed and some had to stop playing because of injuries or amputations. But ‘Torten’ survived the war, remained a famous football player and eventually became coach of the national team from 1930 until 1934. He died during the Second World War in 1943 when a bomb hits his house. (MMP1917, MZ 06267, MZ 06271)

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Object 3: Farmyard

Belgian farmyard, offering a unique insight on the different supporting troops behind the frontlines. This forge found temporary shelter in the farmyard' stables.

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