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World War I

 

The German Army crossed the Belgian border in August 4, 1914. Its primary objective was Vise, followed by Liege. The Battle of Liege, the first battle of WWI lasted 12 days.

Mons was the site of the first major battle involving the British Expeditionary Force on August 23th, 1914.

LIEGE

After the 1870-71 war between Germany and France, the idea of building fortifications to guards the borders and  the major roads grew in neutral Belgium. Between 1880 and 1890 following the project of General Brialmont, 21 forts were erected on the Meuse river, 12 in Liege and 9 in Namur. On August 5th, 1914, the Battle of Liege started and ended the 16th when the last fort finally surrounded.

Fort de Loncin :It has remained in the same condition since the dreadful explosion that destroyed it on the evening of August 15, 1914. The visitor will get an acurate picture of the living conditions and the lack of comfort prevailing in the forts in 1914.

The museum, open in 1996, has a large collection of items and a 1914 armament (a 57-mm cannon)

Open everyday except Mondays from 2:00 to 6:00 pm in July & August with guided visits at 2:00 pm on Sundays

Open every Saturday and Sunday from 2:00 to 6:00 pm from April to June, September & October

Open every Sunday from 2:00 to 6:00 pm from October to April

Fort de Barchon : Due to command problems and the threat of asphyxia of the garrison (after having been only a few hours under attack), it was the first one to concede defeat.

During the visit two aspects are particularly noticeable, the change of the military architecture since the late 19th century, as well as the paintings and wall decorations made by the soldiers. The tower of the ventilation shaft can be visited.

The Fort de Barchon is located 5,6 miles from Liege in Barchon (Rue du Fort)

Open the second sunday of the month at 2:00 pm from April to November

(c) Peter Clermonts

MONS

Mons was the site of the first battle fought by the British Army in World War I on August 23th and 24th, 1914. The British were forced to retreat and the town was occupied by the Germans, until its liberation by the Canadian Corps during the final days of the war.

Museum of Military History: Large collection of artifacts like headwear, gas masks, weapons, and uniforms from different countries.

St. Symphorien Military Cemetery

Very unusual War Cemetery with the graves of German, British and Canadian soldiers. The cemetery was started by the Germans in 1914 to bury their own troops and some British troops. The cemetery was then expanded when the British advanced in 1918. It is the resting place of the last Commonwealth casualties of WWI.

Plugsteert Memorial to the Missing

This memorial was built in 1931 and lists 11,367 missing Commonwealth soldiers who died in this area and have no known grave.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

For Information on the location of any grave, cemetery or memorial

Belgian Cemetery Index

A list of all war cemeteries in Belgium with pictures.