People of Belgium mark Armistice Day

12th November 2007, Comments 0 comments

12 November 2007, BRUSSELS - King Albert led the nation in the annual ceremony of remembrance at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Brussels on Sunday. The eleventh of November marks the day in 1918 when the guns fell silent on the battlefields of the Great War. For four years Allied and German forces fought an intensive trench war campaign.

12 November 2007

BRUSSELS -  King Albert led the nation in the annual ceremony of remembrance at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Brussels on Sunday.
 
The eleventh of November marks the day in 1918 when the guns fell silent on the battlefields of the Great War. For four years Allied and German forces fought an intensive trench war campaign.

For much of the conflict the frontline hardly moved, though the cost in human life was enormous.

An estimated 8.5 million soldiers died in the Great War.

For much of the conflict the front ran through part of West Flanders province.

Most of Belgium had been overrun by the Germans, but King Albert's grandfather, another King Albert, held out in a small corner of the country together with the support of British and other Allied troops.

The area was the scene of immense bloodshed, witness the many cemeteries, both Allied and German, scattered across the countryside.

Both armies were held up in trenches. Poison gas was used here for the first time as were tanks.

The poppies that grew among the trenches were later adopted as a symbol of remembrance within the Commonwealth.

Over 48,000 Belgians died in the conflict including 40,000 soldiers.

In August 1914 the Belgian army deployed a force of 185,000 troops.

King Albert laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior on behalf of the nation. The ceremony in Brussels was mirrored by similar smaller ceremonies across the country.

The ceremonies are held to honour all those who fell in conflict including the Great War, the Second World War and the war in Korea.

As ever, Belgian war veterans attended the ceremony, but with the years the number of survivors is falling.

[Copyright Flanders news 2007]

Subject: Belgian news

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