War Heritage Institute

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Victor Grauwels, an almost forgotten grave

When the war breaks out Victor is billeted in one of the forts around Antwerp but when the Belgian army retreats behind the Yser he switches to the 5th Army Division and its trench artillery. Contrary to the colleagues with the field artillery who fight quite some distance away from the frontline the trench artillerists are in close contact with enemy positions and therefore exposed to great danger. They are rapidly located by the Germans. On 29 June 1915 Victor is hit by German fire. He dies at the Alveringem first aid post and is laid to rest in a temporary grave. On 27 August 1922 Victor’s coffin is transferred to the local cemetery in Turnhout.

The family dwindles as years go by; the tombstone becomes overgrown. In 2018 volunteers Rob Cornelissen and Marc Van Hout clean the premises: cemetery visitors can now again see that a soldier who gave his life for the country is buried in this very spot.

Let’s hope that the grave is now permanently saved and remains a perpetual testimonial of a war that recedes in history.