On the 22nd August 1914, around 300 young men from the Somme department in France lost their lives in Bellefontaine, a small Belgian village situated in the province of Luxembourg. They were all between 20 and 23 years old and were doing their national service when the war was declared.
These young soldiers were the first ones to battle against the Germans during the Battle of the Frontiers. To date, the 22nd August 1914 remains the bloodiest day in French history, with over 25,000 casualties on the French side.
Many other young men were injured and treated on site before being repatriated, while others were even captured by the Germans. Although some did not survive the war, others lived to tell the tale of the atrocities of the First World War (Battle of the Marne, Battle of Verdun, Battle of the Somme, Second Battle of the Aisne, etc.).
Other young soldiers from the Somme were killed in the neighbouring towns (Houdrigny, Meix-devant-Virton, Villers-la-Loue, Virton, etc.) or in the Namur region.
Our association “De la Somme à Bellefontaine » (From the Somme to Bellefontaine) has chosen to honour the memory of these young men – because before being soldiers, they were sons, fathers, brothers, uncles or cousins and because before they died for their country, they were men.