Belgian Army Soldier
Born 31st October 1888 at Heindonk, a village near Antwerp in Belgium
Enlisted in the army 1st January 1909
Died 9th February 1915
Belgium was ill-prepared for the German invasions that took place in August 1914 as they advanced towards Paris. The army had 102 machine guns and no heavy artillery. Nevertheless, a number of significant delaying actions were fought by the Belgian army during 1914, buying time for Allied troops to arrive in the area. The German ‘race to the sea’ was stopped by outnumbered Belgian forces at the Battle of Yser. We do not know how Joseph Emile ended up at Haslar but he is likely to have been one of 25,000 wounded Belgian soldiers who were treated in hospitals in Britain during World War 1. It is estimated that about 250,000 Belgian people sought refuge in Britain during the period 1914-18.