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WW1 grave in Tonbridge, Kent

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WW1 grave in Tonbridge, Kent

Postby JaneyH » Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:27 pm

I wondered if any of the military experts out there might be able to shed some light on the person named on this gravestone. It is in a normal municipal cemetery in Tonbridge, Kent and is of a Belgian soldier. All I know is that he was wounded in WW1 and sent to Tonbridge, but sadly died there. As you might expect, this is part of local preparations to commemorate the centenary of the beginning of the Great War.

I can see that was born in Antwerp in 1890, served with the 1st Regiment Karabiniers and died in November 1914 so would have received his injuries in the very early stages of the War.

With no other information so far I offered to post the photo here to see if anyone might be able to assist in some way.

Many thanks, JaneyH
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Re: WW1 grave in Tonbridge, Kent

Postby JaneyH » Fri Apr 04, 2014 8:34 pm

Many apologies, but the person who asked me to assist with this enquiry neglected to tell me that they were already aware of a newspaper article describing the funeral of Lodewijk Marx:

Kent & Sussex Courier - Friday 27 November 1914

BRAVE BELGIAN LAID TO REST. IMPRESSIVE SCENE AT TONBRIDGE. The Tonbridge Cemetery was the scene of a most impressive military funeral on Saturday, when a brave Belgian soldier, named Louis* Marx, was laid to rest with full military honours. Marx had been an inmate at the School Sanatorium at Tonbridge for some six weeks, and he died on Friday from his wounds and the complications that set in. Death took place at the V.A.D. Hospital, Quarry Hill, whither Marx had been removed at his earnest request, as he felt rather lonely, owing to his comrades being removed to Quarry Hill. A pathetic feature was the fact that from the time he left for the Front he lost all trace of his young wife and child, and every effort that has been made to discover their whereabouts has failed. The deceased soldier was only 24 years of age.

The funeral cortege left the V.A.D. Hospital on Saturday afternoon, and its progress to the Cemetery was witnessed by large crowds of Tonbridgians. The coffin was covered with the Belgian flag, and the hearse was preceded by a firing party consisting of members of the Tonbridge School Officers' Training Corps, under the command of Captain Vere Hodges. The remainder of the Corps followed the hearse, together with Miss Taylor (Commandant of the Hospital), Mr. C. Lowry (Headmaster of Tonbridge School), Colonel Rattray, Captain W. L. Bradley, Mr. H. W. Peach (Clerk to the Tonbridge Council), Miss E. Gisby (Matron, School Sanatorium) and a number of Belgian refugees and wounded soldiers.

The Rev. Father Walsh (Corpus Christi Church) officiated at the graveside, the last rites being of a very impressive nature. Three volleys were fired over the grave, and the "Last Post" rendered by the O.T.C. Included in the beautiful floral tributes was one of particular interest, bearing the inscription:

"To a brave Belgian soldier, with deepest sympathy from an English girl."

* Lodewijk is the Dutch / Flemish name for Louis.


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Re: WW1 grave in Tonbridge, Kent

Postby Sylcec » Fri Apr 04, 2014 11:41 pm

As the Civil Registration records of birth, marriage and death for Antwerp have been digitised and are freely available on http://www.familysearch.org I tried to find a birth record for this young man, using the date 4 June 1890, but was unsuccessful. If I have read the date wrong, then get back to me and I will have another go. However, he may have been born in one of the outlying areas and his birth would then have been registered in a different district.

You could try contacting the Antwerp Archives directly: http://www.felixarchief.be/ - it is very many years since I have used this, but sadly they still don't offer an English translation! However, I am certain that there are many digitised records and indexes available on-line. (No, I don't speak Dutch/Flemish, but have ancestors from Antwerp and battled my way through the records 12 or so years back).

Have also found this blog post - (in English!) - about the Antwerp Archives and suspect it may be worth contacting the writer with your query. http://www.gershon-lehrer.be/blog/2012/04/a-history-of-the-antwerp-archives-felixarchief-and-getting-there/
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