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"The German Terror in France" is a direct 
continuation of "The German Terror in Bel- 
gium" which was published several months ago. 
The chapters are numbered consecutively 
throughout the two volumes, and between them 
they cover all the ground overrun by the German 
Armies in their invasion on the West. 

For the purpose of the book and the scheme 
on which it is written, the reader is referred to 
the preface of the earlier volume. But it may be 
mentioned that, while Chapter IV in the present 
volume is on the same scale as those which pre- 
cede it, Chapters V, VI, and VII are considerably 
compressed. In these later chapters, as in the 
others, full references to the sources are given in 
the footnotes ; but the sources themselves are not 
quoted so freely in the text, and I have in many 
cases been content to reprint summaries of the 
first-hand evidence already made by the French 
and Belgian Commissions, instead of re-analysing 
and re-summarising the original material myself. 

zoth June, iQi?- 



(i) From Liege to the Scheldt 
(ii) From the Scheldt to the Oise 

(iii) Across the Oise 

(iv) The Crossing of the Marne 
(v) From Liege to the Sambre 

(vi) From the Sambre to the Marne 


(i) Andenne and Namur 
(ii) Through Dinant to Champagne 
(iii) Through Luxembourg to Champagne 
(iv) Through Luxembourg to the Argonne 


(i) From the Frontier to St. Mihiel 
(ii) From the Frontier to Luneville 

(iii) Luneviele 

(iv) Across the Meurthe " . . 

(v) In the Vosges . . 


(i) Termonde and Alost 
(ii) Across the Scheldt . . 












Senlis — Ruined Street 

Senlis — Rue Bellon 

Senlis — Ruins 

Barcy Church— Interior 



Reims Cathedral 

Chateau de Baye 

Coizard . 

St. Prix— the Church 


Iluiron . 

Auve . ... 


Etrepy . 


SomTiieilles . 

Vassincourt . 

V^assincourt . 

















Crevic . . . . ■ 

Lundville— Faubourg d'Einvilie 

Lun^ville— Place des Carmes 

Gerb^viller . 

Gerbeviller . . . 

Gerbdviller— la Prele . 

Gerbeviller — la Prele . 

Gerbdviller- la.Prele . 
St. Barbe 
St. Barbe (House where Mile. H 
was burnt alive) 


Badonviller— Faubourg d' Alsace 
Badonviller— Church Interior . 
Raon I'Etape— Rue Jules Ferry 
Raon I'Etape— Rue Jules Ferry 
Raon I'Etape- Les Halles 
St. Michel-sur-Meurthe 

St. Die 

Termonde . • ■ 

Termonde- Interior of Church 










The Invaded Country 

Sketch Map 




5> )) 


)1 )1 




End of Volume 

Note. — A reference is given to a map at the foot of every page 
in the text. 


Alphabet, letters of the : — 


Lower Case. 

Ann (ex) 



Appendices to the German White Book 
entitled : " The Violation of International 
Law in the Conduct of the Belgian People' s- 
War " (dated Berhn, loth May, 1915) ; 
Arabic numerals after the capital letter 
refer to the depositions contained in each 

Sections of the " Appendix to the Report of 
the Committee on A lleged German Outrages, 
Appointed by His Britannic Majesty's 
Government and Presided Over by the 
Right Hon. Viscount Bryce, O.M." (Cd. 
7895) ; Arabic numerals after the lower 
case letter refer to the depositions con- 
tained in each section. 

Annexes (numbered i to 9) to the Reports 
of the Belgian Commission [vide infra) . 

Reports [numbered i to xxii) of the Official 
Commission of the Belgian Government on 
the Violation of the Rights of Nations and 
of the Laws and Customs of War. (Eng- 
Ush translation, published, on behalf of 
the Belgian Legation, by H.M. Stationery 
Office, two volumes.) 

" Germany's Violations of the Laws of 
War, 1914-5 " ; compiled under the Aus- 
pices of the French Ministry of Foreign 
Affairs, and translated into English with 
an Introduction by J. O. P. Bland. 
(London : Heinemann. 1915.) 

Appendix to the Report of the Committee 
on Alleged German Outrages appointed by 
His Britannic Majesty's Government. 







" Garnets de Route de Conibattants Alle- 
mdnds ; " Traduction Integrale, Intro- 
duction et Notes par Jacques de Dam- 
pierre, Archiviste-paleographe. (Paris : 
Berger-Levrault. 1916.) 

" Belgium and .Gennany," Texts and 
Documents, preceded by a Foreword by- 
Henri Davignon. (Thomas Nelson and 

Republique Fran^aise : Documents Rela- 
tifs a la Guerre 19x4-1915-1916 : Rap- 
ports et ProCi's-Verbaux d'Enquete de la 
Commission Instiiuee en Vue de Constater 
les Actes Commis par I'Ennemi en Viola- 
tion d'u Droit des Gens : Decret du 23 
Septembre, 1914. V. (Paris : Imprimerie 
Nationale. 19 16.) 

Pastoral Letter, dated Xmas, 1914, of His 
Eminence Cardinal ¥Iercier, Archbishop 
of Malines. 


Numerals, Roman 
lower case 


" German Atrocities : An Official Investi- 
gation," by J. H. Morgan, M.A., Professor 
of Constitutional Law in the University 
of London. (London : Fisher Unwin. 

Reports {numbered i to xxii) of the Belgian 
Commission {vide supra). 

Republique Frangaise : Documents Rela- 
tiis a la Guerre 1914-1915 : Rapports et 
Proces-Verbaux d'EnquSte de la Commis- 
sion Instituee en Vue dx Constater les Actes 
Commis par I'Ennemi en Violation du 
Droit des Gens : Decret du 23 Septembre, 
1914. I. (Paris : Imprimerie Nationale. 

" Reply to the German White Book of 
May 10, 19 15." (Published, for the Bel- 
gian Ministry of Justice and Ministry of 
Foreign Affairs, by Berger-Levrault, 
Paris, 1916.) 

Scraps of Paper" " Scraps of Paper " : German Proclama- 
tions in Belgium and France. (Hodder 
and Stoughton. 1916.) 



Two . . . . L'Allemagiie et le Droit des Gens : Atten- 

tats contra les Personnes des Non-Com- 
battants et contre les Propriet^s Privees : 
Deuxicnte Rapport Ptesente a M. le 
President du Conseil par la Commission 
Instituee en Vue de Consiater les Acies 
Commis par VEnnemi en Violation du 
Droit des Gens : Decret du 23 Septembre, 
19 14. (Paris : Imprimerie des Journaux 
Of&ciels. 1915.) 

N.B. — Statistics, where no reference is given, are taken from 
the Belgian Reply and the first and second Annexes to the 
Reports of the Belgian Commission. They are based on 
official investigations. 



) From Liege to the Scheldt. 

The German advance from Liege towards 
Antwerp, in the latter part of August, 19 14, was 
accompanied by terrible outrages upon the civil 
population. The massacres at Aerschot, the bom- 
bardment of Malines, the devastation of the vil- 
lages between Malines and Louvain, and the sack 
of the city of Louvain itself, were all directly 
connected with this military movement, and have 
made it notorious above all other German opera- 
tions in the European War. Yet from the strate- 
gical point of view it was a subsidiary movement 
— a diversion on the extreme right flank, to cover 
the main German armies in their sweep across 
Belgium into the heart of France. Moving at an 
almost incredible speed, these armies traversed a 
vast extent of territory before they were checked 
and thrown back at the Marne, and the outrages 
they committed in their passage probably 
amounted to a greater sum of crime and suffering 

G.T. B 


than the horrors concentrated between the Belgian 
frontier and Liege, or between the Demer and the 

The right wing of the invaders was formed by 
the armies of von Kluck and von Biilow. 
Screened by the covering force on their northern 
flank, these two armies poured through the gap 
between the Belgian fortresses of Antwerp and 
Namur — von Kluck on the right and von Biilow 
on the left (von Kluck's right flank columns 
wheeled through Brussels). Moving abreast in 
an immense curve, they crossed the Scheldt and 
the Sambre, the Somme and the Oise and the 
Marne, and were defeated on the lines of the 
Grand and the Petit Morin. At the end of their 
advance they were still abreast, but their fronts 
were facing south instead of west, and they were 
due east of Paris. 

" At Rosonx'' ^ wrote one of von Kluck's 
soldiers in his diary on Aug. 17th, "wine by 
the cask. We live like God in France; the villa 
of a Belgian General supplies everything." The 
soldier had anticipated his objective, for Rosoux 
lay within the first stage of his march — from Liege 
to the Scheldt. He and his fellows committed 

many worse outrages than drunkenness and 


^ Bryce pp. 170-1. 



pillage before they passed out of Belgium again 
across the French frontier. 

On the road from /odoigne^ to Wavre, on 
Aug. 1 8th, a detachment of Bavarian cyclists 
advanced upon the Belgian outposts with the cure 
of Jodoigne in front of them as a screen. The 
Belgian fire, more fortunate than on other occa- 
sions, struck down the leading Bavarians, and 
the cure escaped. The village of Linsmeau 
suffered more severely. Eighteen civilians were 
killed there, and the whole male population was 
carried off to work for the invaders. A Belgian 
soldier^ saw three of the corpses at Linsmeau 
lying in the cowshed of a burnt farm. They were 
a man and two children — " one of them a boy of 
fourteen, the other a girl of ten." Seven houses 
were burnt at Linsmeau altogether. At Melin two 
houses were burnt and 200 plundered (out of 
327) ; three of the inhabitants were killed. Beyond 
Biez,^ again, at the bridge of Lives, the Germans 
used civilians as a screen — this time women and 
children, who were brought down by the Belgian 
fire. Thirty-seven houses were burnt altogether, 
and twenty-seven civilians killed, in the Canton 
of Jodoigne. 

- XV p. 21. 

^ k 19. 

* vii p. 53 (f). 

[Map I] 

B 2 


At Wavre fifty-eight houses were burnt, and a 
Belgian despatch rider,^ who traversed the town 
after the Germans had passed, saw the body of 
a girl lying on the pavement. It was naked, and 
had been ripped open. Yet on Aug. 27th, after 
these events, the Burgomaster of Wavre received 
the following communication from the German 
Lieutenant-General von Nieber^: — 

"On Aug. 22nd, 1914, the General Com- 
manding the Second Army, General von Biilow, 
imposed on the town of Wavre a war levy of 
3,000,000 francs, payable before Sept. ist, to 
expiate the heinous conduct, contrary to Inter- 
national Law and the customs of war, of which 
the inhabitants were guilty in making a surprise 
attack on the German troops. . . . The town of 
Wavre will be set on fire and destroyed if the 
payment is not made when due, without dis- 
tinction of persons; the innocent will suffer with 
the guilty." 

It was " contrary to International Law," as 
formulated in the Hague Convention of 1907 
concerning the Laws and Customs of War on 
Land, to impose a collective penalty on Wavre 
for the acts of individual inhabitants, even if these 
acts were serious and beyond dispute. In the case 

6 ks. 

® Davignon p. 91. 

[Map i] 


of Wavre, however, no evidence whatever is 
offered in the German White Book in support of 
the sweeping accusations in the German pro- 
clamation of Sept. 1st, 1914. 

Beyond the Dyle the German fury increased. 
"About midday," writes a -German diarist on 
Aug". 19th, ^ "we reached a village which had been 
terribly ravaged — houses burnt, everything 
smashed to atoms, abandoned cattle wandering 
about the streets bellowing, and inhabitants lying 
shot. A company of the Infantry Regiment 
No. 75, which had bivouacked not far from the 
village the night before, had been fallen upon by 
the inhabitants and had made a shambles. Sixty- 
nine good soldiers were killed or wounded. As 
punishment the village was wiped out. 

"Aug. 20th.-^We again passed through vil- 
lages whose inhabitants had fired. The usual 
punishment had been inflicted." 

The acts of the Germans are admitted by the 
Germans themselves; the alleged provocation on 
the Belgian side can be better judged by the con- 
duct of von Billow's troops in Ottignies and 
Mousty, where our evidence is more comiplete. 

Keeping in touch with von Kluck's left, von 
Billow's main forces passed across Southern 
Brabant, sweeping round the northern forts of 

'' Bryce p. 178. 

[Map i] 


Namur. So long as they encountered no resist- 
ance from the Belgian Army they spared the 
civilians their lives, and chiefly plundered and 
burned. At Autre-Eglise they only killed three 
civilians, but plundered 150 houses out of 232. 
They plundered ari'other 1 50 houses at Ramillie's, 
and burned 22 (out of 176). At NoviUe-sur- 
Mehaigne they plundered 185 and burned 3 out of 
197; at Thoreinbais 250 and 3 out of 269. In the 
Canton of Perwez they plundered 527 and burned 
9 altogether. Then, on Aug. 19th, von Billow's 
Uhlans were checked by Belgian outposts at 
Ottignies^ on the line of the Dyle, a few miles 
above Wavre. One Uhlan was wounded and two 
were killed. 

Early next morning the Belgian troops retired, 
and the Germans poured into Ottigni^s and 
Mousiy — a village half an hour's distance off. 
They fired frantically in the air; they fired at 
people who tried to run away; they began to 
plunder the houses and set them on fire. The 
majority of the civilians were herded together in 
the square — we have the narrative of one of them 
who was carried away captive with 104 other men, 
and was only released at Gembloux on Aug. 27th. 
The story is completed by the diaries of the Ger- 
mans themselves. " At Ottignies yesterday even- 

* Anns. 5 and 6 ; Bland p. 138. 

[Map i] 


ing," writes one of them on Aug. 20th, " an Ober- 
leutnant and 4 Uhlans were shot — by the civil 
population, in the back (sic). To-day the terrible 
punishment ensues. The officer had also had his 
finger cut off, to have his wedding ring stolen. 
This was not the first instance of such atrocities " 
(or, in other words, of the deliberately propagated 
legend of the Belgian francs-tireurs). " The in- 
habitants," continues the diarist, " stood in the 
market-square under guard. Several men were 
condemned to death by the court-martial and shot 
immediately. The women went away in black — 
like a solemn procession. How many innocent 
victims fell by those shots just fired. The village 
was literally plundered — the Blonde Beast is 
revealing himself. The Huns and Landsknechts 
of the Middle Ages could not have beaten it. The 
houses are still burning, and where the fire was not 
enough, what is left is being levelled with the 
ground. ..." 

This German repeated the legend, but he was 
not easy in his mind. Another diarist, who passed 
through Ottignies on the same date, speaks in 
plainer terms : " March on Vays through Ottignies. 
Halt at Ottignies, requisition a pig. Uhlan patrol 
killed here with one officer. Place set on fire after 
we had passed through. Court-martial. People 
always decent if we behave civilly ourselves. In 

[Map I] 


our company there is a good tone — a contrast to 
others. Pioneers bad, artillery a gang of robbers." 

At the Dyle von Biilow swung round and 
headed for the Sambre between Namur and Char- 
leroi; von Kluck, with his right wheeling through 
Brussels and his left pivoting on Nivelles, swept 
westwards out of Brabant towards the line of the 

At Braine-le-Comfte and Soigjties, in the Pro- 
vince of Hainaut, a number of houses were burnt.® 
At Obourg " the lunatic asylum, containing 200 
women patients, was set on fire. At N'lmy ^^ the 
British were entrenched to resist the German ad- 
vance, and the Germans ran amok. They plun- 
dered and massacred, and set the houses on fire. 
Eighty-four houses were destroyed at Nimy, and 
17 of the inhabitants, including four women, were 
killed. The rest were driven forward, as a screen, 
as the Germans pressed on to Moits. For the 
British holding Mons at the top of the Avenue de 
Berlaimont, this pitiful crowd of civilians was the 
first indication that the Germans were within 
range. ^^ " We waited for the advance of the 
Germans," states a British officer; "some civilians 
reported to us that they were coming down a road 

9 1 12. 

'" xxii p. 135. 

'' xxii pp. 135-6. 

12 g 5, 6, 8 ; XV p. 31. 

[Map z] 


in front of us. On looking in that direction we 
saw, instead of German troops, a crowd of civi- 
lians — men, women and children — waving white 
handkerchiefs and being pushed down the road in 
front of a large number of German troops." — 
" They came on as it were in a mass," states a 
British soldier, "with the women and children 
massed in front of them. They seemed to be 
pushing them on, and I saw them shoot down 
women and children who refused to march. Up 
to this my orders had been not to fire, but when 
we saw women and children shot, my sergeant 
said : ' It is too heartrending,' and gave orders to 
fire, which we did." — " I saw the Germans ad- 
vancing on hands and knees towards our posi- 
tion," states another; "they were in close forma- 
tion, and had a line of w^omen and children in 
front of their front rank. Our orders at that time 
were not to fire on civilians in front of the enemy." 
A Belgian standing in a side-street ^^ saw the 
German tactics close at hand. He saw six of the 
victims shot by the Germans for trying to get 
away. The Burgomaster of Mons himself had 
been seized in the streets, and was driven forward 
with the others.^* The Germans renewed these 
tactics on the other side of Mons on Aug. 24th, 

g 9; 

^* xxii p. 136. 

[Map 2] 


when the British were in retreat. ^^ " They had 
collected a number of women and children from 
the houses in the town. ... I could see that 
the Germans had their bayonets fixed and pointed 
to the backs of the women and children, to make 
them advance." — " It was about 1 1 a.m. . . . 
They were being pushed along by the Germans. 
One old man was very old and bent. I noticed 
two women in particular who had two, or possibly 
three, children, and they were holding them close 
in as if to shield them. One of the women had a 
blue apron on. Altogether, I suppose there were 
1 6 to 20 women there, about a dozen children, and 
half-a-dozen men. I was in the last file, and I 
kept on looking round as we were retiring. . . ." 

This same screen was driven right on against 
the British positions in Frameries; we have the 
evidence, again, of British soldiers, who were 
waiting for the Germans there.^^ "When they 
were motioned to draw to the side by one of our 
own men," states a soldier, " they were fired on by 
the Germans from behind for doing so. I should 
think 50 people were shot down. In some cases 
the children had been walking, in others they 
were carried by the women." 

A German diarist" gives his own version of 

^^ g 3> 4, 7, 10, II. 

16 g 12-13. 

i"" Bryce p. 162. 

[Map 2] 


these events : " In fine spirits we marched next 
morning through the village of Paturages, that is 
to say, on Aug. 24th, before we had cleared the 
suburbs of the town of Mons and set the houses on 
fire — we marched through the aforementioned 
village. Inhabitants came in crowds out of the 
houses into the open. Here heartrending scenes 
occurred ; it was really terrible to watch." 

This was how the Germans made their way 
through Mons. "Sept. i6th, behind Mons," 
writes another German soldier ^^ who passed this 
way when the work was done. " Here again 
countless houses have been destroyed, and the 
population looks bitter and gloomy." 

At Jemaffes}^ west of Mons, a hundred houses 
were burnt and about 70 people were killed. A 
hundred and fifty houses were burnt at Quare- 
gnon}^ " Jemappes," deposes a German pri- 
soner ^^; " Pillage ! As for the inhabitants, not a 
soul left. One of my comrades takes a watch. 
Finally, on Aug. 25th, the French frontier is 
crossed, and from that point onwards the atrocities 
have been less." 

Meanwhile, von Kluck's right wing, outflanking 
the British left, bore down from Brussels upon 

'■^ Bryce p. 180. 

'^ R p. 127 ; xxii'p. 136. 

2" xxii'p. 186. 

21 R p. 127. 

[Map 2] 


Tournai on Aug. 24th, with the Death's Head 
Hussars in the van. At Rumillies,"'^ where they 
encountered French dragoons, they dragged the 
inhabitants out of their houses, and with this 
screen ^^ in front of them they made their way 
into Tournai itself. " I was taken to Tournai," 
states a Belgian civilian from Antoing^*; "there 
were about 400 civilian Belgian prisoners there — 
men, women and children. A fight took place 
there between French and Germans. All the 
prisoners, including myself, were marched in front 
of the German forces. Two of these who did not 
move quickly enough were shot by the Germans." 
As the French fell back through the city, the Ger- 
mans recruited their screen from the suburbs of 
Chateau and La Tombe}^ In the suburb of 
Morelle, where the French troops made a 
stand, the Germans seized and shot a number of 
civilians in reprisals, burned a dozen houses, and 
pillaged more. They shot a middle-aged civilian 
who was helping a wounded French soldier in the 
street; they shot a lame boy thirteen years old; 
they shot a girl whom they had first raped in 
public. ^^ The Burgomaster of Tournai, with the 
city councillors and sheriffs, was brought under 

"2 XV pp. 21-2. 

2^ X p. 70. 

24 g 23. 

25 XXU p. 134. 
-« k 34. 

[Map 2] 


arrest to the H6tel-de-Ville, to hear a proclama- 
tion condemning the city to furnish 200 hostages 
and pay 2,000,000 francs in gold. The money 
must be forthcoming within three hours ; otherwise 
the city would be destroyed and the population 
exterminated. At the appointed time 1,700,000 
francs were delivered, and the balance was covered 
by a promissory note, which the municipal coun- 
cillors signed. But the councillors and the Bishop 
(an old man of seventy-four) were still detained; 
they were carried off that night to Ath, and on 
Aug. 25th 400 more of the inhabitants were forced 
to accompany the German advance, and were not 
released till they had been 36 hours on the march. 

ii) From the Scheldt to the Oise. 

At Tournai the Germans crossed the Scheldt, 
and pushed forward into France. 

"Aug. 25th," writes a German diarist,^^ 
" marched to Orchies. Houses searched. All 
civilians taken prisoners. A woman was shot 
because she did not halt at the word of com- 
mand, but tried to run away. Thereupon the 
whole place was set on fire. At 7 o'clock we 
left Orchies in flames and marched towards 
V aleticiennes. 

"Aug. 26th. Marched off at 9 a.m. towards 

2" Bland p. 123. 

[Map 2] 


the eastern entrance of Valenciennes to occupy 
the town and keep back fugitives. All the male 
inhabitants from 1 8 to 48 were arrested and sent 
to Germany." 

Between St. Amand and Valenciennes a Belgian 
civilian, whom the Germans had dragged with 
them from the other side of Brussels,^^ saw a 
chateau pillaged and set on fire. "After setting 
fire to the chateau, the soldiers placed the 
baron " (who owned it) " with twenty other civilians 
who lived near by, consisting of young and old 
men, and also some women and even children, 
and shot them all. . . . The soldiers smashed 
the windows of every house on the way. ... I 
saw three workmen's cottages near the chateau 
and five or six other houses further along the road 
to Valenciennes burnt by the Germans. They 
first shot at the houses and the occupants fled, 
and then the Germans fired the houses. I do not 
know what happened to the occupants. . . ." 

The invaders spread over the region between 
the Scheldt and the Somme. At Beaunio7it- 
Hamel^^ in the Department of the Somme, a 
village of 380 souls, they imposed a war contribu- 
tion of 8,000 francs on the commune, threatening 
to carry the men away captive if the money were 

28 1 12. 

2^ Five 1 3 1-4. 

[Map 2] 


not paid. The mayor raised i,8oo francs, and 
the Germans obtained the rest by robbing private 
individuals. A week after their arrival they 
accused four women of espionage on frivolous 
grounds. An officer of the German Infantry 
Regiment No. no, who examined them, offered 
three of them their lives if they would denounce 
the fourth. They refused, and were given three 
minutes to change their minds. " Then," states 
the fourth victim, " we were dragged to the church 
wall, the officer superintending in person. He 
had his watch in his hand. We were given one 
minute to confess or die. We did not give in. 
He counted, ' One . . . two . . . / but the fatal 
' three ' did not issue from his lips " — they were 
led back again, and given half-an-hour's grace 
more. They entrusted what money they had on 
their persons to another woman, but the officer 
interrupted the transaction, counted the money 
out, and appropriated it for the benefit of the war 
contribution. He told the fourth woman that she 
should be " buried alive in front of the church," 
but finally the Colonel of the iioth Regiment 
commuted their penalty to imprisonment. A 
hundred and seventy inhabitants of Beaumont- 
Hamel altogether were taken as prisoners to 
Cambrai. After five months' detention the elders 
were sent home, but they were brutally separated 

[Map 2] 


from the children, who were not allowed to 

The Germans entered Lahoussoye ^^ on Aug. 
30th, pillaged the shops and houses, rifled the 
linen from the drawers, and slaughtered the cattle. 
They raped a woman of eighty, and murdered a 
man of sixty-five. He was found in his cellar, 
with a bullet in his heart, on the following day. 

Pont-Noyelle,^^ too, was plundered on Aug. 
30th. A paralysed man, who could not open his 
gate quickly enough for the Germans' satisfac- 
tion, was ridden down by an officer on a horse. 
The Germans stole seven or eight hundred bottles 
of his wine, and compelled him to witness their 
debauch, forcing a pickelhaube on to his head, 
and treating him with every kind of indignity. 
They stole his provisions, plate and horses, and 
jewels to the value of more than 1,500 francs. At 
Querrieu^" a refugee returning to look after his 
cattle was killed by a sabre-stroke in the stomach. 
All but four of the houses in Querrieu were plun- 
dered, and two were burnt. 

At M ericourt-sur-Somme ^^ three German sol- 
diers dragged a girl of seventeen into a cellar, 
violated her in succession, and seized all the 

^^ Five 105-7. 
^' Five 101-4. 
^'' Five 108-111. 
^^ Five 90-4. 

[Map 2] 


jewellery and money on her person. Another 
woman, enticed out of her house at night by a 
soldier with the story that her husband was ill, 
was saved from violation by neighbours who went 
with her. 

At Proyart^^ on Aug. 29th, an Uhlan patrol 
fired down into a cellar where the inhabitants of 
a house had just taken refuge, and killed an old 
man of seventy-four. They broke everything in 
this house, and sacked the whole village. " Six 
or seven deaconesses in black clothes, with white 
coifs and Red Cross armlets, went into the houses 
with the soldiers and took anything that 
pleased them."— "On Sept. ist," states another 
witness, " I saw the Germans load M. Wable's 
furniture on motor-cars and then set fire to the 
house — throwing in something that exploded." — 
" I saw quite distinctly," states a French soldier 
who was lying wounded in the street, " how they 
went from house to house, setting them on fire. 
I saw them set a dozen houses on fire in this way, 
notably a big farm." 

On Aug. 29th the Germans also burned seven 
houses and two barns at Framerville?^ Their 
methods show that the incendiaries of Framerville 
and Proyart were the same. " One heard an ex- 

"^ Five 96-8. 
^^ Five 99-100. 

[Map 2] 


plosion," states the cure of Framerville, " and 
then the house took fire immediately. Each time 
a building was burning they played a pianola 
which they had taken from M. Francois 
Foucard's house." At Proyart, while M. Wable's 
house was in flames, they had danced to the sound 
of a gramophone. 

At Maucourt^^ on Aug. 29th, a German cyclist 
patrol found four agricultural labourers sitting in 
a cafe. He levelled his rifle at them, and two of 
them tried to escape. The German fired twice 
at the first, who dragged himself a hundred yards 
and then died. The second took refuge in a barn. 
More Germans then came up and demanded 
matches to burn the barn over his head, but find- 
ing none they put five bullets into his brain. 
Next day they wounded a French dragoon from 
an ambush in the village, and finished him off 
with the butt-ends of their rifles in order to plunder 
his pockets. On Sept. 25th they returned in force 
to Maucourt, and when the French artillery 
opened on them they seized five men of the vil- 
lage as a screen to cover their retreat. " I was 
arrested," states one of these victims, " by a 
German sergeant with a serrated bayonet. . . . 
They immediately placed us in front of them, 
telling us that the French were going to kill us. 

"^^ Five 1 14-12 1. 

[Map 2] 


. . . We could not escape, for we had a soldier 
with fixed bayonet on either side of us." — " Four 
times," states the village schoolmaster, "we were 
knocked over by the shock of the (French) shells." 
Returning next day, the Germans imposed a war 
contribution on the commune. " How many in- 
habitants have you ? " asked the German com- 
mandant. " Three hundred and fifty," he was 
told. " I must have lo francs per inhabitant," 
he answered. " If you have not produced the sum 
in gold or silver within an hour, everyone will be 
searched; anyone found with money on him will 
be shot, the village will be burnt, and we shall 
carry off hostages." Fifteen hundred francs in 
gold were paid by the village baker, the rest by 
other individuals. " No receipt was given," states 
a witness. " Our commune was completely pil- 
laged. I found my own house sacked, the cloth 
torn off the billiard-table, and everything in a 
state of indescribable confusion." On the same 
day, Sept. 26th, the French troops returned, and 
Maucourt was delivered. 

At Liancourt-Fosse^'^ the Germans, fighting 
with a French regiment for the possession of the 
village, seized twelve of the inhabitants as a 
screen, and drove them forward in three ranks. 
The French slackened their fire, but three of the 

^"^ Five 126-7. 

[Map 3] 

C 2 


civilians were seriously wounded, and another 

In the Commune of W elles-Perennes,^^ in the 
Department of the Oise, the Germans surprised 
two farm lads, eighteen and nineteen years old, 
driving in a cart to Montigny to buy bread. One 
of them, wounded in the stomach, dragged him- 
self back to the farm and died. The other was 
taken to Creve-Cosur^^ and shot while trying to 
escape. This was on Aug. 31st, and the Germans 
had entered Creve-Coeur that day. " Many of 
them were drunk. They broke open the doors of 
a number of houses of which the owners were 
away, and gave themselves up to pillage. . . . 
Soldiers dragged a young man *° up to two officers 
on horseback, and one of them shot him point- 
blank." At Ferrieres " six houses were set on fire 
by means of bombs, and a man and his wife suf- 
focated in their cellar, because a French soldier 
had fired in the street and taken refuge in a house. 
At Ravenel,^^ on Sept. ist, the Germans loaded a 
wagon with their plunder; on Sept. 13th they 
shot down a civilian who was bicycling along the 
road. At Nourard-le-Franc,^^ on Sept. 3rd, three 

^® Five 72. 

39 Five 73-4. 

*" Not identical with the farm boy from Welles-Pirennes. 

4' Five 75. 

*2 One 374-5. 

*3 One 414-5 ; Five 88-9. 

[Map 3] 


Germans with Red Cross armlets burned six 
houses and a barn, and fired indiscriminately in 
the streets. They wounded one man — his wife 
died of shock. "After this," states a witness, 
" they left in the direction of M esnil-sur-Bulles'' 
and here," on Sept. 4th, three Germans (evidently 
the same) shot a professor on the doorstep of a 
house. Uhlans had been looting in Mesnil two 
days before. 

Mortemer,^^ on the road from Roye to Com- 
piegne, was pillaged by the Germans on Aug. 31st. 
Next day they demanded tobacco from the grocer, 
M. Huille. Having none, he guided them to the 
tobacconist's, and was shot point-blank as he 
turned to go home. At Marque glise *^ the Ger- 
mans carried off eight civilians as hostages, includ- 
ing the cure and the mayor, and shot four other 
hostages — two Frenchmen from St. Quentin and 
two Belgians from Jemappes — when they retreated 
through Marqueglise on Sept. i6th. At Monchy- 
Humieres,'^^ on Aug. 31st, a German officer ordered 
three Uhlans to fire on a crowd of about forty 
people, because he thought he heard the word 
" Prussian " muttered among them. A man and 
a little girl were wounded, and a boy of fifteen 
was killed. 

** One 412-3. 
*'5 Five 76-9. 
^6 One 430-1. 
*^ One 372-3. 

[Map 3] 


Ckoisy-au-Bac,^^ in the angle between the Oise 
and the Aisne, was entered by the Germans on 
Aug. 31st. "On Sept. ist and 2nd," states the 
town clerk, " they deliberately burned a quarter 
of the houses in Choisy, on the absolutely false 
pretext that they had been fired on. Before set- 
ting the houses on fire they pillaged the whole 
place under their officers' eyes. Two military 
doctors with Red Cross armlets pillaged Madame 
Binder's house with their own hands. The booty 
was carried off in carts stolen on the spot. Forty- 
five houses were destroyed." On Sept. 8th the 
Germans shot in his garden an inhabitant of 
Choisy who had just returned from Compiegne. 
They carried off four others on their retreat — one 
escaped, one is known to have been shot, and the 
others were not heard of again. 

(iii) Across the Oise. 

Between the junction of the Aisne and a point 
due north of Paris, von Kluck's Army made their 
passage of the Oise, and Comfiegne *^ was the first 
place they reached on the further bank of the river. 
From the famous Palace of Compiegne only a few 
objects were taken, but Count Orsetti's chateau, 
facing it, was completely sacked — " especially by 

*^ One 416-8. 
^^ One 419-423. 

[Map 3] 


non-commissioned officers, in the sight and with 
the cognisance of their superiors. Plate, jewels, 
and other objects of value were carried off, and 
the pillagers indulged in a regular orgy. Part of 
the plunder was brought into the courtyard of the 
chateau, checked, entered, packed, and loaded on 
two furniture vans flying Red Cross flags." This 
is the testimony of the Director of the Museum 
at Compiegne, and he adds that a German captain, 
appealed to to interfere, replied : " It is war, and 
besides — I have no time." 

Meanwhile, von Kluck's right wing, heading for 
Paris, arrived on Sept. 2nd at N o gent-sur-O'ise p 
" The Germans," states a witness, " forced their 
way into my house, broke the doors and windows, 
smashed the furniture, and carried me off, mis- 
handling me on the way. They dragged me as far 
as Creil, and both at Nogent and at Creil I saw 
them entering houses to pillage them. As they 
came out the houses took fire. About eight 
houses," he states, "were burnt at Nogent "; and 
another inhabitant describes how, after they had 
broken open his shutters and taken everything 
from his house that they wanted, they attempted 
to burn it by drenching a bundle of clothes in 
petrol and setting them alight. 

From Nogent the Germans passed straight on 

^" One 405-6. 

[Map 3I 


to Creil.^^ " They came to Creil on Sept. 2nd," 
states the Mayor's Assessor, M. Georges, "and 
their occupation lasted till Sept. 9th. There was 
wholesale pillage, and 43 houses were burnt by 
the enemy by means of fuses and grenades. To 
palliate these excesses, they alleged that they had 
been fired on by civilians, but I certify that this 
excuse is absolutely false. None of my fellow- 
citizens committed the slightest act of hostility. 
If shots were fired, they were fired at the moment 
of the Germans' entry by the French military 
engineers who were blowing up the bridge." This 
testimony is confirmed by the Germans them- 
selves. " Creil," writes a diarist; " the iron bridge 
had been blown up. For this whole streets were 
burnt and civilians shot." — -" I saw an Uhlan kill 
M. Parent," states a restaurant keeper at Creil, 
" as he was returning quietly from lunch. The 
Uhlan fired at a distance of seven or eight paces, 
and his victim was hit full in the chest and fell 
stiff. Four or five Uhlans threw themselves on 
his body and rifled it." Another inhabitant, M. 
Alexandre, was found lying in the street with his 
skull smashed in. A third, M. Breche, a bar- 
keeper, was carried off and shot because he could 
not serve the Germans fast enough. "A man 
killed?" remarked an officer; "we think nothing 

51 One 398-404 ; Bland p. 121. 


CREIL, NERY, T rum illy 25 

of it, one sees so many. Besides, we are fired at 
everywhere, so we kill and burn." He added that 
Breche was a blockhead. 

The Germans intended the pillage of Creil to 
be systematic. A group of civilian prisoners were 
interrogated in turn as to who were the richest 
men in their respective quarters of the town. 
About lOO civilians were seized in Creil altogether 
and were compelled to dig trenches for the Ger- 
mans and to cut down a crop of maize to improve 
their field of fire. The Germans kept them work- 
ing a week, during which time they gave them 
nothing to eat, but the women of Creil managed 
to bring them food. 

At Nery,^^ on Sept. ist, the Germans seized 
the manager of a sugar factory and his staff — 
twenty-six persons, including women and children 
— and used them as a screen to protect their flank 
against the British artillery fire. A foreman was 
wounded ; a woman was hit in the stomach and 
died within forty-eight hours. The Germans 
plundered the whole village of Nery, breaking 
in the doors, and burned one house down. They 
plundered Trumilly ^^ on Sept. 3rd. A lady com- 
plained to a colonel of a non-commissioned officer 
who had stolen jewels from her worth 10,000 

^2 One 376-8. 
53 One 424-9. 

[Map 3] 


francs, but the colonel replied with a smile : " I 
am sorry, Madame, but it is war." The same non- 
commissioned officer forced another woman to lie 
with him by threatening her with his rifle — her 
husband was with the colours. Crefy-en-Valois ^^ 
was entered on Sept. 2nd, and for four days 
the Germans poured through. The place was 
thoroughly pillaged — linen and jewellery were, as 
usual, most eagerly sought after, and all the safes 
were broken open. The Germans reached Villers- 
Samt-Frainbourg^^ too, on Sept. 2nd, at 9 
o'clock at night. " They seized horses, slaughtered 
cattle, stole bicycles, and emptied nearly all the 
cellars." They also murdered here a civilian 
brought from Senlis ^® — tieing him to a post with 
his hands behind his back and bayoneting him 
to death. " He was not killed by bullets, for his 
stomach had been gashed open, and the wall 
behind him showed no trace of bullet-marks." 
That night at Villers-Saint-Frambourg a soldier 
violated a woman, who took refusfe with neig"h- 
hours when the man had gone away. " I was well 
advised to do so," she remarks, " for numbers of 
soldiers came to my house, directed, no doubt, by 
the first. They broke the windows out of spite at 

^* One 407. 
^^ One 396-7. 
^8 Cp. One 387. 



not finding me there, and stole my pig, poultry, 
and rabbits, as well as my pots and pans." 

On Sept. 2nd Senlis^'^ was sacked. "About 
half-past three in the afternoon," states the town 
clerk of Senlis, " I was informed that the Germans 
were at the H6tel-de-Ville, and that the Mayor, 
M. Odent, was asking for me. . . . The Mayor 
was surrounded by a group of officers, and one of 
them, doubtless the highest in rank, said to him : 
' Our men have been fired on.' When M. Odent 
protested, he repeated : ' Our men have been fired 
on.' I then proposed to M. Odent that I should 
go and find his Assessors, but he did not wish it, 
and said that ' one victim was enough.' " After 
this, the Mayor was led off by the German officer to 
the Hotel du Grand Cerf, to expedite the serving 
of dinner for forty persons which the officer had 
ordered ; the officer also ordered the Mayor to see 
that the town was lighted up that night. " About 
ten minutes later," continues the town clerk, who 
had been requested by the Mayor to see to this 
order, " a fusillade — the first firing there had been 
— broke out between the German troops in the 
Rue de la Republique and French soldiers who, 
as I afterwards learnt, were posted in the neigh- 
bourhood of the hospital." 

The Germans immediately seized a number of 

s^ One 379-395- 

[Map 3] 


civilians and drove them down the Rue de la 
Republique as a screen.^^ " I was acting as inter- 
preter between M. Dupuis and the Germans," 
states one woman, " not far from my house. The 
Germans dragged me off. My little daughter 
Claire, five years old, saw me in the middle of 
them and came running up. I asked permission to 
take her back to the house; the Germans refused. 
' If we are not fired on,' they said, ' you shall be 
released.' Then they made us walk down the 
middle of the road, while they themselves kept to 
the side. At a certain moment a shot came from 
a window — I saw a black face. The house was 
instantly riddled with bullets. Opposite the hos- 
pital, while we were still walking in the middle of 
the (German) troops, the Moroccans opened a 
fusillade. The Germans replied, and my child 
was wounded by a bullet in the thigh — the wound 
is not healed yet." ^^ — " I was taken along to the 
neighbourhood of the hospital," states another 
inhabitant, " with various other civilians, and when 
the black troops fired on the Germans, the latter 
exposed us to the bullets and compelled us to 
walk in the middle of the road." 

Meanwhile, the Germans were setting the town 
on fire. " The enemy," states M. de Parseval, one 

58 One 381, 385-6, 391. 
^^ Nov. 20th, 19 1 4. 



of the Mayor's Assessors, " were furious at meeting 
with resistance, and, pretending that it was 
civilians who had fired on them, deliberately- 
started conflagrations in two districts of the town. 
A hundred and five houses were burnt on Sept. 
2nd and the following day." ^'^ — " On Sept. 2nd 
and 3rd," states a gardener,^^ " I was constantly 
about in the streets, keeping an eye on the premises 
under my charge. I saw the Germans in the act 
of setting fire to several houses. They came up 
in column, and, at a whistle from an officer, certain 
of them stepped out from the ranks to break in 
the doors and house-fronts with axes. Others 
then came and set the house on fire. After that, 
patrols came round to see if the fire had caught 
properly, and shot into any houses where the 
flames were not spreading quickly enough. They' 
all shouted like savages while they were at work. 
To start the fire, the incendiaries used tubes, 
fuses, and grenades." 

Incendiarism was accompanied by murder. 
" We were exposed to the French bullets," states 
one of a group of four men who were driven in 
the civilian screen.*'^ " I immediately saw Ley- 
marie fall mortally wounded, and as I was prop- 
ping him against a wall I was struck myself by a 

. ^ One 379. 
«i One 380 ; cp. 386, 390. 
62 One 384. 

[Map 3] 

30 ' ACROSS THE 01 SE 

bullet above the knee. Levasseur was killed next. 
At this moment a (German) officer appeared, made 
me get up, ordered me to show him my wound, 
and proceeded to fire a bullet point blank into my 
shoulder. My fourth companion was also wounded 
by a German." Four other men went to look at a 
granary which the Germans had set on fire. They 
were shot at by a patrol of Uhlans, and took refuge 
in a stable, but when they ventured out again 
they were received with another volley. One was 
killed outright; a second had three fingers carried 
away and was wounded in the groin — he died in 
hospital after a week.*'^ A bar-keeper, whose 
premises the Germans were looting, was dragged 
out and shot dead on his threshold for raising his 
hand.''* A householder, whose door had been 
broken in and who was bringing the Germans 
wine on their demand, was found by his wife, a 
few minutes afterwards, lying dead on the stairs, 
with a bullet wound through his chest.^^ A feeble- 
minded person lying in bed in the hospital was 
shot dead by a German officer who forced his way 
thither in a state of frenzy .^^ Ten civilians alto- 
gether were murdered here and there in Senlis 
on Sept. 2nd by individual German soldiers and 

6^ One 389-390. 
c* One 386. 
6^' One 388. 
^'^ One 395. 

[Map 3] 


officers. The German Higher Command com- 
pleted the work by the massacre of the Mayor and 
six other citizens in the Commune of Chamant, 
outside the town. 

" We were led next to the hamlet of Poteau," 
states an inhabitant of Senlis who had survived 
the ordeal in the Rue de la Republique.*^^ " Here 
we found the Mayor, M. Odent, who was a 
prisoner, and were taken along with him to 
Chamant. The Mayor was brutally maltreated by 
German soldiers on the way. They snatched his 
gloves from him and threw them in his face ; they 
struck him violently over the head with his cane. 
At Chamant two officers took command of our 
guards. Then a third arrived, and walked up to 
M. Odent. Twice over he charged him with 
having fired, or incited others to fire, on the Ger- 
man troops, and then informed him, in spite of his 
protestations of innocence, that he was going to 
be shot. The Mayor then asked permission to 
bid us farewell. It was granted him, and he came 
and shook our hands, saying : ' I am going to be 
shot. Good-bye.' He was immediately led away 
to a distance of about a dozen yards, and two 
soldiers were ordered to fire on him. He fell 
without a cry, and was buried immediately."— 
" He advanced very bravely to the spot," adds 

67 One 381. 

[Map 3] 


another witness *'^; "it was eleven o'clock at 

The six other victims had already been mas- 
sacred. "On Sept. 1 2th," states the municipal 
clerk of the works,*^^ " I went to Chamant Lo see to 
the disinterment of M. Odent's body. I also had 
the bodies of six other persons who had been 
shot by the Germans disinterred. . . . All were 
perfectly well recognised and identified by 
members of their families. Some of them had 
wounds in the chest, others in the head." ■ 

(iv) The Crossing of the Marne. 

The treatment of Senlis on Sept. 2nd was the 
measure of what Paris had to expect within the 
next few days. At Gouvieux^^ east of Senlis in 
the direction of the Oise, Uhlan advance-guards 
fired on a woman driving with her son and 
daughter in a trap — the son and daughter died of 
their wounds; the mother, though seriously 
wounded, survived — and in the same commune a 
young man was murdered as he was bicycling 
along a road. Paris was barely twenty miles off, 
but at this point von Kluck suddenly changed 
direction, and, swerving aside from Paris, headed 
south-eastward for the Marne. 

.«8 One 382. 
''" One 394. 
'0 Five 84-7. 

[Map 3] 



\ !■ 


'■f9m ^^S 




At Baron"^^ a civilian, M. Alberic Magnard, 
fired on the Germans who had surrounded his 
villa, killing one soldier and wounding another — 
the first authenticated case of firing by a civilian 
in the whole course of von Kluck's advance from 
Liege. The villa was set on fire, and M. Magnard 
shot himself in the flames. In further reprisals 
the commune was plundered — " under the direc- 
tion of officers," states the notary, " or, at any rate, 
with their consent. One officer forced me to 
open my safe," he continues, " and took posses- 
sion, in my presence, of a sum of 8,300 francs 
which the safe contained. I refused at first to 
obey, but he ordered two men to load their rifles. 
... I saw another officgr wearing nine women's 
rings on his fingers, and three bracelets on either 
arm. . . . The soldiers who burned M. Magnard's 
house bore the word ' Gibraltar ' on their sleeves. 
The officer with the rings on his fingers and the 
bracelets on his arms belonged to the same 

At Douy-la-Ramee^'^ in the Department of 
Seine-et-Marne, the Germans burned down the 
mill and tried to throw a mill-hand into the flames 
No provocation was given them at Douy, and they 
had been inquiring after the exact situation of the 

'•^ One 408-41 1. 
'- One 8-9. 

[Map 3j 
(i.T. • D 


mill at the villages on their way. Their plans 
were going amiss ; they were nearing the turning- 
point of their progress, and, like the other Ger- 
man armies abreast of them, they vented their rage 
on everything they encountered on their path. 
At Barcy^^ they burned down the archive room 
at the Mairie, shelled the hospital, and killed 
eighteen wounded French soldiers lying there. At 
Penchard ^^ they burned three houses ; at Netif- 
montiers ^^ three ricks and a farm. At Chanconin ^° 
they carried off two vanloads of booty, and burned 
five houses and six barns. Chauconin looks down 
from its hill upon Meaux and the valley of the 
Marne, but the Germans did not descend on 
Meaux or cross the river here. They had to face 
the threat to their flank from Paris, and, leaving 
a rearguard to meet it, they swerved, again, still 
further to the east. 

They reached the Marne at Vareddes^ pillaged 
the place, and carried off seventeen hostages, in- 
cluding the cure. Three at least of these hostages 
were killed — one of them a man seventy-three 
years old. " He was taken to Coulombs," states 
his brother-in-law^®; "by Wednesday he could 

" One 7. 

'■» One 5-6. 

" One 8. 

7« One 1-2. 

" One 17-19 ; cp. 4. 

" One 4. 

[Map 3] 


no longer walk ; next day he was given a bayonet 
stroke in the forehead and a revolver shot in the 
heart. I myself brought his body back from 
Coulombs and buried it at Congis." At Congis 
the Germans arrested a man sixty-six years old 
near a spot called Gue-a-Tresmes, tied him to a 
cattle-tether, and shot him— out of spite, because 
they found no money in his purse. (Two civilians 
from Vareddes were compelled to remove corpses 
at Gue-a-Tresmes, and clean up the chateau 
there.^®) After this murder the Germans prepared 
to set Congis on fire. " They stuffed twenty 
houses with straw and drenched them with petrol, 
but the arrival of the French troops fortunately 
prevented them from carrying out their purpose." 
At Lizy-sur-Ourcq ^^ they pillaged systematic- 
ally from Sept. 3rd to Sept. 9th — the period of 
their occupation. The contents of chemists' shops, 
ironmongers' shops, bicycle shops were loaded on 
motor-lorries and horse-waggons and hand-carts. 
" The most eager pillagers were men wearing the 
Red Cross badge." — " If one attempted to stop 
and watch them at work, they came and thrust 
their revolvers at one's chest." The Inspector of 
Gendarmerie at Lizy states that all the communes 
in his district were plundered in this thorough- 

"^ One 19. 
"" One T0-12. 

[Map 3] 

D 2 


going fashion, and the booty carried off in 
vehicles commandeered from the inhabitants. 
Mary-sur-Marne,^^ too, was plundered, and a cus- 
tomer was killed here at a bar by a German cavalry 
patrol. At Mary the Germans carried off their 
plunder in their own army carts. At May-en- 
Multien ^^ they carried it off in motor-lorries. 
Here, too, there was wanton firing on civilians — 
none were killed outright, but a woman lost her 
arm and died in hospital at Meaux.^® 

This was west of the Ourcq, but several of von 
Kluck's corps came down to the east of that river, 
moving from Compiegne through Villers-Cotterets. 
Near Vivieres,^^ in the Department of the Aisne, 
on Sept. 2nd, they shot an agricultural labourer 
seventy-seven years old. " My men were a little 
too quick," the German non-commissioned officer 
remarked — the old man had not heard, at 300 
yards, the officer's order to halt. At D amfleux^^ 
on the edge of the forest, they shot a civilian from 
Villers-Cotterets. At Noroy-sur-Ourcq ^^ they 
murdered a garde-champetre, sixty-nine years old, 
in his cottage. He was found with his skull beaten 
in, lying in a pool of blood. At Chouy ^^ they 

®' One 20-1. 

*2 One 13-15. 

*^ One 16. 

s* Five 61. 

*^ Five 63-4. 

*^ P^ive 69-71. 

'*'' Five 67-8 ; cp. 62. 

[Map 3] 


carried off the blacksmith, and his wife had no 
news of him till she heard, a month later, that he 
had died in hospital at Soissons. He was seen on 
Sept. 9th at Neuilly-Saint-Front. "I saw him 
pass," states a witness, " tied to the tail of a horse, 
going through the town in the direction of 
Chateau-Thierry. An hour later I saw him come 
back in the same plight. By then his face was 
covered with blood, and appeared to have been 
slashed with a sabre. I heard of his death at 
Soissons later." Neuilly-Saint-Front ^^ was pil- 
laged by the Germans. They requisitioned an 
inhabitant to remove their plunder with his own 
horses and cart, and then sent him to an intern- 
ment camp in Germany. At Bre2dl^^ near Neuilly, 
they wounded two women on their v/ay into town 
to buy bread — one of them was injured seriously. 
Crossing the Ourcq, they pillaged Brumetz^'^ 
on Sept. 3rd ; on the 4th they burned a tobac- 
conist's shop there, on the 7th a chateau. Cross- 
ing the Marne, above its junction with the Ourcq, 
they came, on Sept. 4th, to Jouane^^ in the Depart- 
ment of Seine-et-Marne, and plundered it in the 
usual way. " The loot was loaded on motor-cars 
marked with the Red Cross. The troops followed 
one another in an endless stream, and the pillage 

^ Five 62. 
"^ One 435-6. 
*' Five 58. 

[Map 3j 


began again as each new corps arrived — as far as 
there was anything left to take. The total losses 
notified exceed 600,000 francs." 

Sablonnieres,^^ on the Petit Morin, was entered 
by the Germans on Sept. 4th. Their cavalry 
caught a civilian on a bicycle, and made him ride 
behind them when they were fired at by French 
chasseurs and were beating a retreat. An officer 
fired his revolver at him ; a trooper knocked him 
off his bicycle with his lance ; finally, they stripped 
him to the waist, and in four encounters with the 
French compelled him to stand erect while they 
themselves took cover from the bullets. "On 
Sept. 4th," states a peasant of Sablonnieres, " I 
was minding my cows in a field near the village, 
v/hen a German infantryman, who was lagging a 
little behind his column, knelt down and covered 
me with his rifle from about 150 yards off. I said 
to myself : ' He is not really going to fire at me,' 
but the thought was hardly in my mind when the 
rifle cracked and I received a bullet in the left 
cheek. You can see the scar." — " My commune 
was thoroughly pillaged," states the Mayor of 
Sablonnieres. "A cane-trunk factory was par- 
ticularly badly looted. The stolen trunks were 
used for carrying off the rest of the plunder. A 
bicycle shop was also sacked, as well as a general 

91 One 44-8. 

[Map 3] 


shop and some private houses." On Sept. 8th, 
when the Germans were being driven out, one of 
them wounded a civilian who had taken refuge 
under a bridge. The man was carried to a British 
military ambulance, and died. 

At Rebais,^^ on Sept. 4th, the Germans, as they 
entered, shot down several British troopers who 
were retiring before their advance. The English- 
men lay in the street, and one of them, pinned 
down by his dead horse, lifted his arm in token of 
distress. A German officer came up and shot him 
through the head. A second Englishman had got 
to his feet and raised both arms in surrender, but 
a German private felled him with his rifle-butt 
and finished him off with repeated blows. " Three 
times," states a witness, " I heard him cry for 
mercy." After this, the Germans gave themselves 
up to pillage. They pillaged a jeweller's shop 
in the usual way, loading its contents on a waggon 
at the door. " Then they bored holes in the walls 
and the floor, and, an instant later, the neighbours 
saw that the shop was on fire. They noticed the 
soldiers throwing in grenades to make the fire 
catch quicker." — ■" I saw one soldier," states 
another witness, " set fire to three houses in suc- 
cession. He broke the window-panes and threw 
in blazing straw." The pillage and arson were 

^■^ One 49-53, 60-2. 

[Map 3] 


accompanied by extreme personal violence. xA.n 
old man of seventy-nine was hit repeatedly over 
the head, had his watch stolen from him and 
800 francs, and was shot at with a revolver — the 
bullet grazed his forehead. A w^oman was beaten 
over the head and about the body, stripped naked, 
and kept for an hour and a half in this condition 
in the middle of a crowd of German soldiers. 
" Finally," she states, " they bound me to my 
counter and signified their intention of shooting 
me. There were quite a number of officers among 
them. At the moment when, without doubt, they 
were going to carry their threat out, they were 
called away to another house. They left me in 
charge of a soldier who told me he was an 
Alsatian. This soldier unbound me, and I 
escaped." The next day, Sept. 5th, they hanged 
a woman because she resisted their attempts to 
violate her (after looting her shop). " My feet," 
she states, " were already about twenty inches from 
the ground, when I managed to get my penknife 
out of my pocket, open it, and cut the cord. I fell 
to the ground, and m.y assailants began to be- 
labour me with blows. An officer, fetched by 
someone who had seen what was going on, ordered 
them to go away. They obeyed, but came back 
before long, and tried — unsuccessfully — to break 
open my shutters." 



In a villasfe between Rebais and Coulommiers 
the body of a woman was found by the British 
troops. " She had been stabbed between the 
breasts," states a British corporal,^^ " and was quite 
dead. The priest said she had been outraged. 
The Germans had, I think, left the village the 
night before. The house and all the other houses 
had been ransacked and turned upside down." 
At Saint-D enis-les-Rebais^^ too, a woman was 
violated by an Uhlan, but was not killed. 

"At Coulommiers^^ on the Grand Morin, a 
German officer arrested the Procureur de la 
Republique. The Procureur had not known 
where oats were to be found in the town, and they 
had now been found by the Germans themselves. 
The officer broke out into abuse : " You are a liar, 
you pig." — " You pig, you shall be shot." — " You 
pig, shut your mouth." — " If you have not found 
more oats within an hour, you shall be shot." — 
" We know the town is rich ; a million francs, two 
millions, could be exacted here ; if to-morrow morn- 
ing, by 8 o'clock, you have not collected 100,000 
francs, you shall be shot, and the town shall be 
bombarded and burnt." The Procureur, with the 
Mayor and the Town Clerk, was shut up in the 
lavatory of a private house for the night. A 

"■■^ Bryce p. 193. 
»< One 54^6. 
^•' One 30-2, 

[Map 3] 


soldier showed the Town Clerk a bucket of petrol 
on the stairs : " If we are fired on, we shall send 
a shot into that bucket and burn the house with 
you in it." At 2 in the morning they were led 
out to be shot. The firing-party cleaned their 
arms and lined up opposite them; the prisoners 
stood thus for 20 minutes, then, instead, they were 
driven along with the army, and finally released 
on the road. There was the usual pillage at 
Coulommiers — plate, blankets, linen, boots and 
bicycles were loaded on to motor-lorries and car- 
ried off. A woman was violated in the presence 
of her husband and children — the husband was 
terrorised by the assailants' arms. 

At /ouy-sur-Morin^^ two Germans came into a 
house carrying looted bottles of champagne, and 
violated a girl of eighteen — the mother was kept 
off with the bayonet by each soldier in turn; the 
father was away. 

The chateau of La Masure^"^ in the commune 
of la Ferte-Gaucher, was visited by four Germans 
— one of them an officer — on Sept. 6th. There 
were three civilians on the premises — the owner, 
M. Quenescourt, aged 'j'j\ his maid, aged 54; and 
a woman of 40, the wife of a refugee, who was 
receiving shelter in the chateau, with her twelve- 
s' One 57. 
^'' One 58-9 ; Bland pp. 93-7 ; Bryce p. 195 ( = Bland pp. 93-5). 

[Map 3] 



year-old son. The Germans took refreshment 
and went off; but between 7 and 8 in the even- 
ing all four returned. " They seemed the worse 
for drink, especially the officer." They began 
firing through the gate, and hit one of the watch- 
dogs, which had to be put out of its misery. When 
the gate was opened to them they demanded food 
and lodging. The maid cooked them food, and 
then M. Quenescourt advised both women to con- 
ceal their whereabouts for the night. They 
attempted to do so, but the Germans searched for 
them, and found first the refugee and then the 
maid. " The officer dragged me up to the attic," 
states the former, "tore off all my clothes, and 
tried, unsuccessfully, to violate me. Meanwhile, 
one of the soldiers robbed me of my purse con- 
taining 30 francs. At this moment M. 
Quenescourt, wishing to save me, fired up the 
staircase with a revolver. He was shot imme- 
diately, and the officer then made me leave the 
attic and compelled me to step over M. 
Quesnescourt's body." Finally the officer handed 
over his victim to his three companions. They 
threw her on to the murdered man's bed and vio- 
lated her there, while the officer went to look for 
the maid. " He brought me," states the latter, 
"to see the body of my master. It was lying 
on the stairs, with one wound in the head and 

[Map 3] 


several others in the chest. . . . The officer then 
made me strip completely naked and violated me; 
he ordered me to make him coffee ; he forced me to 
lie with him all night, keeping his rifle within 
reach, and gripping me tight all the time to pre- 
vent me from getting away." In the morning the 
women had to prepare coffee and chocolate for 
the four Germans. The officer dragged in two 
male civilians, and stripped the younger woman 
naked in their presence. " He aimed his revolver 
at us several times, and looked about for petro- 
leum to fire the chateau and the farm. They all 
went off that morning about 8 o'clock. . . ." 

In the town of La Ferte-Gaucher^'^ the Germans 
broke into a house and violated a woman in the 
presence of her four-year-old child. Pressing 
on from the Grand Morin to the Aubetin, they 
entered Mauferthzds^^ on Sept. 6th, seized a 
civilian from his house, and shot him at the other 
end of the street, as well as one of the hostages 
dragged hither from Vareddes.^ They also seized 
and shot two caretakers in a neighbouring farm. 
In another farm, near Amillis^ they violated a 
woman, attacking her with bayonets drawn and 
revolver in hand. At Beton-Bazoches ^ they vio- 

^ Five 60. 

«" One 37-43- 

' See p. 19 above. 

^ Five 59. 

^ One 33. 

[Map 3] 


lated a woman whose husband was with the 
colours, with her child three years old in the room. 
At Courtacon,^ on Sept. 6th, they burned a num- 
ber of houses, sprinkling them first with petrol 
and with one of the specially prepared inflammable 
liquids which they carried with them for this pur- 
pose. " Inhabitants," states the Mayor, " were 
compelled to provide matches and faggots." The 
troops who did this belonged to the Prussian 
Guard. Their next act was to drag the Mayor, 
four men of the commune, and a boy of thirteen 
to the firing-line, and use them as a screen. These 
five escaped with their lives, but the Germans 
led up a boy belonging to the conscript class of 
19 14, and asked the Mayor whether he were a 
soldier. " I told them," states the Mayor, "' that 
he had been passed for military service, but that 
his class had not yet been called up. They 
stripped off his trousers to see if he were sound ; 
then they let him dress again, and shot him fifty 
yards from where we were. I saw him fall." The 
boy was buried by his mother next day. At Sancy- 
les-Provins,^ on Sept. 6th, a woman whose hus- 
band was with the colours and who was alone in 
her house with four children, was violated by a 
German cyclist quartered on her for the night. 

"• One 27-9. 
'•' One 22-6. 

[Map 3] 


That evening the Germans collected about eighty 
inhabitants of Sancy in a sheep-fold, and next 
morning early, when they evacuated the village, 
they carried thirty of them, including the cure, 
away. They took them to a barn, where a German 
Red Cross ambulance was stationed. " A German 
surgeon-major," states the cure, "said something 
to the " (German) " wounded, and these at once 
loaded four rifles and two revolvers. I saw that 
they were going to execute us. A French hussar, 
wounded and a prisoner, said to me : ' M. le cure, 
come and give me absolution; I am going to be 
shot, and then it will be your turn.' I fulfilled his 
wish, and then, unbuttoning my cassock, went and 
stood against the wall between the Mayor and 
another of my parishioners. But at that moment 
two French mounted chasseurs arrived and saved 
our lives, for the Germans surrendered to them 
immediately. The hussar and all my companions 
made off, and we returned to the village without 
any further incident." It was the turn of the tide. 
Von K luck's Army was in retreat. 

(v) From Liege to the Sambre. 

While von Kluck passed westward out of 
Brabant to the Scheldt, von Biilow, on his left, 
wheeled southward to the Sambre, and made his 
way to the Marne by more easterly routes. 



Leaving Brabant behind them and skirting the 
forts of Namur, von Billow's Army traversed 
Gembloux on their way into Hainaut. In the 
market-place of Gembloux a Belgian despatch- 
rider*^ saw the body of a woman pinned to the 
door of a house by a sword driven through her 
chest. The body was naked and the breasts had 
been cut off. In Hainaut, von Billow's right flank 
spread out westwards, to keep touch with von 
Kluck's left in the direction of Mons. At 
Peronnes'^ they burned 63 houses and shot 
8 civilians, including the Burgomaster. " They 
shot the Burgomaster and his servant," states a 
Belgian witness,^ " in front of the H6tel-de-Ville. 
They bandaged the Burgomaster's eyes with his 
tricolour scarf of office. The relations of the dead 
men were ordered not to touch the bodies, which 
were left in the street forty-eight hours. . . . 
Three or four days before the Germans arrived, 
the Burgomaster had informed the civilian 
population, by means of circulars distributed to 
each house and placards, that all guns and fire- 
arms must be deposited at the H6tel-de-Ville, 
and this was done." At Fauroeulx^ on Aug. 24th, 
the Germans sacked the communal building, the 


xxii p. : 


b 16. 

xxii pp. 



[Map 2] 


school, and the schoolmaster's house. For the six 
ensuing days they made requisitions without 
vouchers or payment in cash. Then, on Aug. 
30th, they drove all the inhabitants out. The 
latter, when at the end of a fortnight they were 
allowed to return, found that 98 out of 104 houses 
in their village had been pillaged. The same 
method of pillage after expulsion was applied to 
ten other neighbouring villages — notably Haul- 
chin, Bienne-les-H affart, Peissant, Merbes-le- 
Chdteau, and Sars-la-Buissiere — all situated in 
the obtuse-angle between the French frontier and 
the Sambre. The Germans admit (by excusing) 
their conduct in the statement^" that at Peissant 
they found the doors and shutters of the houses 
barred and loopholed — as doubtless they did, for 
the British troops had been before them in this 
district and had made preparations for defence. 

The French, too, on von Billow's main front, 
defended the line of the Sambre, and the civilian 
inhabitants of the towns and villages alonof the 
river were treated atrociously by von Billow's 
troops in revenge for the military resistance they 

At M onceau-stir-Sainbre,^^ on Aug. 22nd, the 
first Uhlans suffered casualties from French 

^^ German White Book, Appendix 52. 

" b 17 ; xxii p. 142 ; Ann. 5 ; R pp. 129-132 ; German White 
Book, Appendix 46. 

[Maps I, 2] 

^m'- '91 

■^ . •.-.,! 

m ' !' 

!k.L * ^' 

^ 1 ' 


In ', 













pickets on the outskirts of the town, and when 
they approached the river they were caught by 
French machine-gun fire from the bridge at 
Marchienne. " They proceeded," states an in- 
habitant of Monceau, whom they had taken 
prisoner, " to fire into the windows of the houses 
and break open the doors with their rifle-butts 
or with the axes which certain German infantry- 
men carry for this special purpose. . . . Shrieking 
like savages, they entered the houses and dragged 
out the inhabitants, making prisoners of men, 
women, and children alike. They then set fire to 
all the houses in the Rue de Trazegnies." The 
arson was effected by the usual method — a second 
squad of soldiers threw in bombs, hand-grenades, 
petrol or naphtha after the first squad had broken 
in the windows and doors. Two hundred and 
fifty-one houses altogether were burnt down or 
gutted by the fire ; sixty-two others were pillaged. 
On a rough valuation, it is estimated that 1,500,000 
francs' worth of real property was destroyed and 
personal property to the value of 500,000 francs, 
not reckoning in what the German pillagers carried 
away. The slaughter was in proportion to the 
destruction. Twenty-eight of the inhabitants were 
massacred as they came out of their houses ; thirty 
received wounds from which they subsequently 
died ; twelve were executed in cold blood. By 

[Maps I, 2] 
G.T. E 


Nov. 4th, 19 1 6, seventy inhabitants of Monceau 
had died at the hands of the Germans altogether. 
The circumstances of the massacre were atrocious. 
An old man of seventy-seven was killed as he was 
leaving his burning house. Entire families were 
killed — in one case ^^ a father, a mother, and a boy 
eight years old. " The woman was shot point- 
blank in the courtyard of her house. The father, 
holding the child by the hand, took refuge in the 
garden ; they were discovered by a German soldier 
and were both shot dead." In another house- 
hold ^^ they shot a boy of eighteen in the garden, 
carried off the other son and the father to the 
Chateau Baslieu, and shot them there, with other 
civilian prisoners, against a wall. " They shot the 
son first ; then they compelled the father to stand 
close to his son's feet and to fix his eyes upon 
him, and shot him in that position." The boy shot 
in the garden had been carried into the house by 
the neighbours, at his mother's entreaty, and laid 
on a bed. Next morning the Germans asked what 
had happened to the corpse, and, hearing, piled 
straw round the bed and set it on fire — the whole 
house was burnt down. 

"At Monceau," as a German diarist^* describes 
it, " when our v/ork was done, we assembled out- 

'- xxii p. 142. 

13 b 18. 

14 Ann. 5. 

[Maps I, 2] 


side the town, where the whole population had 
been gathered together for sentence, and all those 
who were found with weapons in their possession 
(sic) were shot." The remainder, including the 
Burgomaster, and numbering several hundred 
altogether, were driven before the Germans as a 
screen in their advance across the Sambre. " The 
soldiers," states one of these prisoners,^^ " struck 
us with their rifle-butts and bayonets. The Uhlans 
rode us down and struck us with their lances. I 
saw one man whose whole body was slashed by 
stabs from the lance. We were driven up the 
Rue de Trazegnies in the middle of the flames. 
The houses on either side of the street were 
burning." At the first halting place five of the 
prisoners were singled out and shot. " We heard 
the reports, and the firing-party returned to con- 
tinue their meal. Others were playing gramo- 
phones and accordions taken from the pillaged 
houses. . . . We were then placed in ranks of 
four, followed by eight soldiers with loaded rifles. 
We were warned that if a single shot were fired, 
by civilians or soldiers, we should all be shot. 

" When we were approaching the railway station 
at M archienne-au-P ont}'^ the soldiers saw several 
civilians in the street and fired at them, happily 

1^ Reply p. 131 ; vii p. 53. 
>•' b 22 ; xxii p. 139. 

[Maps I, 2] 

E 2 


without result. We continued on our way in the 
middle of the flames; from time to time we had 
to turn aside to avoid the corpses of civilians and 
horses lying in the streets." Twenty-four civilians 
were massacred at Marchienne ; one of them was 
an old woman of seventy-four, and another a girl 
of seventeen, who had cried " Vive TAngleterre," 
mistaking the Germans for British troops. This 
girl's body was seen two days later lying in a field. 
" It was quite naked, and the breast was cut and 
covered with blood." 

" At last," continues the witness, " we arrived at 
Montigny-le-Tilleul,^'^ where we were shut up for 
the night in a small barn. About fifty people from 
Montigny — young men, old men, women, and 
babies in arms — were crowded in there as well. 
We were so crowded that we could not move. 
The heat was intolerable." 

Five more of the prisoners from Monceau were 
shot that night, and two inhabitants of Montigny 
were shot as well. But next morning the prisoners 
from Montigny were released, and only those from 
Monceau were driven on — against the French 
positions at Gozee, which the Germans were 
marching to attack. " All the big farms in the dis- 
trict of Gozee and Thuillies were pillaged, and the 
fine horses carried away." 

*'' xxii p. 139. 

[Maps I, 2] 


Meanwhile, further east, other columns of von 
Billow's were marching on Charleroi. At Gos- 
selies ^^ they seized thirty civilians and drove them 
forward to fumet}^ " The Germans entered 
Jumet," states a witness, "on Aug. 22nd. I saw 
them driving before them, to a place where French 
troops were entrenched, about 100 Belgian 
civilians, including some persons I knew. There 
were several women among them, and I noticed 
one child. The French fired on them, but none 
were killed. The civilians were kept in line in 
front of the Germans by cavalry on either side of 
them. When the French began to fire, the Ger- 
mans fired on the civilians who were at hand and 
killed several. I was fired on, but not hit. The 
Germans fired into the houses on either side of the 
road." Ten civilians were killed at Jumet. " At a 
house close to mine," continues the witness, " the 
Germans banged on the door, and when my neigh- 
bour opened it to them he was shot in the face 
and killed " ; but the worst violences were com- 
mitted against women. One woman was driven 
along with blows from rifle-butts and added, with 
other women and children from Jumet, to the 
screen. Another, hiding in her cellar, was 
wounded by eight bullets and died in hospital. 

^* xxii p. 137. 

^^ b 19 ; xxii pp. 138-9, 140. 

[Map i] 


Another, hiding in an oven, was wounded, and 
died the following day. Another woman was 
wounded in the nose, another in the back, another 
in the knee, another in the face. Six women 
testified to having been shot at and wounded by 
the Germans without provocation. In one house 
at Jumet, on the Brussels road, five women were 
living — the youngest sixteen, the eldest sixty- 
eight. " The Germans put us in a field," they 
state, "where they bound us to five men. They 
told us that we should be shot. We remained there 
about twenty minutes. During this time the 
soldiers kept levelling their rifles at us and 
threatening us with their bayonets." 

Advancing from Jumet to Lodelinsart^ the 
Germans were received by French machine-gun 
fire and ran amok. At Lodelinsart twenty-four 
civilians were killed. " I saw there," states the 
last witness, "the dead bodies of two young men. 
They had been shot. The neighbours told me 
that these two young men and their father had 
been bound together by the Germans, and that, 
after the two sons had been shot, one of the 
father's hands was cut off. He was taken to the 
civil hospital at Charleroi." — "At Jumet and 
Lodelinsart," another witness states,^^ " I saw two 
German stretcher-bearers, who appeared to be 

20 xxii pp. 137, 140. 
-^ xxii p. 140. 

[Map i] 


drunk, leave their stretcher and go and set fire to 
the houses." 

In Charier o'l itself ^^ i6o houses were burnt, in 
the finest streets of the town. The incendiarism 
was carried out systematically, under officers' 
command. Here, too, civilians were driven as a 
screen before the German troops. There were 
two doctors ^^ among them, wearing Red Cross 
badges on their arms. An old man, over sixty, 
tried to reach his house. "The Germans seized 
him by the legs, dragged him back into the street, 
and shot him dead with rifles." — " While I was 
in the streets," states another witness, " a number 
of German cavalrymen came into the town. At 
the time there were a large number of civilians in 
the streets. The Germans, without any warning, 
shot at the civilians, and I saw four men shot 
dead." — " I had hidden in a cellar with some of 
my friends," states a third. " The Germans found 
us and fired in. I was not wounded myself, but 
one of my companions fell dead on my arm. . . . 
They tied our hands behind our backs. . . . We 
were obliged to bury the dead. ... As we were 
going away they shot at us and killed a man from 

" The next day," the same witness continues, 

22 b 21, 24-5 ; Reply pp. 120-1 : xxii p. 141 ; German White 
Book, Appendix 63 (uncorroborated by other evidence). 
'" Mentioned by name. 

[Map i] 


" I saw the Germans putting straw into the cellars 
of houses which had been burnt the day before, 
but in the cellars of which there were still living 
people, and setting the straw on fire. I was in 
the street when they were doing it. There were 
hundreds of Germans. There were officers order- 
ing them to do this. I afterwards saw the cellars 
full of dead bodies." Forty civilians in all at 
Charleroi were shot, burnt, or suffocated to death. 
At Marcinelle,^^ on Aug. 25th, a party of Uhlans 
were seen driving a body of fifty or sixty civilians 
before them. One old man, exhausted, was forced 
along by blows. At Couillet ^^ four civilians over 
sixty years old were killed, and eighteen alto- 
gether. On Aug. 25 th, the day the Germans 
entered Couillet, a young man returning home m 
the evening found his father, his mother, and his 
nephew (a child) lying dead in the house. " My 
father's body had eight bullet wounds in it, of 
which three were in the head and five in the body. 
My mother's body had five bullet wounds in it, 
one in the temple, one in the back of the skull, and 
three in the back. My nephew had been killed 
by a bayonet or sword — there were four wounds 
in the head and one in the stomach. There were 
twenty-seven bottles lying in the room, all of 

XV p. 21. 

b 23 ; xxii p. 138. 

[Map i] 


which were empty except one. These bottles had 
contained red wine." The father had been killed 
by eight German artillery officers because he had 
no bread in the house. They had killed the 
mother after she had brought them the wine. A 
few minutes later other Germans broke into the 
house, carried off the young man to Charleroi, 
and sent him with fifty other Belgian civilians in 
cattle-trucks to Aix-la-Chapelle. Here, after 
twelve days, a Bavarian soldier helped him to 
escape. When he returned to Couillet he found 
that his house had been burnt. 

Other German troops advanced through 
Boignee,^^ where they shot a woman in a field, 
and Pironckamps,^^ where they murdered four 
civilians, including a man of sixty and a girl of 
fifteen. At Gilly^^ they murdered six civilians. 
Two women were thrown into a cistern, and a 
baker's wife had her jaw shattered by a bullet as 
she was standing in her shop. Twenty-three 
civilians were killed at Farciennes^^ on the 
Sambre. Three of them were over sixty years 
old, three were children — one five months old and 
in its mother's arms. At Chdtelet^^ a proclama- 
tion, signed by Baron von Maltzahn, Comman- 

-° xxii'p. 139. 
'" xxii p. 137. 
■* xxii pp. 138, 139. 
■^ xxii p. 140. 

[Map i] 


dant, ordered every inhabitant having in his house 
a French or Belgian soldier, wounded or not, to 
notify the same at the H6tel-de-Ville, on penalty 
of being hanged himself and having his house 
burnt down. 

The Germans marched into Moittigny-sur- 
Samhre on Aug. 22nd. " First," states a Belgian 
witness,^" " came the cyclists, about twenty ; then 
about fifty infantry ; then a good hundred Belgian 
hostages collected from the neighbouring villages, 
two or three of whom I knew personally — one F., 
a priest, and another priest whose name I do not 
know; then more cyclists, then more infantry. 
Then followed nearly three hundred hostages, 
generally five in a row, though sometimes only 
four. There was a large new rope round them, 
and the front, rear, and outside men had to hold 
it in their hands. They were escorted by soldiers 
with fixed bayonets. 

"A detachm-ent halted in the street and put 
down their arms. The Belgians gave them every- 
thing they wanted — food, cigars, soap, towels, I 
think — so that they might have no harm done to 
them or their houses and shops. . . ." 

At this moment the French troops holding the 
crossing of the river opened fire on the Germans 
with two machine-guns posted outside the town. 
" The instant the French fired," continues the 

30 b 18. 

[Map i] 


Belgian witness, " the Germans set fire to houses 
all along the main street — I believe the total 
number was 131. They chased all the inhabitants 
out, saying that there were French soldiers there. 
There were no soldiers there, and they did not 
find a single one. . . , 

" All these houses were totally destroyed. The 
street opens out into a circular place. There they 
burned every house except three, one of the in- 
habitants of which spoke German and asked them 
not to. They each carried a little bag containing 
pellets of an explosive nature. ^^ They were a 
regular corps of incendiaries, and each of them 
had the word 'Gibraltar' on the left arm of his 
tunic. There were others who set fire to houses 
with petrol, but the regular incendiaries used these 
explosive pellets. They were thrown in in hand- 
fuls and made the fire burn very fiercely. 

" About 10.30 p.m. about 200 hostages passed. 
At about the same time they put about fifty men, 
women, and children on the bridge over the 
Sambre, and kept them there till 5 a.m. The 
200 hostages I saw at 10.30 were from Montigny 
itself. . . . 

"On Saturday night (Aug. 22nd) many of the 
Germans were drunk. They pillaged all the 
shops. The whole town was full of them. ... A 

^* The witness handed two samples of these to the Bryce 

[Map i] 


school prepared for Red Cross work, with beds all 
ready but not yet occupied by wounded, was burnt. 
It was a large building belonging to the Christian 
Brothers. Four of the latter were among the 
hostages I saw at 10.30 p.m., and were very badly 
treated. An officer, on inquiring what that large 
building was which was on fire, and learning that 
it was the Christian Brothers' temporary hospital, 
said: 'That is stupid.' ^^ They marched the 
Christian Brothers to Somzee, more than 20 kilo- 
metres away. They beat them and tore their 

The witness himself was seized as a hostage 
early on the morning of Aug. 23rd. "They 
charged me with not keeping the population in 
order, and said I was responsible for civilians 
firing on the soldiers. I replied that 1 had told 
everyone not to fire on the soldiers, and that I 
was sure that they had not done so. I explained 
that it was the French who had fired, and pointed 
out the position of their machine-guns. An officer 
said : ' It was the Garde Civique.' They had 
been disbanded on the Friday night, but I had 
not time to tell him so. All their rifles were in 
the H6tel-de-Ville. The Germans themselves 
had found them there and destroyed them, and 

^2 Another officer sent a soldier to save a priest's house from 
burning, when appealed to by the priest's niece, who spoke 

[Map i] 


set the H6tel-de-Ville on fire. The officer said he 
would destroy the whole town with big guns. 

" It was about an hour later when they took 
three men from among the hostages and shot 
them. It was said that these three had been found 
hidden in a cellar, and that there had been a 
revolver found in a chest of drawers on the first 
floor. There was no trial of any sort. . . . When 
they shot them, they told them to march forward, 
and then said : ' Halt ! Right about turn ! ' and 
shot them the moment they turned. Next day 
they put up a notice that all persons found with 
arms would be shot and their houses burnt." 

After these executions, the witness and the rest 
of the hostages were marched about the country- 
side all day. As they started, they were harangued 
by the German officer in command : " If we are 
fired at in the villages we are going through, you 
will all be shot. If we are not fired at, you will 
be set at liberty to-morrow." At their evening 
halt one of the hostages, a feeble-minded boy, 
tried to escape. He was shot in the thigh, and 
left to bleed to death. " The officer came up 
upon hearing the shots. He repeatedly struck 
the five men who were nearest the one who had 
tried to escape, with clenched fists, and banged 
their heads against the wall behind. Then he 
ordered the soldiers to shoot them. They led 

[Map I] 


them away a little distance and I heard the shots. 
He was in such a rage he could hardly speak." 

Next morning the witness was released, and 
returned to Montigny with a pass. " I visited the 
hospital," he states, " and saw twenty-seven lying 
dead. = . . Several of them had been killed in the 
presence of their wives." 

At Bouffi,oulx^^ on Aug. 22nd, ten civilians 
were killed — three of them being over sixty years 
of age. " I saw a man lying dead in the street," 
states a witness, " shot through the chest about 
fifty yards from his house. He was an old man 
of sixty-five, in his ordinary clothes. His brother- 
in-law told me, next day, that he had been dragged 
out of his house when he was alone there with his 
wife. ... In Boufiioulx about one-third of the 
houses were burnt down, and they tried to burn 
many others. I met one of my workmen sitting 
on his doorstep crying because they had burnt 
everything of his. I saw a friend dead in his 
house in the Chaussee d'Acoz. He had been shot 
in the chest, and his throat was cut." At Les 
Tiennes the same witness saw twenty-five cottages 
burning. He saw two men shot by the Germans 
as they tried to get out of a cellar, through the 
grating, to escape from the flames. In a hospital 
he saw a man and his wife — the man had been 
shot in the chest while getting out of his cellar; 

^^ b 20 ; xxii p. 138. 

[Map i] 


the woman could not get out, and was found 
there afterwards, terribly burnt. She died in hos- 
pital of her injuries. 

Aco2 ^* was evacuated by its inhabitants, at the 
request of the French Command, as soon as the 
Germans crossed the Sambre. " I met only very 
few people," states Lieutenant Huck, one of the 
German witnesses, who entered Acoz on Aug. 
24th ; " they were remarkably friendly, and offered 
me milk, and even water to wash with." In the 
H6tel-de-Ville the Germans found the rifles and 
cartridges— each packet of cartridges ticketed with 
the owner's name — which had been deposited 
here, as in most other Belgian communes, at the 
Burgomaster's request. Shots, however, were 
fired at the Germans from the deserted houses 
(doubtless by a French patrol), whereupon the 
Germans broke down the doors, shot the only 
three inhabitants they found in the village, in- 
cluding the cure, who was nearly seventy years 
old, and set the village on fire. The Communal 
building, the post-office, a convent, and a school 
were among the houses burnt. 

At Gougnies,^^ on Aug. 23rd, the Germans 
burned twenty-seven houses, including one which 
the owner had converted into a Red Cross 

^^ Mercier ; Reply pp. 108-9 ; German White Book, App. 4;; 
^* Reply p. 122 ; German White Book App. ■^^i- 

[Map i] 


hospital. Ten wounded French soldiers were 
burnt to death in this house, and the owner, an 
old man, was shot next day. Two other civilians 
were shot at Gougnies, one of them being eighty- 
three years old. 

At Hansmne, in the Canton of W alcourt, 
39 houses were burnt, at H ansinelle 73, at Somzee 
34. " At Somzee," states a witness in the German 
White Book,^^ " a number of civilians were shot " 
— because a German transport column was fired 
at by persons unascertained. In the Canton of 
Walcourt, 260 houses were burnt altogether. 

Von Billow's left flank columns crossed the 
Sambre close under the western forts of Namnr. 
At Jemeffe they burned 2 1 houses ; at Ham, 44 ; 
at Auvelais they burned 123, and killed about 55 
of the inhabitants. Above Auvelais, they crossed 
the Sambre at T amines f' on Aug. 21st. 

At Tamines, again, the French disputed the 
Germans' passage. There was an artillery duel, 
and French rifle fire swept the approaches to the 
bridge. The Germans collected the inhabitants 
of Tamines and lined them up as a screen. " We 
were about 800 persons," states one witness,^^ " in- 
cluding women and children. They put us into a 

^6 App. 34. 

^"^ b 14-15, 20 ; x p. 70 ; xi pp. 84-7 ; xxi pp. 1 19-123 ; Ann. 9 
Morgan p. 97. 
^^ xxi p. I20-. 

[Map i] 


meadow on the road to Velaines, The French 
ceased firing when they saw us. Then the German 
army defiled past us." — " I was seized with my 
father and brother," states another witness,^^ " in 
the cellar where I had taken refuge. There were 
about sixty of us, all men. The Germans put us 
in front of them as a shield. The French there- 
upon ceased firing. They allowed the Germans 
to cross the bridge and mass themselves in close 
formation, still preceded by us. About 5 o'clock 
the French opened fire with machine-guns. We 
threw ourselves on the ground ; some ten of us 
were killed or wounded; the French did all they 
could to spare us." A third witness*" watched the 
scene from a house on the further side. As soon 
as they were across, the people in the screen tried 
to save themselves by turning into the first houses 
beyond the bridge; the Germans fired on them, 
and several ran mortally wounded into the house 
in which the witness was standing, where they 

" During the battle," states the last witness but 
one, "the Germans set fire to all the houses in the 
Rue de la Station, the Place Saint-Martin, and 
the Rue de Falisolle. They did not look to see 
if there were people in the houses." Two hundred 

XXI p. 122. 

X p. 70. 

[Map I] 


and seventy-six houses were burnt down in 
Tamines from first to last. Meanwhile, the sur- 
vivors of the screen, their function accomplished, 
were marched back and locked up for the night in 
the church of les Alloux. " The children were 
crying and screaming. . . . Everybody was 
begging for mercy." " 

The pillage and incendiarism continued through 
the night. One household,*^ where the family had 
taken refuge in the cellar since 5 p.m. on Aug. 
2ist, was roused at 3 a.m. on the 22nd by German 
soldiers beating on the door. " They came in with 
their revolvers in their hands, saying : ' You see 
the fire all round you. Get out of this ; it is all to 
be burnt.' They then began to break everything, 
and to set fire to the house by means of little 
syringes. They broke the pumps to prevent us 
from extinguishing the flames. They drove us out 
with the butt-ends of their rifles. . . . Together 
with the children, we climbed a twelve-foot wall 
and found ourselves in a garden. German soldiers 
fired at us from the road adjoining the garden. 
My brother-in-law had two bullets in his left arm. 
At the screams of the children (there were six of 
them — four very young) the firing ceased. . . ." 

The last act at Tamines was reserved for that 
afternoon. " About 4.30," continues the witness, 

*i xxi p. 120. 

*2 xxi p. T2I. 

[Map I] 


" the German troops arrived at the Place Saint- 
Martin in large numbers. Some soldiers saw us. 
We came out, and they took us to a superior officer. 
He drew his revolver, aimed it at the men of the 
family, and told the soldiers that we must all be 
shot. We knelt dov/n and begged for mercy for 
the children. The soldiers then took us to the 
station, where another officer said : ' They must 
all be shot.' They set us against the wall and 
the soldiers pointed their guns at us. My sister- 
in-law went in search of the officer. The children 
cried : ' Have mercy upon us.' Then the officer 
called out : ' Halt ! ' He was quite a young man. 
He sent us to the church of les Alloux, where 
there were already 2,000 persons. The soldier 
said : ' You have been firing on us ; you will all 
be shot.' " 

What happened to the men is told by one of 
their number." " The Germans forced the in- 
habitants (women and children as well as men) 
to leave their houses and go to the church." While 
we went out by the front door the Germans entered 
by the back and set our houses on fire, so that in 
a very short time the whole commune was one 
vast furnace. When the whole population was 
assembled at the church, the women and children 

'^^ Morgan p. 97. 

** Of Saint-Martin, adjoining the Place. 

[Map i] 

F 2 


were sent off towards the nunnery, while the men 
— 400 of us — were forced to march in ranks of 
four towards the open, between a double line of 
German soldiers. While we were marching the 
Germans kept on firing at us, and in this way piti- 
lessly massacred a considerable number of my 
fellow-citizens. Seeing that numbers of my com- 
rades were being struck down by the shots, I fell 
to the ground myself, though I was not wounded, 
and remained lying there among the corpses, 
without moving, till about midnight. That was 
how I saved my life." 

This witness was more fortunate than most. 
At the first salvo ^^ nearly all the 400 had fallen, 
whether wounded or not ; others had thrown them- 
selves into the Sambre. The latter were drowned 
or were shot by the Germans in the water. Those 
lying unwounded on the ground got up upon a 
German word of command, and were mown down 
immediately by a second hail of bullets — this 
time, it is said, from a machine-gun. Even then 
only about half the 400 were dead ; the rest lay 
wounded on the ground, and the Germans went 
round the square, " finishing off " any who showed 
signs of life by bayonet thrusts or blows from the 
butts of their rifles. By the light of lanterns they 
carried on the slaughter far into the night. Many 

*' Reply p. 144. 

[Map I] 


of the slaughterers wore Red Cross badges on 
their arms. The witness last quoted found after- 
wards that only thirty of the 400 had survived, 
and of these only four were unwounded besides 

This witness was requisitioned next day for 
burying the dead. '' On reaching the square," 
states another Belgian witness*® requisitioned for 
the same task, " the first thing we saw was the 
bodies of civilians in a mass, covering a space of 
at least forty yards by six. They had evidently 
been drawn up in rank to be shot. . . . Actually 
fathers buried the bodies of their sons, and sons 
the bodies of their fathers. The women of the 
town had been marched out into the square, and 
saw us at work. All around were the burnt houses. 
In the square there were Germans — both officers 
and soldiers. They were drinking champagne. 
The more the evening drew on, the more they 
drank. . . . We buried from 350 to 400 bodies. 
. . . Then four mounted officers came into the 
square, and, after a long consultation, we were 
made to form into marching order, with our wives 
and children as well. We were taken through 
Tamines amid the debris which obstructed the 
streets, and led to Velaines between two ranks of 
soldiers. We all thought that we were going to 

*^ xi pp. 85-6. 

[Map i] 


be shot in the presence of our wives and children. 
I saw German soldiers who could not refrain from 
bursting into tears on seeing the women's 
despair. . . ." 

During the burial terrible incidents occurred. 
The last witness saw a German doctor order a man 
who was still alive to be buried with the rest. 
" The plank on which he was lying was borne, 
on again, and I saw the man raise his arm elbow- 
high. They called to the doctor again, but he 
signified by a gesture that he was to go into the 
grave with the others." 

Most terrible of all were the scenes of recogni- 
tion. " I saw M. X carrying off the body of 

his own son-in-law. He was able to take away 
his watch, but was not allowed to remove some 
papers which were on him." — "A friend," states 
another witness,*^ " told me gently what had hap- 
pened. I went to the public square and saw it 
littered with corpses in all kinds of positions. I 
did not see the bodies of my wife and child then. 
... I saw them for the first time when the dead 
were being buried that afternoon. My wife's body 
had a stab in the head, and also one in the breast, 
on the left side. My little girl had a stab in the 
neck. I saw also the body of the cure of the 
Church of les Alloux. His ears and one arm were 

4^ b 15. 

[Map I] 


cut and nearly severed from the body. Among 
those who had been shot down the day before 
was m)^ nephew, sixteen years of age." — " On 
Aug. 24th," states one of the witnesses quoted 
above/^ who had been confined in the Church of 
les AUoux, "we went to the Place Saint-Martin, 
where we saw traces of blood. My sister-in-law 
recognised her husband's cap. We walked along 
the Sambre, and saw corpses on the banks and in 
the water. Of these last, forty-seven were taken 
out of the river — my husband among them. At 
the beginning of September, when the communal 
authorities were permitted to exhume the bodies 
and bury them in the old cemetery round the 
church, we learnt that my father-in-law and 
brother-in-law were among those shot, and my 
husband among those who had been drowned." 

In addition to the great massacre, the Germans 
also committed isolated murders at Tamines. A 
witness whose shop looked on to the square,^^ saw 
them shoot a boy of fifteen, a girl of fifteen, and 
her two little brothers of twelve and eight. They 
also shot, in her sight, an old man of seventy 
whom they had requisitioned to help them pick 
up their own wounded. Three hundred and thirty- 
six of the Belgian civilians killed by the Germans 

XXI pp. 1 2 1-2. 

b 14. 

[Map i] 


at Tamines are known by name. The total number 
of the victims runs to at least a hundred more. 

The German column which had crossed the 
Sambre at Tamines went forward towards the 
south. At Falisolle they burned 31 houses; at 
Arsimont, 163; at Fosse, 70. "Advanced with 
my section into the village of Fosse," writes a 
German officer in his diary. ^° " Some shots were 
fired from a farm, so it was burnt, and Mey with 
it. . . . When the battalion entered the village 
there was a hail of bullets, so we burned the whole 
village, and the Seventh Company got 2,000 
francs." On the road from Fosse to Vitrival, a 
fugitive Belgian soldier ^^ saw a party of civilian 
refugees— ten women and several children — over- 
taken by twenty-four Germans. "A soldier ap- 
proached one of the women, intending to violate 
her, and she pushed him away. He at once struck 
the woman in the breast with his bayonet. I saw 
her fall. Some of the man's comrades laugrhed 
as he showed them the bayonet dripping with 
blood. He then wiped the bayonet on his coat. 
I am certain that the whole of the twenty-four 
soldiers had been drinking." 

At Roseli&s^^ the Germans killed the cure. At 

°" Bland p. i6o. 
^1 b 5. . 
^- Mercier. 

[Map I] 


Biesmes ^" they killed eight civilians and burned 
seventy-two houses. At Oret they burned seventy- 
three houses. At St. Gerard they burned fifty-four 
houses. At Ernieton-sur-B'iert they burned 
eighty-six houses and killed six civilians. " In 
front of the village of Ermeton," writes a German 
diarist on Aug. 24th, ^* "we made 1,000 prisoners; 
at least 500 were shot. The village was burnt 
because there had been shooting by the inhabitants 
too. Two civilians were shot at once. While 
searching a house for beds we stuffed ourselves 
to our heart's content. Bread, wine, butter, jelly, 
and all sorts of other things were our booty. We 
washed off the blood, and cleaned our side-arms. 
. .' . That night we found our best quarters yet — 
plenty of clean linen, preserved things, wine, salt 
meat, and cigars. . . ." 

This was how von Billow's Army made its pas- 
sage of the Sambre. The whole tract along the 
river, from the forts of Namur on the left flank 
to the forts of Maubeuge on the right, was visited 
with slaughter and devastation. A thousand and 
eleven houses were burnt in the Canton of Fosse, 
and 769 in twenty communes °^ of the Province of 
Hainaut, Arrondissement Charleroi. In these 
twenty communes — which include neither 

^^ German White Book, App. 34. 
^ Bryce pp. 177-8. 
™ xxii pp. 140-1. 



Charleroi itself nor Montigny-sur-Sambre nor 
Tamines (which lies just within the Province of 
Namur) — 2,221 more houses were partially burnt 
and pillaged; no men, 9 women, and 8 children 
were killed; 34 men, 12 women, and 3 children 
were wounded; more than 300 men, 250 women, 
249 children, and 63 entire families disappeared. 
The value of the houses burnt was 4,795,937 
francs ; of the houses partially burnt or pillaged, 
1,911,799 francs; of the goods and crops destroyed 
or stolen, 2,914,014 francs; of the furniture 
destroyed 2,850,529 francs; amounting to nearly 
12,500,000 francs in all — and it is reckoned that 
the destruction in the remaining communes of the 
Arrondissement of Charleroi amounted to twice as 
much again. To this must be added the official 
requisitions of von Billow's Army and the war con- 
tribution imposed upon the city of Charleroi and 
its urban area, which was fixed at 10,000,000 

(vi) From the Sambre to the Margie. 

Maubeuge, the French fortress on the Sambre, 
held out till Sept. 7th, but von Biilow swept past 
it towards the Marne. 

On Aug. 26th a Belgian civilian prisoner^*" saw 
other civilians shot near Maubeuge, in a field. 

5« b 21. 

[Map 2] 


" Those who were shot were those who were 
running in front of the Germans and stopped a 
little. Those who did not stop were not shot." 

The diaries of German soldiers show von 
Billow's columns pouring southward over France. 

"Aug. 19th," writes one," "could not find the 
regiment; remained with ammunition column. 
Then, when we halted, plundered a villa, had 
much wine. 

"Aug. 22nd, bivouack near Anderlues. 
Marauded terribly, fed magnificently. 

"Aug. 26th, went into bivouack about 6 p.m. 
As always, the surrounding houses were plundered 
immediately. Found four rabbits, roasted them, 
dined magnificently. Plates, cups, knives and 
forks, glasses, etc. Eleven bottles of champagne, 
four of wine, and six of liqueur were drunk. 

"Aug. 27th, marched off at 6.30. All still 
supplied with bottles of wine and champagne. 

"Aug. 28th, Si. Quentin. Had to bivouack in 
the market-place. Cleared out the houses, 
dragged out beds into market-place, and slept on 

A second diarist ^^ takes up the tale : " Aug. 
23rd, march through the big town of ' Zur-Sell.' " 
{Courcelles, north-west of Charleroi, between 

*' Bryce p. 176. 
•^^ Bryce p. 174. 

[Maps 2, 3] 


Gosselies and Anderlues.) " The people stand in 
the street, and give us whatever they have. . . .. 

"Aug. 30th, march through the garrison town 
of Noyon and are shot at from the houses. A 
main bridge is blown up just before we can get 
over it; we are under fire from all the houses in 
front of us. Everyone goes for the houses im- 
mediately, and everything is turned upside-down. 
We happen to get into a hotel, and anything that 
anyone can use is taken along. Here a steel 
watch comes into my hands. A bakery is stormed ; 
all shops are cleaned out. This makes it a good 
day for us, for we eat what we like — biscuits, figs, 
chocolates, preserves, marmalade. An English 
officer shot with four men, because he wanted to 
blow up a bridge ; otherwise everything quiet. 

" Sept. I St, Soissons. Everything usable taken 
along. Wine treated literally like water. . . ." 

This was on von Billow's extreme right flank, in 
contact with von Kluck. His other columns came 
down the other side of Maubeuge, east of the 
Sambre and the Oise. Between Landrecies and 
Guise, a soldier ^^ in the British Army, retreating 
before von Billow's advance, " saw a party of 
women and children coming along a road. Imme- 
diately behind them were about eight Uhlans, who 
were pushing the women and children along in 

'" g 14- 



front of them. The latter were screaming. . . . We 
worked round the Uhlans' flank," the witness con- 
tinues, " opened fire, and killed three of them. 
The others were driven round to the rear of our 
battalion and shot there. We found that the 
civilian party consisted of seven or eight women 
and five or six very young children. . . ." 

Coming on through Laon, the Germans made 
for the Aisne. "At Courtecon," writes a German 
in his diary on Sept. 24th, " the inhabitants of the 
village are rounded up and led away. The 
assistant burgomaster is shot, because he is in 
telephonic communication with the French Arm.y 
and has thus betrayed our movements." 

Crossing the Aisne, the Germans entered 
Braisne, on the Vesle. " Two miles from 
Braisne," states another British soldier,^ " I 
saw an old man of about seventy lying in a 
garden with his head split open by a sabre, 
and a young man on the ground shot dead. In 
the next garden I saw another young man, about 
twenty, tied to a tree and riddled with shot as if 
they had been practising at him. There had been 
a lot of destruction there, and the people were 

This was what von Billow's troops left behind 
them in their retreat; but they penetrated far 

^° Bryce p. 191. 

[Map 3] 


further than the Aisne before they were turned 
back. Following the road from Soissons on the 
Aisne to Chateau-Thierry on the Marne, the 
Uhlans came to H artennes-et-T aux "^ on Sept. 
2nd. " They pillaged the whole commune," states 
the Mayor, "carrying off linen, wine, and jewel- 
lery." — " The inhabitants," it is stated in a report 
from the British General Staff, " had all taken 
refuge in the cellars of their houses. There were 
only three men in the village, the rest of the popula- 
tion consisting entirely of women and children." A 
French cavalry patrol fired on the Uhlans and 
retired; the Uhlans searched the village, and 
finding the three civilian men in a cellar where 
they had taken refuge, heaped straw at the open- 
ing of the cellar and suffocated them to death. 
*' I saw them light the fire," states a witness, " and 
heard the men in the cellar coughing. After about 
twenty minutes, when the fire had gone out, I was 
ordered to go and fetch the bodies. I got out two, 
and fell half-suffocated myself." ^^ 

At Bezu St.-Germain^^ two Germans violated a 
girl of thirteen. At Chierry ^^"^ they plundered 

^1 One 457-460 ; Bland pp. 325-6. 

*^^ The Germans appear to have thought that the men in the 
cellar were the soldiers who had fired on them, but this does not, 
of course, excuse their action. 

^^ One 447-8. 

^^"- One 437-9. 

[Map 3] 


houses and chateaux. "At the Chateau of 
Varolles,'' states a gardener's wife, " I saw them 
feeding the fire with petrol and using torches to 
spread the flames. I also saw them looting the 
cellars. There were officers there." At the Chateau 
of Sparre, " pictures had been taken out of their 
frames and carried off, the tapestries in the dining- 
room had been ripped up with sword-cuts. The 
mirrors were broken. The whole cellar had been 
sacked." The damage done to these two chateaux 
was estimated respectively at 20,000 and 110,000 

At Chateau-Thierry ^^ a band of soldiers broke 
into a house at night. First the owner was bound ; 
his wife escaped to a neighbour's by the window, 
but four soldiers followed her and violated her 
there in turn. Two other soldiers violated this 
lady's niece, aged thirteen. " Chateau-Thierry 
was completely pillaged," states the acting mayor. 
" The work was done under the officers' eyes, and 
the loot was cari-ied away in waggons. German 
prisoners have been found in possession of jewels 
stolen here, and articles of clothing obtained from 
the plunder of the shops have likewise been found 
among the effects of German doctors who remained 
behind at Chateau-Thierry when their army left — 

^^ One 454-6. 

[Map 3] 


and this at the moment when these doctors were 
being exchanged." 

At Charmel ^^ tiie Germans, arriving on Sept. 
3rd, pillaged the houses and cellars and burned a 
chateau. A woman was violated by a soldier. 
" He stretched me on a table," she states, " and 
gripped me by the throat." At [aulgonne,^^ on 
the same date, the Prussian Guard pillaged pro- 
perty worth about 250,000 francs and killed two 
civilians- — one eighty-seven, and the other sixty- 
one years old. The former was found lying shot 
in a field; the second was seen by the Germans 
talking to a French soldier (who escaped), and 
was seized as a hostage — he was killed next morn- 
ing. " One of the Germans," states a witness, 
" gave him a bayonet stroke in the side. There 
was a dreadful rattling in his throat, and they 
finished him off with a revolver-shot in the fore- 
head." — " I found two wounds," states the man 
who afterwards buried him, " one in the stomach, 
through which the intestines were protruding, and 
another in the head." On Sept. 3rd the Germans 
also entered Varennes. " We are received with a 
heavy fire," states one of the diarists quoted 
above,®^ who had marched thither from Noyon. 
" It has cost the battalion four dead and several 

8° One 444-5. 
^^ One 440-2. 
^'^ Bryce p. 174. 

[Map 3j 


wounded. Corpses are lying about everywhere 
in the street. — Sept. 6th, the village is set 
on fire, because civilians have joined in the 

Crossing the Marne, von Billow's troops mur- 
dered, at Mezy-Moulins,^^ an old man of seventy- 
two. At Crezancy "^^ they pillaged a chateau — the 
damage was estimated by an expert at 123,844 
francs. The owner was not present — fortunately 
for himself, for a shopkeeper at Crezancy, who 
protested against the looting of his shop, was 
driven off, blindfolded and stumbling, but urged 
on by blows and bayonet thrusts, to Charly, where 
he was shot. Another inhabitant of Crezancy was 
also taken to Charly and killed. " He had a 
lance-thrust or bayonet-thrust near the heart." 
Another, a young man of eighteen, was dragged 
out of a house and shot on Sept. 3rd, the day the 
Germans arrived. After the murder, the German 
ofScer inquired whether the victim were a soldier, 
and remarked, on learning that he was not : " Well, 
he might have become one, anyway." Kx. Con- 
nigis ^' the Germans murdered a man and violated 
a girl in the presence of her mother-in-law, taking 
it in turns to keep her father-in-law at a distance 
— her husband was with the colours. 

<« Five 65-6. 
^^ One 449-452. 
70 One 432-4, 453- 

[Map 3] 
G,T, G 


Passing out of the Department of the Aisne 
into the Department of the Marne, von Billow's 
Army came to Montmirail, on the Petit Morin. 
Some of his officers lodged in the neighbouring 
Chdteaii of Beau7nont "^ — their traces were the 
words " Excellenz," " Major von Ledebur," 
" Graf Waldersee," chalked up on the doors, and 
the state in which they left the chateau. In the 
town of Montmirail/^ on the night of Sept. 4th, a 
non-commissioned officer assaulted a lady in the 
house where he was billeted. " When I called for 
help," she states, " my father, aged seventy-one, 
rushed up to protect me. At this moment about 
fifteen or twenty soldiers who v/ere billeted on 
one of our neighbours broke open our front door, 
seized my father, dragged him into the street, and 
shot him to death. They began trampling furiously 
on his body, and my daughter, aged thirteen, 
opened her window to see what was making so 
much noise. She was struck by a bullet, which 
passed right through her, and died in agony after 
twenty-four hours." 

\ At Fontaine -Arm,ee^^ in the Commune of Rieux, 
they pillaged a farm and shot the farmer, who 
would not leave his fields. His wife found his 
body. " He had received shots in the head which 

" One 128. 
'^^ One iic-2. 
^* Five 17-8. 


had blown out his eyes. A sum of 800 francs 
which he had on him had disappeared." 

At Gault-le-Foret'^*' they carried off a garde- 
champetre and shot him in a neighbouring vil- 
lage. A farmer, his wife, and his little son of 
eleven were fleeing from their farm for fear it 
should be burnt over their heads. As they fled 
the farmer was shot dead, the wife received a 
bullet in the thigh, and the child was hit in the 
calf and died a week later of gangrene. 

At Chamfguyon ^^ they burned fifteen houses, 
using hand-grenades, petrol,, and one of their 
special inflammatory liquids. They shot three 
civilians in cold blood, besides two French 
prisoners of war. One man was dragged to his 
death before the eyes of his wife. "The blood 
was pouring from his ears. I could do nothing 
to help him, for his tormentors thrust their rifle- 
muzzles at my tHroat." 

At Esietnay^'^ on Sept. 6th, the Germans pil- 
laged nine-tenths of the houses. " The pillage 
was organised/' states the Mayor's Assessor; ^' the 
objects taken were loaded on carts. My wife 
saw them put a sideboard on a cart which the pil- 
lagers had filled with bottles of champagne." 
Thirty-six hostages were seized, including ten 

^* One 69-72. 

'^» One 107-9 5 Five 35-6, 42-3. 

^^ One 1 13-7 ; Bland pp. 97-100. 


G 2 


women — one of them with a baby six months old. 
A man was dragged into the street and shot in 
front of the church. Five women were discovered 
by the Germans hiding in a cellar. "Are you 
going to kill old women?" asked one of them. 
They hustled her out of the room, and shouted 
to the rest : " All strip naked." None of them 
moved; the Germans aimed their rifles; a woman 
raised her arm to push aside one of the barrels, 
and the Germans fired. Two women were 
wounded, one of whom died next day^ 

Chdtillon-sur-Monn " was pillaged by the 
Germans on Sept. 6th. They burned twenty-one 
houses out of thirty-six, and two French soldiers 
perished in the flames. They pillaged Cotd-r- 
givaux '^ on the same date, and murdered a cow- 
herd. " There was a bullet wound in the back of 
his head and a bayonet wound in his chest," But 
von Billow penetrated no further to the south, for 
here d'Esperay fell upon him. from the west, and 
Foch from Sezanne, 

This was the track of von Billow's right. His 
left wing — the Prussian Guard — came down by 
the road that leads through Hirson and Reims 
and Epernay. 

At Courey, north-east of Reims, their work is 

" Five 51. 
'^ Five 25-6. 

[Map 3] 


recorded by a German soldier stationed there a 
month afterwards. " The village and the work- 
men's houses," he writes in his diary, "^^ " have 
been looted and gutted from top to bottom. 
Horrible. There is, after all, something in all the 
talk about the German barbarians." 

The Germans entered Reims ^^ on Sept. 3rd. 
" There was no fighting either in the town itself 
or in the immediate neighbourhood," states the 
Mayor, " and the forts had been evacuated by our 
troops." The Germans imposed requisitions on 
Reims, for which they demanded a security of 
1,000,000 francs in cash, and. on Sept. 4th the 
Mayor was negotiating about this with German 
officers at the H6tel-de-Ville when a German bat- 
tery began to bombard the town. On this occa- 
sion the damage suffered by the cathedral was 
slight, and the bombardment did not begin again 
till Sept. 1 2th, when the town was evacuated by 
the Germans. On that date they seized a body 
of civilian hostages to cover their retreat. A 
proclamation was posted in the streets, signed 
" The General Commanding," and dated " Reims, 
Sept. I2th, 1914." — "In order," it announced, 
" sufficiently to ensure the safety of our troops 
and the tranquillity of the population of Reims, 

^s* Bland p. 200. 

'■^ One 121 ; Bryce p. 185 ( = Bland pp. 102-4; "Scraps o\ 
Paper" pp. 24-5). 

[Map 3] 


the persons mentioned have been seized as 
hostages by the Commander of the German Army. 
These hostages will be shot if there is the least 
disorder. On the other hand, if the town remains 
absolutely quiet, these hostages and inhabitants 
will be placed under the protection of the German 
Army." The Mayor was compelled to make the 
same announcement in a proclamation signed by 
himself. A list of eighty hostages was appended, 
with a note that "several others" had been taken 
as well. " A hundred hostages," states the Mayor 
in his evidence, " including myself, were led out 
into the country, five hundred yards beyond the 
last houses of Reims." The work of destruction 
that followed is notorious. Driven out of the 
town, the Germans vented their spite on the cathe- 
dral and the inhabitants. By October 7th, 19 14, 
three hundred of the civilian population which 
the German Army had "taken under its protec- 
tion " had already been killed by German shells. 
Marfaux^^ south-west of Reims, was entered 
by the " Elisabeth Regiment " of the Prussian 
Guard on Sept. 3rd. " Nineteen houses were 
burnt out of thirty-six," states an inhabitant ; " the 
pillage was systematic. The valuables and linen 
taken by the soldiers were loaded at once on 
waggons. I and several other inhabitants tried 

so One 67-8. 

[Map 3] 


to save our beasts. We were immediately seized 
and lined up against a wall by order of the Com- 
mandant. We were kept there till lo next 

At fonquery,^^ on Sept. 3rd, a German aeroplane 
alighted, and was followed by a detachment of 
infantry in the course of the day. Next day the 
Mayor was conveyed by a German officer in a 
motor-car to the spot where the aeroplane lay, 
and was informed (though this was not the fact) 
that inhabitants of the commune had fired on the 
aviators, and carried off the corpse of one of them 
towards Romigny. " He gave me till 8 o'clock 
next morning," states the Mayor, '^to reveal the 
names of these persons. If I failed to furnish the 
information, I should be shot and the village 
burnt." Next morning the Mayor was duly 
seized, taken to a farm, and placed against a wall 
with three other men and a woman. One of the 
men attempted to escape, and the Germans shot 
him. Then they led the Mayor round the com- 
mune, to make the people come out of doors with 
their cattle. "At this moment the school was set 
on fire, and soon seventeen houses out of the 
thirty-five in the village were in flames." 

Efernay^"" on the Marne, was for a brief time 

*^ Five 40-1. 

*^ " Scraps of Paper " pp. 20-3. 

[Map 3] 


the quarters of von Moltke, the Chief of the 
German General Staff. " Private property," he 
announced in a proclamation dated " Epernay, 
Sept. 4th, 19 1 4," and signed with his name, "will 
be absolutely respected by the German troops. 
Supplies of all kinds serving the requirements 
of the German troops, and particularly provisions, 
will be paid for in cash." Meanwhile, the Direc- 
tor of the Commissariat of the Prussian Guard, 
an official named Kahn, had demanded from the 
municipality, for Sept. 5th, 120,000 kilogram.mes 
of oats, 21,000 of bread, 500 of roasted coffee, 
10,000 of preserved vegetables and semolina, and 
12,000 of salt bacon and lard. The municipality 
met the whole of this requisition within the ap- 
pointed time, except for the salt bacon, of which 
there were only 2,000 kilos in the town; where- 
upon Kahn imposed a fine of 176,550 francs on 
Epernay, payable on Sept. 6th at noon, " for 
having failed to deliver in time the provisions 
necessary for the troops." An emergency meet- 
ing of the municipal council was held that evening 
at 9.15 p.m. "In spite of the Mayor's en- 
deavours," it is recorded in the minutes of this 
meeting, "he had not been able to obtain either 
the items of the sum claimed or any reduction in 
the am.ount of the fine. In default of paym^ent 
of this sum, the German authorities threatened 

[Map 3] 


to take the most rigorous proceedings against the 
population itself, and to conduct forcible perquisi- 
tions in the houses of the inhabitants. On 
account of the threats made," the municipality 
appealed to private individuals to collect the sum 
demanded. Von Biilow, in his proclamation of 
the day before, had informed the people of 
Epernay that the civil authorities, by obeying his 
injunctions, were " in a position to save the in- 
habitants from the terrors and scourges of war." 
But on Sept. 5th the Chief of the German 
General Staff had other things on his mind. 

At Mo7ttmort,^^ across the Marne, on Sept. 5th, 
the Prussian Guard shot a notary whom they met 
on the road, and another person, unidentified. 
At la Caure^^ on Sept. 6th, they burned six 
houses, and twice tried to set the Mairie on 
fire. An officer to whom the Mayor protested 
replied, " It is war." — " The incendiarism," states 
the Mayor, "was the work of pure malice, for 
there had been no fighting in the village, and the 
Germans alleged no complaint." At Corfelix^^ 
on Sept. 7th, the Germans carried off twelve host- 
ages and shot one of them on the road. At Fro- 
mentieres^'^ on the same date, they drove all the 

^^ Five 12-4. 
8* Five 50. 
"5 One loi. 
^^ One 99. 

[Map 3J 


remaining inhabitants into the church at the point 
of their bayonets, confined them there for three 
hours, and plundered the village at their leisure 
— a method already practised in the villages round 

At Baye^^ the Germans pillaged practically 
every house in the village, but they busied them- 
selves above all with the chateau, which contained 
a famous collection of objects of art, and was 
appropriated as quarters by the Duke of Bruns- 
wick and the staff of the Tenth German Corps. 
Baron de Baye's own bedroom suffered worst of 
all. " The drawers had been left open and 
numbers of objects were lying scattered about the 
floor." The words "I. K. Hoheit " and " Egel- 
berg " were found chalked up on the bedroom 
door. "On Sept. 7th," states an inhabitant of 
Baye, " I was requisitioned by the Germans to 
pick up at the chateau a cart loaded with four 
packing-cases and drive it to the neighbourhood 
of Rethel. The cart was ready loaded, and I had 
only to harness my horse to it. When I reached 
my destination three of the cases, which were 
badly nailed up, were emptied into a waggon. 
They were full of little parcels. The third was 
not opened. It was loaded on the waggon as it 

^" See Vol. I. p. 139. 
^* One 123-5 

[Map 3] 


i.A.t Baizil,^'^ on Sept. 5th, three Germans entered 
a house, tried unsuccessfully to violate the owner's 
two daughters, and then shot his wife in the 
stomach — out of spite because the others had 
escaped. The woman died in hospital on Oct. 
loth. Etoges^^ too, was pillaged on Sept. 5th. 
" The cellars, in particular, were completely 
emptied," states the Mayor. " Women attached 
to the Germian Red Cross," he adds, " participated 
in the thefts committed at the general shop, 
chateau, and private houses." There were fifteen 
inhabitants hiding in a cellar, and one of them 
went out because a German had fired at a pile of 
straw near the entrance of the cellar and set it on 
fire. The others heard him cry : " Mercy ! Don't 
hurt me ! I have a wife and children." A moment 
after they, too, were dragged out by the Germans 
and saw his corpse lying by a wall. His wife, 
daughter, and sister were among the party, and 
heard the words he spoke. At Beaunay " a civilian 
was shot at by an Uhlan, but escaped with a wound. 
Coizard ^^ was pillaged, and seven houses there 
were burnt. A French officer, wounded and a 
prisoner, was murdered by the Germans, in a farm 
near Coizard, when they were compelled to retreat. 

83 Five 15-6. 
^^ Five 19-22. 
^^ Five 23-4. 
^2 Five 54-6. 

[Map 3J 


At Vert-la-Gravelle ^^ a peasant was wounded 
mortally by a lance-thrust. He dragged himself 
to the door of a house and died. At lo. Fere Cha?n- 
fenoise ^* the town clerk was carried away captive 
by a detachment of the Prussian Guard. 

The column to which this detachment belonged 
had come down the high road which runs south- 
ward through Vertus from Epernay. They were 
the extreme left wing of von Billow's Army, and 
they penetrated as far south as his right, which 
had come through Chateau-Thierry and Mont- 
mirail to the Grand Morin. His centre, striving 
to keep in line, descended from Fromentieres and 
Baye and Coizard into the hollow basin of St. 
Gond, where the Petit Morin River takes its rise. 
The battalions and batteries of the Prussian Guard 
adventured themselves on the solid-seeming clay, 
but on Sept. gth the rain came down and turned 
the clay to mire. The Prussian Guard were caught 
by the French fire as they battled with the waters, 
and were smitten like Pharaoh and his hosts. 

^^ One 104. 
9^ One 105-6. 

[Map 3] 


Andenne and Namiir. 

The Marshes of St. Gond were the mid-point 
of a battle-iine which stretched from the Oise to 
the Argonne, and ran on eastwards from the 
A.rgonne to the Vosges. In history, perhaps, it 
will be remembered as the line on which German 
strategy was foiled; for the people of France, it 
was the limit of German outrage and devastation. 
North and east of that line there was murder, rape, 
plunder, arson; south and west of it the farms 
and villages stood, and the women and children 
only knew by hearsay the fate which — over there — 
had been inflicted on their flesh and blood by the 
invaders. In the preceding chapters of this and 
of a former volume'® the course of half these 
invading armies has been described — from the 
German frontier, where the terror began, to the 
limit set by defeat. The other half of the record 
remains to be told, and it could be told in equal 
detail, town by town, hom.estead by homestead, 
from the testimony of those who survived the 

®° " The German Terror in Belgium." , 




outrages and of those who inflicted them. For the 
individual actors in the tragedy each scene was 
equally intense; from day to day the guilt and 
agony were renewed ; they were as poignant at 
la Fere Champenoise on Sept. 6th as on 
Aug. 4th at Vise by Liege. But for those who 
read the tale there comes a point where imagina- 
tion rebels or is blurred by mere repetition, and 
the remainder shall therefore be more briefly 
written — to complete the record rather than to 
sharpen the impression. 

Half the German armies crossed the Meuse 
between Liege and the Dutch frontier, and 
wheeled through Belgium into France. The 
other half crossed the river higher up, between 
Namur and Verdun, overran the Champagne fiats, 
and penetrated into the hill-country of the 
Argonne. The two groups were linked together 
by the left flank columns of von Billow, whose 
task was to seize the crossings of the Meuse 
bety/een Liege and Namur and take the fortress 
of Namur itself, while von Billow's main body 
swept forward through the open country to the 
north and w^est. 

In the struggle for the passage of the Meuse 

the civil population suffered as cruelly as on the 

Sambre. In the Arrondissement of Huy, above 

Liege, 255 houses were destroyed, and about 



58 people killed.^** Further up the river, at 
Andenne^'^ in the Province of Namur, 250 people 
were killed and 'i,'] houses destroyed. The Bel- 
gian Reply to the German White Book sum- 
marises the evidence as to how the massacre 
occurred : — 

" The town of Andenne is situated on the right 
bank of the Meuse, between Namur and Huy. A 
bridge gives it communication with Seilles, which 
is built beside the river, on the left bank. Before 
the war Andenne had a population of 7,800 souls. 

" The German troops, wishing to cross to the 
left bank, reached Andenne on the morning of 
Wednesday, Aug. igth. The advance-guard of 
Uhlans reported that the bridge was useless; it 
had been blown up the same day at about 8 a.m. 
by a Belgian infantry regiment. The Uhlans 
withdrew after seizing the communal funds and 
ill-using the Burgomaster, Dr. Camus. The latter 
had for several days past taken the most minute 
precautions to prevent the population taking any 
part in hostilities. Notices enjoining calmness had 
been posted, and all arms collected in the Town 

^® Flemalle : a 19, 21 ; xvii p. 65. Huy : b 4 ; xvii p. 61. (N.B. 
In the following notes, where no reference is given after a name, 
the implied reference is to the statistical tables on pp. 139-144 of 
the Belgian Government's Reply and in Annexe 2 to the Belgian 
Commission's Reports). 

^ b 1-4 and Bryce p. 184 ; xi p. 87 ; xxi p. 123 ; Reply iii and 
pp. 464-8 ; German White Book B. 

[Map I] 


Hall. The authorities had approached some of 
the inhabitants personally to explain to them what 
they should do. 

" The main body of the troops reached Andenne 
in the afternoon. The regiments spread through 
the town and its suburbs while awaiting the com- 
pletion of a bridge of boats, which was not finished 
till the next day. 

" The first meeting of the invaders with the 
townsfolk was peaceable enough. The troops 
made requisitions and obtained what they 
demanded. At first the soldiers paid for their 
purchases and for the drinks which they had in 
the cafes. But towards evening the situation 
changed for the worse in this respect. Whether 
it was that discipline slackened or that alcohol 
began to take effect, the soldiers refused to pay 
the inhabitants, who were too frightened to dare 
to raise objections. There was no trouble, and the 
night passed without incident. 

" On Thursday, Aug. 20th, the bridge was ready 
and the troops passed in great numbers through 
the town, making for the left bank of the Meuse. 
The inhabitants watched their passage from inside 
their houses. Suddenly, at about 6 p.m., a rifle- 
shot rang out in the street, and was immediately 
followed by a burst of firing. The movement of 
troops was arrested and the ranks fell into 

[Map i] 


disorder, panic-stricken soldiers firing at random. 
A machine-gun posted at a cross-roads opened fire 
on the inhabitants. One field-gun was unlimbered 
and discharged three shells at the town in three 
different directions. 

"At the first shot the inhabitants of the streets 
through which the soldiers were passing guessed 
what was about to happen, and took refuge in their 
basements or climbed over walls and garden- 
hedges and sought safety in the fields or in distant 
cellars. A certain number of men who would not, 
or could not, flee were soon killed. 

" The sack and pillage of the houses in the chief 
streets of the town began immediately. Wmdows, 
shutters, and doors were smashed with hatchets; 
pieces of furniture were broken open and 
destroyed. The soldiers rushed into the cellars, 
drank themselves drunk, broke all the bottles of 
wine they could not carry off, and finished up by 
setting some of the houses alight. During the 
night the firing burst out again several times. The 
whole population, trembling with fear, hid them- 
selves in their cellars. 

"On the morrow, Friday, Aug. 21st, at 4 a.m., 
the soldiers scattered through the town and hunted 
all the population into the streets, compelling men, 
women, and children to walk with their hands 
above their heads. Those who were too slow in 

[Map i] 
G.T. II 


obeying, or who did not understand orders given 
them in German, were immediately struck down. 
All who tried to escape were shot. It was at this 
stage that Dr. Camus, for whom the Germans 
seemed to reserve their special hatred, was killed. 

"A Flemish clockmaker, who had only started 
business in the town a short time before, left his 
house when the soldiers ordered him out, sup- 
porting his father-in-law, an old man of over 
eighty. This, of course, prevented him from 
holding up both his hands. A soldier rushed at 
him and struck him on the neck with his hatchet. 
He fell dying before his own door, and when his 
wife tried to go to his assistance she was driven 
indoors and had to look on helplessly at her hus- 
band's death-agonies. A soldier threatened to 
shoot her Math his revolver if she crossed the 

" In the meantime, the whole population was 
driven towards the Place des Tilleuls. Old 
men, sick people, even helpless invalids, were 
taken there on barrows, while others were helped 
or carried by their relations. The men were then 
separated from the women and children. All were 
searched, but no arms were found on them. One 
unlucky man had some empty German or Belgian 
cartridge cases in his pocket. He was immediately 
seized and led aside. The same thing happened 

[Map i] 


to a shoemaker who had had a wound in his finger 
for a month past. A mechanic was arrested for 
having in his pocket a screw-wrench, which was 
considered to be a weapon; and another man, 
because his expression appeared to show indiffer- 
ence to, or contempt for, what was going on around 
him. All these poor men were shot out-of-hand in 
the sight of the crowd. They met their end 

" At their officers' command the soldiers selected 
forty or fifty men at random from the assemblage, 
led them away and shot them, some by the Meuse, 
the rest near the police-station. 

" The men were for a long time kept in the 
square. Two unfortunates had been brought 
there, one of whom was shot in the breast, the 
other wounded by a bayonet thrust. They lay 
face downwards on the ground, reddening the 
dust with their blood and begging for water. 
The officers forbade the Germans to assist them; 
a soldier was reprimanded for wanting to offer his 
water-bottle to the wounded men, both of whom 
died in the course of the day. 

" While this tragedy was being enacted in the 
Place des Tilleuls, other bodies of troops spread 
themselves over the neighbouring districts, pur- 
suing their work of destruction, pillage, and in- 
cendiarism. Seven men belonging to the same 

[Map i] 

H 2 


family were taken into a meadow fifty yards away 
from the home of one of them, where some of them 
were shot and the rest killed and mutilated with 
axes. A tall, red-haired soldier, with his face 
marked by a scar, distinguished himself by the 
ferocious way in which he mutilated the victims. 
A child was killed in its mother's arms by blows 
from an axe. One young boy and one woman 
were shot. 

"At about lo a.m. the officers sent the v/omen 
back with orders to remove the dead and clean 
up the pools of blood which reddened the streets 
and houses. At noon the surviving men, about 
800 in number, were interned as hostages in three 
little houses near the bridge. They were not 
allowed out on any pretext, and were so closely 
packed that they could not possibly sit down. 
In a short while these prisons became stinking 
pest-houses. The women were presently invited 
to take food to their relations. Many of 
them had fled, fearing violation. The hostages 
were not released finally till the follov/ing 

" The statistics of the sack of Andenne are 
these : nearly 300 people were butchered in 
Andenne and Seilles; about 200 houses were 
burnt in the two places together. Many of the 
inhabitants are missing. Almost all the houses 

[Map I] 


were ransacked and pillaged. The pillaging 
lasted several days. 

" The many townspeople who have been ques- 
tioned are unanimous in maintaining that not a 
single shot was fired at the troops. As they can- 
not account for the catastrophe which bathed their 
town in blood, they put forward various sugges- 
tions to explain it. Many of them are convinced 
that Andenne was sacrificed to establish a reign 
of terror. They instance words dropped by officers 
which go to show that the sacking of the town was 
premeditated, and recall remarks made by troops 
marching towards Andenne, to the effect that they 
were going to burn the town and massacre the 
whole population. They think that the destruc- 
tion of the bridge, the blocking of a tunnel near 
by, and the resistance of the Belgian troops were 
among the causes of the massacre. All of them 
maintain that nothing could possibly justify, or 
excuse the behaviour of the German forces." 

The whole Canton of Andenne^^ was ravaged 
as the Germans flooded up the right bank 
of the Meuse, and then the wave of destruction 
swept over Namur?'^ What happened here Is 

^* Goyet : xv p. 21. Haltinne. Maizeret. Loyers. 
^ b 8, 11-12; Bryce p. 184; xi pp. 81-4; vii p. 53; Bland 
p. 127. 

[Map i] 


recorded in the Eleventh Report of the Belgian 
Commission : — 

"On Aug. 2 1 St, 19 14, the Germans bombarded 
the town of Namur, without any previous notice 
being given. The bombardment began at about 
I p.m. and continued for twenty minutes. The 
besieger was in possession of long-range guns, 
which enabled him to fire upon the town before 
the forts had been taken. Shells fell upon the 
prison, the hospital, the burgomaster's house, and 
the railway station, causing conflagrations and 
killing several persons. 

"On Aug. 23rd the German Army pierced the 
exterior line of defence, and the Belgian 4th Divi- 
sion retreated by the angle between the rivers 
Sambre and Meuse, while the greater number of 
the forts were still uninjured and continuing to 
resist. The German troops penetrated into the 
town of Namur on the same day about 4 p.m. 

" On this day order was preserved ; officers and 
soldiers requisitioned food and drink paying for 
them sometimes with coined money, more often 
with requisition-certificates. Most of the latter 
were bogus documents, but the townspeople were 
trustful and ignorant of the German language, 
and so accepted them without making difficulties. 

" Matters went on in the same way on Aug. 24th 

[Map i] 


till 9 o'clock in the evening. At that hour shoot- 
ing suddenly began in several quarters of the 
town, and German infantry were seen advancing in 
skirmishing order down the principal streets. 
Almost at the same moment an immense column 
of smoke and fire was seen rising from the central 
quarter of the place ; the Germans had fired houses 
in the Place d'Armes and four other spots, the 
Place Leopold, Rue Rogier, Rue St. Nicolas, 
and the Avenue de la Plante. 

" All was now panic among the peaceable and 
defenceless townsfolk. The Germans began break- 
ing open front doors with the butts of their rifles, 
and throwing incendiary matter into the vestibules. 
Six dwellers in the Rue Rogier, who were flying 
from their burning houses, were shot on their own 
doorsteps. The rest of the inhabitants of this 
street were forced to avoid a similar fate by escap- 
ing through their back gardens. Many of them 
were in t'-eir night-clothes, for they had not the 
time to dress or to pick up their money. 

" In the Rue St. Nicolas several workmen's 
dwellings were set on fire, and a larger number, 
together with some wood-yards, were burnt in 
the Avenue de la Plante. 

" The conflagration in the Place d'Armes con- 
tinued till Thursday. It destroyed the Town 
Hall, with its archives and pictures, the adjacent 

[Map i] 


group of houses, and the whole quarter bounded 
by the Rue du Pont, the Rue des Brasseurs, and 
the Rue Bailly, with the exception of the Hotel 
des Quatre Fils Aymon. 

" No serious attempt was made to prevent the 
fire from spreading. At its commencement some 
of the townspeople came out at the summons of 
the fire-bell, but they were forbidden to stir from 
their houses. The Chief of the Fire Brigade, 
though the bullets were whistling round him, got 
as far as the site of the disaster; but an officer 
arrested him in the Place d'Armes, and then, 
acting under the orders of his superior, sent him 
away under an escort. 

"The Germans, with the object of justifying 
their proceedings, alleged that shots had been 
fired against their troops on the Monday evening. 
Every circumstance demonstrates the absurdity of 
this statement. The juxtaposition of observed 
facts and the sequence of concordant evidence 
lead to the conclusion that the incidents at Namur 
were deliberately prepared, and merely formed 
part of the general system of terrorism which was 
habitually practised by the German Army in 

" Fifteen days back the people of Namur had 
given over to the Belgian authorities all the fire- 
arms that they possessed. They had been 

[]\Iap i] 


informed by official notices about the rules laid 
down in the laws of war, and had been called on by 
the civil and military authorities, by the clergy, and 
the Press to take no part with the belligerents. The 
Belgian troops had evacuated the town thirty-six 
hours before the conflagration. The people, even 
if they had possessed weapons, would not have 
been so insane as to rise and attack the masses 
of German troops who filled the town and 
occupied all its approaches. And how can any- 
one account for the strange fact that, at all the 
five points at which the alleged rising was sup- 
posed to have broken out, the Germans were found 
in possession of the incendiary substances which 
were required for the prompt burning of the 
place ? 

" The disorder which followed assisted the 
pillage in which the German Army habitually 
engages. In the Place d'Armes houses were 
thoroughly sacked before they were set on fire. 
In the quarter by the Gate of St. Nicolas the 
inhabitants, when they returned to their homes, 
found that everything had been plundered; in 
one case a safe had been broken open and 17,000 
francs' worth of securities had disappeared. 

" On the following days, though things were 
comparatively quiet, pillage continued. In several 
houses where German officers were quartered the 

[Map i] 


furniture was broken up, and wine and under- 
clothing (even female underclothing) was stolen. 

" Our witnesses have detailed to us several out- 
rages on women. In one case we have evidence 
concerning the rape of a girl by four soldiers. A 
Belgian quartermaster of gendarmes saw the 
daughter of the proprietor of the hotel in which 
he was staying outraged by two German soldiers, 
without being able to intervene for her protec- 
tion, at 4 o'clock in the morning. 

" Many inhabitants of Namur perished during 
the fire and the fusillade. Some aged people 
were left in the burning houses ; others were killed 
in the streets or shot in their own dwellings. In 
all, seventy-five civilians perished in one or other 
of these ways on Aug. 23rd, 24th, and 25th." 

" We crossed Namur during the bombardment 
of the town," states a Belgian soldier,^ " and the 
streets were full of the corpses of men, some Bel- 
gian soldiers, priests, women, and children. I 
also saw the headless corpses of a woman and 
child lying over a balcony of a house in one of the 
streets. I think they had been killed during the 
bombardment of the town. In a street at Namur 
I and my two comrades (we had changed into 
civilian clothes meantime) mixed with a crowd of 

1 b 8. 

[Map i] 


about 150 people, when the German soldiers came 
up from side streets and without a word of warning 
fired on the unarmed people. Only ten persons 
escaped — I being one of them." 

When Namur had fallen it was the turn of 
the villages on the north,^ sheltered hitherto by 
the circle of the Namur forts. At Champion, on 
Aug. 24th, 10 houses were burnt and the popula- 
tion imprisoned in the church for shots which 
German patrols, on their own confession, had fired 
into the air. In the Canton of Namur Nord, 
78 people were killed and 449 houses destroyed 

Through Dinani to Champagne. 

This was how von Billow's left flank carried 
out its work from Liege to Namur ; beyond Namur, 
in the angle between the Sambre and the Meuse, 
von Billow joined hands with von Hansen, whose 
Saxon army had crossed the Meuse above the 
junction of the two rivers. 

The Saxons entered Belgium at Gouvy,^ near 
the head-waters of the Ourthe. " Here," writes 
a German diarist on Aug. 8th, " there was firing 

^ Franc Waret. Gelbressee : b 9. Marchovelette : b 7. Bon- 
nine : b 8. Champion : Reply p. 117 ; German White Book, App. 
36. Bouge. Vedrin. Temploux : b 10. 

^ Bddier p. 21 ; German White Book, App. 13. 

[Map i] 


by Belgians on German troops, so we pillaged 
the goods station straight away. Some cases there. 
Eggs, shirts, and anything eatable dragged out of 
the cases. The safe gutted and the money divided 
among the men. Securities torn up." 

" A child and an old woman were shot," writes 
another near Erezee.^ " A wounded Belgian was 
carried away half-dead. All revolting and hor- 
rible. From where we are bivouacking we see the 
burning houses in the valley. It is revolting. . . . 
North of our route we passed another large village 
reduced to ashes." , 

"At Braibant," writes a third ^ on Aug. 19th, 
"whatever did not come of its own accord was 
plundered — fowls, eggs, milk, pigeons, calves. 
Many jolly happenings during the plundering. 

" Aug. 20th. — The cavalry and the Marburg 
Jaegers are playing the devil in the surrounding 

" At Spontin,'' writes a fourth on Aug. 23rd,^ " a 
company of the 107th Regiment and the io8th 
had orders to stay behind and search the village, 
take the inhabitants prisoners, and burn the houses. 
At the entrance to the village, on the right, lay 
two young girls, one dead, the other severely 

* Bland pp. 162-3. 

" Bryce p. 175. 

^ Bland pp. 192-3 ; Reply p. 432. 

[Map I] 


wounded. The priest, too, was shot in front of the 
station. Thirty other men were shot according to 
martial law, and 50 made prisoners." 

And so, plundering and burning and killing,^ 
the Saxons descended on Dinant^ to force the 
passage of the Meuse. At Dinant 606 civilians — 
men, women, and children — were massacred, 
mostly between the morning and evening of 
Aug. 23rd. The circumstances are described in 
a report from M. Tschoffen, the Public Prosecutor 
of Dinant, who survived this terrible day and 
returned to bear witness after three months' deten- 
tion in a German prison camp : — 

" From Aug. 6th — that is, before the arrival of 
the first French troops, who came from Givet — 
German cavalry appeared at Dinant and Anser- 
emme. These patrols sometimes penetrated into 
the heart of the town, and were met by rifle fire 
when they came into contact with the Belgian 
troops, who were then holding both banks of the 

" This is a statement of the incidents as they 
occurred. I mention them merely because they 

'' Yvoir, Houx, Sorinnes, Gemechennes : xx p. 94 ; for Sorinnes 
see also German White Book, Apps. 31-2. 

" Dinant (including Leffe, Bouvignes, Dina.nt, les Rivages, Neffe, 
Anseremme) : b 26-30; Bryce p. 171 ; xi pp. 90-3 ; xx ; xxi pp. 
125-7 ; Ann. 3 (list of victims) ; German White Book C ; Reply iv, 
and pp. 468-482 ; Bedier p. 12 ; Bland pp. 112, 134-;, 175-7 ; 
Garnets pp. 19-24. 

[Map i] 


show that the populace entirely abstained from 
attacks on the enemy. 

" On Aug. 6th, at Anseremrne (Dinant and 
Anseremme, although two separate communes, 
form a single group of houses), Belgian engineers 
fired on a hussar patrol and wounded a horse. At 
Furfooz the dismounted soldier took a farmer's 
horse in exchange for his wounded one. 

" The same day or the day after, three hussars 
appeared in the Rue de Jacques (Ciney road). 
The Belgian carabineers or chasseurs wounded 
one and took him prisoner, and also another, whose 
horse was hit. The third escaped. These men 
belonged to a Hanoverian regiment. 

"On the 1 2th, at ' aux Rivages ' (Dinant) a 
detachment of the 148th French Infantry annihi- 
lated a cavalry patrol, only one man escaping. 
About the same date another detachment opened 
fire at ' Ponds de Leffe.' Two German cavalry- 
men were killed. 

" On Aug. 15th the Germans attempted to force 
the Meuse at Anseremme, Dinant, and Bouvignes, 
but were repulsed. During the day several Ger- 
man detachments entered the city, but did not 
molest the townsfolk at all. 

" The city and its inhabitants had very little to 
suffer from this engagement, which was, however, 
a very sharp one, and lasted all day. A M. 

[Map 1] 

D1NANT~AUG. 6th to AUG. 22nd ill 

Moussoux was killed while assisting the wounded, 
and a woman was slightly wounded. On the right 
bank a French shell fell on a house, and a German 
shell on the post-office. Several houses on the left 
bank were struck by German shells. From the 
beginning of the action the Germans fired on the 
hospital, which was in full view and was flying 
a large Red Cross flag. In a few minutes six 
projectiles damaged the building. One shell 
entered the chapel just as the orphanage children 
were coming from mass. None were hurt. 

" On the 17th or i8th the French ceased to hold 
the right bank in force, and contented themselves 
with patrolling it. Each day rifle and cannon fire 
was exchanged between the two banks. . German 
cavalry again began to enter the city, where they 
moved about with impunity. Thus, about midday 
on the 19th, an Uhlan, coming from the direction 
of Rocher-Bayard, went off by the Ciney road 
without molestation. He crossed almost the 
whole width of the city. At nightfall on the same 
day another cavalryman made the same journey 
and also went off in safety. 

"During the night of the 2ist-22nd brisk 
firing suddenly began in the Rue St. Jacques 
(Ciney road). Some Germans had arrived in 
motor-cars and were firing on the houses, whose 
occupants were peacefully sleeping. They broke 

[Map 1] 


open the doors and severely wounded three 
people, one at least with the bayonet, and went 
away after setting fire to fifteen or twenty houses 
with bombs. They left a number of these behind, 
and the inhabitants threw them into the water. 
They assert that these were incendiary bombs. 

" No one was able to understand this be- 
haviour. The newspapers had reported that 
atrocities were committed near Vise, but no one 
believed it. Eventually they came to the con- 
clusion that this attack was the work of drunken 
men, and awaited events without undue anxiety. 

"On Aug. 23rd the battle between the French 
and German armies began early with an artillery 
duel. The first two rifle shots of the Germans 
were aimed at two young girls who were looking 
for a better shelter than the one they had. 

" Everyone took refuge in the cellars. 

" The Germans descended on Dinant upon 
Aug. 23rd by four main roads — all about the same 
time — nearly 6 a.m. 

" These roads were : From Lisogne to Dinant; 
from Ciney to Dinant; Mont St. Nicholas, by 
which the troops which were on a part of the 
plateau of Herbuchenne arrived; and, lastly, the 
Froidval road, running from Boiseile to Dinant. 

" I. The first of these roads leads to the dis- 
trict called ' Fonds de Leffe.' 

[Map i] 

DINANT—AUG. 23rd 113 

" Directly they arrived the soldiers entered the 
houses, expelled the occupants, killed the men, 
and set fire to the houses. 

"M. Victor Poncelet was killed in his house in 
front of his wife and children. M. Himmer, 
manager of the factory at Leffe and Vice-Consul 
of the Argentine Republic, was shot with a number 
of his workmen. One hundred and fifty-two of 
the staff of the factory were murdered. 

" The Premonstratensian Church was, I am 
informed, entered during mass. The men were 
dragged out and shot on the spot. One of the 
Fathers also was murdered. 

" But what is the good of giving further details ? 
One circumstance will sum up all. Of the whole 
population of this district, only nine men (apart 
from old men) remain alive. The women and 
children were shut up in the Premonstratensian 
Abbey, which was afterwards pillaged. We were 
to see soldiers parading the city in the vestments 
of the monks. 

" II. The same scenes of fire and murder oc- 
curred at the Rue St. Jacques, which terminates 
the Ciney road. The victims, however, were not 
so numerous. Many of the residents in this dis- 
trict, more alarmed than the rest of the city by 
the events of the night of the 2ist-2 2nd, had 
abandoned their houses. 

[Map i] 
G.T. I 


" From the Rue St. Jacques the Germans spread 
over the whole district. They killed people, but 
not so many as at Leffe. The inhabitants were 
shut up in the Premonstratensian Abbey. Every- 
thing was set on fire. They burned the tower and 
roof of our fine old Gothic church. They set fire 
to the doors, but did not succeed in completely 
destroying them. 

" Farther on, the Grand Place and the Rue 
Grande, as far as the Rue du Tribunal, were 
spared for the time being. The Germans did not 
go there. The inhabitants were not interned until 
the next day. 

"On the evening of the 24th and on the 25th, 
they set this part of the city on fire. Only one 
building, the Hotel des Families, remains. 

"III. From the Rue du Tribunal to the other 
side of the prison the crimes were committed by 
the forces coming down from Mont St. Nicholas. 
I noticed the numbers, looth and loist Foot 

" On this route as the troops arrived they 
behaved in the same way as at the Rue St. Jacques 
and at Fonds de Leffe — murder of a number of 
men, and arrest of the women and children. 

" In the rest of the district the people suffered 
various fates. 

" Having been gathered together and kept for 
[Map I] 


some time in a street where they were sheltered 
from the dangers of the battle, many of them — 
men, women, and children — were taken to a spot 
where the street is only built on on one side. The 
other side runs along the Meuse. The prisoners 
were arranged in a long row to serve as a screen 
against the fire of the French, while the Germans 
defiled behind this living rampart. 

" As soon as the French realised who were the 
victims offered to them, they ceased fire. A young 
lady, twenty years old. Mile. Marsigny, was, how- 
ever, killed before her parents' eyes. She was 
struck in the head by a French bullet. Among 
those so exposed were my deputy, M. Charlier, 
M. Brichet, the inspector of forests, M. Dumont, 
the road surveyor, and their wives and families. 
The prisoners were exposed in this way for nearly 
two hours and were then taken back to prison. 

" The same thing happened to a group of citizens 
who were exposed in the prison square to the fire 
of the French. They were made to keep their 
hands raised. They included a man of eighty, M. 
Laurent, the honorary president of the Tribunal, 
his son-in-law, M. Laurent, the judge, and the 
latter's wife and children. There were no casual- 
ties, as the French ceased fire, and the Germans 
were able to cross without risk. After two hours 
they were shut up in the prison. I mention the 

OMap i] 


names of some, because they are magistrates and 
officials with whom I am personally acquainted, 
but the number subjected to this treatment was at 
least 150. 

" The other residents in this district were, like 
my family and myself, taken to Bouille and 
crammed into the house, stable, and forge. They 
even overflowed into the street. 

" The people in the forge, including myself, 
were, as I have stated, brought out about two 
o'clock and taken to prison. 

" About six o'clock the others were taken to a 
place in front of my house, not far from the 
prison. There the able-bodied men were taken 
out and lined up in four rows against my garden 
wall. An officer addressed them in German, and 
then, in the presence of the women and children, 
gave the order to fire. All fell down. The 
soldiers looking on from the terrace formed by 
the garden of M. Franquinet, the architect, burst 
into fits of laughter. Encircled by the flames 
which were consuming almost the entire district, 
those whose age or sex had saved them were set 
at liberty. 

" I believe the exact number killed here was 129. 

" The volley which struck them down was the 
one that we heard when we were placed in the 
prison yard to be led to death. Thank God, we 

[Map I J 


were late. One hundred and twenty-nine men 
were killed at this spot, but the number con- 
demned was still larger. Several fell when the 
order to fire was given, and others were only 
slightly wounded and succeeded in escaping dur- 
ing the night. Not all those whose bodies were 
removed were killed on the spot. Some of those 
who escaped told me that M. Wasseige, the 
banker, was heard to say at the beginning of the 
night to a wounded man : ' Don't move. Keep 
still.' A passing soldier at once finished him 

" Not until Wednesday could any attention be 
given to these victims. All movement was for- 
bidden before then. On Monday and Tuesday 
the wounded were heard crying out and moaning. 
They died from want of attention. 

" IV. The troops who came by the Froidval 
road occupied the district of ' Penant.' The in- 
habitants were seized on the arrival of the Ger- 
mans and kept under guard near Rocher-Bayard. 
When the fire of the French slackened, the Ger- 
mans began to construct a bridge, but they were 
still annoyed by a few shots. As these were in- 
frequent, the Germans — honestly or otherwise — 
came to the conclusion that they were fired by 
francs-tireurs. They sent M. Bourdon, the assis- 
tant registrar of the Court, to announce that if the 

[Map i] 


firing continued, all the prisoners would be exe- 
cuted. He did so, and, recrossing the Meuse, 
surrendered himself and informed the German 
officers that he had been able to make sure that 
only French soldiers were firing. A few more 
French bullets came, and then a monstrous event 
took place, which one's mind would refuse to 
believe were it not that the survivors who bear 
witness and the gaping wounds of the corpses 
furnished absolutely conclusive proof. The whole 
mass of prisoners — men, women, and children — 
were pushed up against a wall and shot. 

" Eighty victims fell at this spot. 

" Was it here or at the Neffe Viaduct, which I 
mention later, that a three months' old child was 
killed.'^ I no longer remember. 

" That evening the Germans searched among 
the bodies. Under the heap a few poor wretches 
were still living. They were dragged out and 
added to some prisoners brought from elsewhere 
and put to dig a grave for the dead. They were 
to be deported to Germany. Among them was a 
fifteen-year-old boy, the son of Registrar Bourdon, 
who was found under the bodies of his father, 
mother, sister, and brother. 

" Those buried included a woman who was still 
alive. She groaned, but it mattered not. She 
was thrown into the trench with the others. 

[Map i] 


" Right bank of the Meuse : The Germans 
crossed the river. 

"St. Medard suffered relatively little. Not 
many were killed, and it is there that the greatest 
number of houses remain standing. 

" In the Neife district the Germans searched the 
houses, burning a fair number but leaving the rest 
alone. Some of the people were left at liberty; 
others were expelled from their homes and shot 
on the road ; others again were arrested and taken 
to Germany. In some cases entire families were 
murdered without regard to age or sex (in par- 
ticular the Guerys and the Morelles). One house 
caught fire where a woman with a broken leg was 
lying, still alive. Some of the people asked per- 
mission from the soldiers to rescue her. It was 
refused, and she was burnt alive. 

" About forty people took refuge in a viaduct, 
under the railway line. Shots were fired and hand- 
grenades thrown at them. The survivors decided 
to come out, and the men were arrested to be taken 
to Germany. 

" On Monday the 24th the Germans arrested 
the people of the Grande district, which they had 
spared the day before. They were shut up in the 
Premonstratensian Abbey. 

" The few people who took the risk of coming ' 
out of the houses that were spared from the flames 

p\Tap t] 


in the other districts were either arrested or chased 
by shots. Several were killed, especially by 
soldiers firing across the Meuse. 

" The heights which dominate the city were 
guarded. Some inhabitants who tried to escape 
that way succeeded, but more were arrested or 

" Priests and monks, professors at Belle Vue 
College, brothers of the Christian faith and lay 
monks were seized and interned in a convent at 
Marche. Towards the middle of September, 
General von Longchamp, the military governor 
of the Province of Namur, released them with the 
apologies of the German Army ! 

"All Monday and Tuesday the pillaging was 
continued, and the destruction of the city by fire 
was completed. 

"Altogether, in this city of 1,400 dwelling- 
houses and 7,000 inhabitants, 630 to 650 were 
killed, of whom more than 100 were women, 
children under fifteen, and old men. Not 300 
houses remain. 

"Were women outraged? 

" Only one case came directly under my notice. 
A very respectable citizen told me that, under 
the pretence of searching for weapons, his wife 
had been searched under her underclothes. 

" Dr. X. told me that there were numerous cases 

[^fap I] 


of rape. He knew of three clear cases in his own 
practice alone. 

" Pillage was openly carried on. They brought 
carts on three consecutive days to my house to 
take away the plate, bedclothes — of which none 
remain — furniture, men's and women's clothing, 
linen, trinkets, ornaments from the mantelpiece, a 
collection of weapons from the Congo, pictures, 
wine, and even the decorations which belonged to 
my grandfather, my father, and myself. The 
mirrors and the dishes and plates were broken to 

" Sixty thousand bottles of wine were stolen 
from the cellars of M. Piret, the wine merchant. 

" To my own knowledge, in not one of the houses 
left standing was the safe not broken open, or did 
not show clear marks of attempted robbery. 

" But why burden this report by recounting the 
personal misfortunes of the many citizens who 
have told me their harrowing stories? The facts 
are all the same, and what I have set out is enough 
to prove that murder, arson, and pillage were sys- 
tematically organised and carried out in cold 
blood, even when the battle was over." 

The facts are indeed witnessed to by the Ger- 
mans themselves. " The civilian corpses littered 
everywhere are a sight which defies description," 

[Map i] 


writes an officer of the 178th Saxon Regiment on 
Aug. 23rd, when the butchery was done.^ " In most 
cases shots at point-blank range have carried away 
half their skull. Every house along the whole 
valley has been turned upside down, and the 
inhabitants dragged out of the most unlikely 
hiding-places. The men have been shot, the 
women and children placed in the convent. Shots 
came from the convent, and it had a narrow escape 
from being set on fire. . . ." 

" In the evening at 10 o'clock," writes a private 
in the same regiment on the same date,^" " the first 
battalion went down into the village that had been 
burnt to the north of Dinant. Right at the en- 
trance of the village about 50 civilians lay dead; 
they had been shot for having fired on our troops 
from ambush. In the course of the night many 
others were shot in the same way, so that we 
could count more than 200. The women and 
children, lamp in hand, were obliged to watch the 
horrible scene. We then ate our rice in the midst 
of the corpses, for we had not tasted food since 

Across the Meuse the Saxons turned south, and, 
keeping in touch with von Biilow on their right, 
went forward by forced marches into France, still 

^ Garnets, p. 22. 
1" B^dier, p. 12. 

[Map I] 


slaughtering and devastating on their way. In the 
Canton of Dinant^'^ they destroyed 1,588 houses 
and killed 632 civilians in all; at Hastieres-'par- 
dela, in the Cantofi of Beauraing, they destroyed 
66 and killed 18; in the Canton of Florennes}'^ 
666 and 52. At Szmce, in this canton, they shot 
18 men in the sight of their mothers and daughters 
and wives. There were live ecclesiastics among 
them, and boys of sixteen and seventeen. " M. 
Schmidt's little boy of fourteen," states a Belgian 
witness, " was nearly put into the line — the soldiers 
hesitated, but finally shoved him away in a brutal 
fashion. At this moment I saw a young German 
soldier — this I vouch for — who was so struck with 
horror that great tears were dropping on to his 
tunic. He did not wipe his eyes for fear of being 
seen by his officer, but kept his head turned away." 
Those who were not killed by the first volley were 
clubbed to death; the corpses were plundered; 
the whole village was sacked, and 130 houses out 
of 172 were burnt. 

"At Villers-en-Fagne'' in the Canton of 
Philippeville, writes the Saxon officer quoted 
above, " the inhabitants had warned the French of 

^' Onhaye, Waulsort : xx p. 95. Hasti^res-Lavaux : Mercier ; 
XX p. 95. Hastieres-par-dela : xi pp. 93-4 ; xx p. 95. 

^- Morville, Hermeton-sur-Meuse : xx p. 95. Anthee : xx p. 95 ; 
German White Book, App. 38. Stave. Surice : b 1 1 ; Reply 
p. 454 ; X p. 78 ; xi pp. '94-6 ; xx p. 95. Franchimont. Rome- 
denne : xx p. 95. 

[Map I] 


our Grenadiers' approach by a signal from the 
belfry. The enemy artillery had fired several 
shells, and wounded or killed some Grenadiers. 
Thereupon the Hussars set fire to the village, and 
the cure and other inhabitants were shot." In the 
whole Canton of Philippeville the Germans 
burned J J houses down; in the Canton of 
Couvin '^ they burned 298 houses and killed 
6 civilians. On the road from Philippeville to 
Mariembourg, in this canton, the German cavalry 
drove Belgian peasants in front of them as a 

At Gue cTHossus von Hansen's army entered 
France. " Thank heaven," writes the Saxon ofhcer 
on Aug. 26th, ^^ "that for once in a way the divi- 
sional command has intervened energetically 
against this incendiarism and massacre of 
civilians. The charming village of Gue d'Hossus 
appears to have been delivered to the flames when 
entirely innocent. A military cyclist fell off his 
machine, and this made his rifle go off. There- 
upon the male inhabitants were simply thrown into 
the flames. One hopes such horrors will not re- 
occur. At Leffe about 200 were shot — there an 
example was needed. It was inevitable that some 

^^ Mariembourg. Dourbes. Frasnes. Couvin : Mercier ; 
German White Book, App. 42. 

1* Garnets, p. 31. 

[Map t] 


innocent people should have to suffer, but verifica- 
tion ought to be insisted upon in cases where there 
is suspicion of guilt, in order to put bounds to 
this indiscriminate shooting of all the men." 

" Village stormed and looted," writes another 
German at Novion}^ "Monday, Aug. 31st. — We 
passed through the town of Rethel, where we had 
a two hours' halt. Wine and champagne in 
abundance; we looted with a will." 

" Live like God at Rethel," writes the Saxon 
ofScer,^^ who arrived there on Sept. ist. "On 
Sept. 2nd the town is half destroyed by fire. . . . 
There is a touch of superfluity about French com- 
fort, but the interiors of the houses were a sight 
to see. All the furniture turned upside dow^n, the 
mirrors bashed in. The Vandals could have done 
no better. It is a stain on our Army's honour. 
... It lies heaviest on the troops serving the line 
of communications, for they have the time to pil- 
lage and destroy. Property worth millions has 
been annihilated here. They did not even stop at 

But here, as further west, the invasion was 
nearing its term. The Saxons crossed the Aisne 
at Rethel, and then, below Chalons, the Marne, 
and found themselves, with the Prussian Guard 

^'° Bland pp. 12 1-3. 
^^ Garnets, p. 43 seqq. 

[Map 4] 


on their right, in the open plains of Champagne 
under the French artillery fire. At Ecury-le- 
Refos^^ in the Department of the Marne, they 
pillaged houses and carried hostages away; at 
Lenharree}'^ on Sept. 7th, they assassinated the 
mayor; but vengeance was at hand. " This deci- 
sive victory has cost terrible sacrifices," writes the 
Saxon officer after the fighting on Sept. 8th. 
" The surgeons say the 178th Regiment has about 
1,700 severely wounded, without counting the 
dead. It was, after all, just hell. As for officers, 
there are practically none left." 

The illusion of victory died hard. " Brigade 
order this evening," he writes again on Sept. 9th. 
^' '' After the results obtained to-day, the 'x^2nd 
Infantry Division is removed from the army 
formation and will be transferred to the north to 
be employed for other tactical fur-poses! We 
are amazed and rack our brains. I had all the 
sensations of a retreat when at six in the evening 
our division, by the blood-red light of the sinking 
sun, broke contact with the enemy. . . . We 
passed again across that fearful field of fire, by 
Lenharree and through the underwood where we 
had suffered so terribly from the shells. . . ." 

And thus the destroyers of Dinant fell back 
over the Marne. 

^ 18 One 98. ~ ' 

^^ Five 30-4. 

[Map 4] 


(iii) Through Luxemhozirg to Chamfagne. 

To the left of the Saxons the Duke of Wiirtem- 
berg's army marched through Luxem.bourg and 
crossed the Meuse on the French side of the 
Franco-Belgian frontier. 

At Bastogne^^ where this army broke into the 
Belgian Province of Ltixemhourg after traversing 
the Grand Duchy, the Burgomaster was shot. At 
Rosieres ^^ they shot 6 civilians, burned a number 
of houses, and marched on, burning and killing 
in all the villages on their route. At least 120 
civilians were killed and 135 houses burnt by 
these troops in the Province of Luxembourg ^^ ; 
in the Canton of Gedinne, of the Province of 
Namur, they killed 12 and burned 399.^^ "The 
enemy had occupied the village of Bievre and 
the edge of the wood behind it," wrote a German 
non-commissioned officer on Aug. 23rd. " The 
3rd Company advanced in the first line. We 
carried the village and pillaged and burned nearly 
all the houses." ^* 

On Aug. 24th they were in France, crossing 

^^ Bryce pp. 171, 174-5. 

^^ Reply p. 457 ; German White Book, Apps. 11-2. 

^^ Libin : viii § 2. Villance, Maissin, Anloy, Neufchateau, 
Bertrix : viii §§ 3-4. 

^•^ Bourseigne-Vieille. Louette-St. Pierre. VVillersee. Bievre. 

-* Bedier p. 22. 

[Map I] 


the Meuse at Sedan. " Lost a few men at Sedan," 
writes one of them in his diary on that date.^^ 
" A long halt at Launois in the afternoon. Com- 
pletely looted the stationmaster's empty house. 
. . . March on with many drunk." At Rethel and 
above it they crossed the Aisne, and broke into 
Champagne with the Saxons on their right. 

By Sept. 3rd they were at Somme-fy, in the 
Defartment of the Marne. "A horrible blood- 
bath ; the village burnt down ; the French thrown 
into the blazing houses; civilians burnt with the 
rest." ^ At Suiffes " they burned 84 houses by 
the usual methods, pillaged all but two (which 
belonged to a German immigrant and his father-in- 
law), violated a girl of thirteen, and made an 
attempt on a woman of seventy-two. At St. 
Etienne^^ they burned 24 houses out of 53; at 
Lepine, ^P At Chdlons their right flank columns 
crossed the Marne and pressed on south along 
the western bank of the river, keeping abreast 
with the left flank, which remained on the further 

West of the Marne they tortured a woman at 
M aisons-en-Chamfagne ^° ; burned down houses 

-=■ Bland pp. 177-8. 
2s Bland p. 155. 
^^ One 82-9. 
2® One 94-7. 
29 One 63-5. 
™ Five 2, 37. 

[Map 4] 



with their special incendiary apparatus at Blacy ^^ 
and Glannes ^^ and Huiron ^^ ; and carried 
the cure of Somfuis ^* into captivity with a number 
of his parishioners. 

The fate of these hostages is described by 
the French Commission in their summarising 
report ^^ : — 

"Abbe Oudin, an old man of seventy-three, 
afflicted with asthma, was arrested and locked up 
in his cellar without food till the following day, 
with his maid, Mile. Cote, aged sixty-seven, 
and MM. Mougeot, Arnould, Poignet, and 
Cuchard. On the 8th they were taken to 
Coole, where they had to pass the night — still 
without food. Then they were marched to 
Chalons-sur-Marne. On the way to Chalons the 
aged priest, who had been belaboured with rifle- 
butts and reduced to complete exhaustion, was 
unable to go further, so they put him with his 
maid on a butcher's cart, which the other prisoners 
had to drag along. . . . 

" From Chalons they were removed to Suippes, 
and taken into a house to be examined. The abbe, 
who could scarcely stand, was seized by the 

^1 Five I, 57. 

^2 One 73. 

'^'^ One 77. 

^* One 102-3 ; Five i-6. 

"^^ Five pp. 8-9. 

[Map ^] 
G.T. K 


shoulder and roughly shaken by an officer, who 
questioned him in an insulting tone. He came 
out from the examination dazed and tottering, 
and was then made to spend the whole night in 
the rain, in the courtyard of a school. 

"On the nth they reached Vouziers and were 
kept there till the 14th in a stable, where they had 
to lie on sodden sawdust. The 13th was a par- 
ticularly atrocious day. Soldiers, especially 
officers, came in large numbers with the deliberate 
purpose of amusing themselves by tormenting the 
cure. They spat in his face, flogged him with 
their horse-whips, threw him in the air and then 
let him fall on the ground, kicked him or slashed 
him with their spurs all over the arms, thighs, and 

"After these abominable outrages M. Oudin 
was reduced to such a condition of weakness that 
his groans were hardly audible. On the 15th he 
was taken to Sedan, and in a hospital there he 
almost immediately succumbed. Mougeot, one 
of his companions in misery, who had also been 
beaten about the body and had several ribs broken, 
was removed about the same time to the Fabert 
Barracks. There, as a witness describes it, the 
Germans threw him on the straw like a dosf and 
left him to die untended. 

" Mile. Cote was also the victim of monstrous 
[Map 43 


cruelties in the course of this terrible journey. 
Before reaching Tannay she was tied to a 
carriage-wheel. At the halting place the soldiers 
rolled her in the mud, struck her brutally, and 
dragged her by the hair. Next they pushed her 
into the church, where four of them threw her 
down on the altar steps, caught hold of her again, 
and threw her among the benches in the nave. . . ." 

East of the Marne they burned Somme- 
Tourbe^^ and Auve^"^ — at Somme-Tourbe the 
church escaped; at Auve it was burnt with the 
rest, and a woman over eighty years old inside it. 
About 130 houses were burnt at Auve ouL of 150 
in the village. 

They burned many houses at Poix}^ At 
M arson ^^ they murdered a civilian, exacted a war 
contribution of 3,000 francs, and on two occasions 
set the place on fire. They murdered another 
civilian at Possesse}^ They burned down Heiltz- 
le-M aufuft ^^ systematically on Sept. 6th. On 
the 8th they broke into a girl's room and violated 
her at [ussecoMrt-Minecourtf- From the 6th to 

^^ One 74. 

^^ One 75-6 ; Five 47. 

^8 Five 38. 

^^ Five 49. 

*" Five 27-9. 

« One 66. 

" One 120. 

[Map 4] 

K 2 


the 8th they pillaged H eiltz-V Eveqiie ,^^ keeping 
the inhabitants confined in the church. At 
Eirefy^^ they clubbed a woman of eighty-three 
to death, and were so thorough in their incen- 
diarism that 63 families out of "jo were left without 
a roof over their heads. At Bignicourt-sur-Saulx " 
they burned houses (11 people were suffocated in 
a cellar) and carried away hostages — women and 
children as well as men. At Lisse ""^ they burned 
42 houses out of 64. At Changy ^^ they shot a 
civilian for saying : " Here come the Prussians." 
At Merlaut^^ they killed two — one by shooting 
him, and the other, an old man of seventy, by 
dragging him across country at the tail of a horse. 
At Viiry-en-P erthois ^^ they violated two women, 
one of whom was eighty-nine years old and died 
of the effects. But Vitry was the last town in 
France where the Duke of Wiirtemberg's army 
committed its abominations, for here, at the junc- 
tion of the Marne and the Ornain, it suffered its 

*3 Five 38-9. 

*^ Five 52-3. 

*^ One 92-3 ,- Five 48. 

■*" Five 44-6. 

" Five 7-8. 

*** Five 9-1 1. 

*9 One 1 1 8-9. 

[Map 4] 


(iv) TJirough Ltixembourg to the Argoi2Jie. 

This was what the Duke of Wiirtemberg did 
in Luxembourg and Champagne ; but Luxembourg 
was also ravaged by the Crown Prince of Prussia,^" 
who passed across it on the Duke of Wiirtemberg's 
left, forced the Meuse below Verdun, and pene- 
trated the Argonne. 

At Arlon, near the sources of the Semoy, the 
Crown Prince sacked 47 houses and extorted a 
war contribution of 100,000 francs. At Rallies 
he burned 28 houses. At Rossignol he burned 
the whole village. One hundred and five of the 
inhabitants of Rossignol were carried away to 
Arlon, and shot in public at the railway station 
in batches of ten — one of them was a woman, and 
she was shot last, after having to witness the 
execution of the rest. At les Bulles several 
civilians were shot, and the church and 34 houses 
were burnt down. At Etalle 30 houses were 

"" Arlon : viii § 2. Houdemont : viii §§ 3-4 ; White Book 
App. 18. Rulles : viii § 3; White Book, App. 18; Reply 
p. 456. Thibesart : White Book, Apps. 25-6. Rossignol : viii 
§§ 3-4 ; White Book, Apps. 23, 28 ; Reply pp. 135, 459-460. Les 
Bulles : viii § 3 ; White Book, Apps. 23, 28 ; Reply pp. 459, 462. 
Etalle : viii §§ 3-4 ; Mercier. Ansart : viii § 3 ; White Book, 
Apps. 19, 27. Tintigny : viii §§ 3-4 ; Mercier ; White Book, 
Apps. 18, 20-25. Jamoigne : viii § 3 ; White Book, Appc. ig 
29-30 ; Reply p. 458. Meyen : viii § 3. Izel : viii § 4. St. 
Leger : viii §§ 3-4. Musson, Baranzy : viii § 3. Mussy : viii § 3 ; 
Mercier. Signeulx, Bleid : viii § 3. Ethe : viii §§ 3-4 ; Reply 
p. 454 ; Bland p. 114. Latour : viii § 4 ; Mercier. 

[Map 4] 


burnt, II civilians shot, and the cure hanged in 
the church ; at Tiniigny and Ansart 90 were shot, 
including the cure. Only three houses at Tin- 
tigny were left standing. At Baransy only four 
houses were left, and the cure was shot with two 
of his parishioners. At Ethe 197 were shot. " In 
the night," writes a German diarist, " Ethe was 
entirely in flames, and it was a magnificent sight 
from a distance. The next day, Aug. 23rd, Ethe 
was in ruins, and we looted everything that was 
left in the way of provisions. We carried off 
quantities of bacon, eggs, bread, jam, tobacco, 
cigars, cigarettes and, above all, wine for our 
regiment." At Laiour, beyond Ethe, on the way 
to the French frontier, they shot the cure, his 
retired predecessor, and 69 other civilians. In 
these districts of Belgian Luxembourg which were 
traversed by the Crown Prince's army 523 civilians 
are known to have been massacred; and it is 
reckoned by the Belgian Commission that in the 
whole province a thousand were massacred alto- 
gether, and more than 3,000 houses burnt, by the 
Crown Prince and the Duke of Wiirtemberg 
between them. 

Passing the Meuse below the forts of Verdun, 
the Crown Prince carried the German Terror into 
the Argonne. Clermont ^^ was the first town in 

*' One 157-9. 

[Map 4] 


the Argonne which he destroyed; its fate has 
been described by the French Commissioners in 
their summarising report on the Department of 
the Meuse ^^ : — 

" The little town of Clermont-en-Argonne, on 
the slope of a picturesque hill in the middle of a 
pleasant landscape, used to be visited every year 
by numerous tourists. On Sept. 4th, at night, the 
i2ist and 122nd Wiirtemberg Regiments entered 
the place, breaking down the doors of the houses 
and giving themselves up to unrestrained pillage, 
which continued during the whole of the next day. 
Towards midday a soldier set fire to the dwelling 
of a clockmaker by deliberately upsetting the 
contents of an oil lamp which he used for making 
coffee. An inhabitant, M. Monternach, at once 
ran to fetch the town fire-engine, and asked an 
officer to lend him men to work it. Brutally 
refused and threatened with a revolver, he re- 
newed his request to several other officers, with no 
greater success. Meanwhile, the Germans con- 
tinued to burn the town, making use of sticks on 
the top of which torches were fastened. While 
the houses blazed the soldiers poured into the 
church, which stood by itself on the height, and 
danced there to the sound of the organ. Then. 

'"' One pp, 19-20. 

[Map 4] 


before leaving, they set fire to it with grenades as 
well as with vessels full of inflammable liquid, 
containing wicks. 

"After the burning of Clermont, the body of 
the Mayor of Vauquois, M. Poinsignon (which Vv-as 
completely carbonised), and that of a young boy 
of eleven, who had been shot at point-blank range, 
were found. 

"When the fire was out pillage recommenced 
in the houses which the flames had spared. Furni- 
ture carried off from the house of M. Desforges 
and stuffs stolen from the shop of M. Nordmann, 
a draper, were heaped together in motor-cars. An 
army doctor (medecin-major) took possession of 
all the medical appliances in the hospital, and an 
officer of superior rank, after having put up a 
notice forbidding pillage on the entrance door of 
the house of M. Lebondidier, had a great part of 
the furniture of this house carried away on a 
carriage, intending it, as he boasted without any 
shame, for the adornment of his own villa." 

At SL Andre ^^ the Germans herded the in- 
habitants into a barn, and shot a man who had 
stayed behind to watch over the dead body of his 
wife — she had been killed the day before by a 
shell. They burned down two- thirds of Btilain- 

■''^ One 170, 

[Map 4] 


ville'^^ with their special apparatus. At Nube- 
court ^^ they carried away the cure, and he was 
never seen again. Their conduct at Triaucourt^^ 
is described in the French Commissioners' 
Report " : — 

"At Triaucourt the Germans gave themselves 
up to the worst excesses. Angered, doubtless, by 
the remark which an officer had addressed to a 
soldier, against whom a young girl of nineteen, 
Mile. Helene Proces, had made complaint 
on account of the indecent treatment to 
which she had been subjected, they burned the 
village and made a systematic massacre of the 
inhabitants. They began by setting fire to the 
house of an inoffensive householder, M. Jules 
Gand, and by shooting this unfortunate man just 
as he was leaving his house to escape the flames; 
then they dispersed amongst the houses in the 
streets, firing their rifles on every side. A young 
man of seventeen, Georges Lecourtier, who tried 
to escape, was shot. M. Alfred Lallemand suf- 
fered the same fate; he was pursued into the 
kitchen of his fellow-citizen, Tautelier, and mur- 
dered there, while Tautelier received three bullets 
in his hand. 

5* One 140-1. 
'"^ One 168. 
^ One 1 5 1-6. 
^'^ One pp. 18-9. 

[Map 4] 


" Fearing, not without reason, for their lives. 
Mile. Proces, her mother, her grandmother 
of seventy-one, and her old aunt of eighty- 
one. Mile. Laure Mennehand, tried with the 
help of a ladder to cross the trellis which 
separates their garden from a neighbouring pro- 
perty. The young girl alone was able to reach 
the other side and to avoid death by hiding in the 
cabbages. As for the other women, they were 
struck down by rifle shots. The village cure 
collected the brains of Mile. Mennehand on 
the ground on which they were strewn, and had 
the bodies carried into Proces' house. During the 
following night the Germans played the piano 
near the bodies. 

"While the carnage raged, the fire rapidly 
spread and devoured 35 houses. An old man of 
seventy, Jean Lecourtier, and a child of two 
months, perished in the flames. M. Igier, who was 
trying to save his cattle, was pursued for 300 
metres by soldiers who fired at him ceaselessly.. 
By a miracle this man had the good fortune not 
to be wounded, but five bullets went through his 
trousers. When the cure Viller expressed his in- 
dignation at the treatment inflicted upon his parish 
to the Duke of Wiirtemberg, who was lodged in 
the village, the latter replied : ' What would you 
have? We have bad soldiers just as you have.' 

[Map 4] 


" In the same commune an attempt at rape was 
made which was unsuccessful by reason of the 
obstinate and courageous resistance of the victim ; 
three Germans made the attempt on Mme. D., 
forty-seven years old. Further, an old woman 
of seventy-five, Mme. Maupoix, was kicked so 
violently that she died a few days afterwards. 
While some of the soldiers were ill-treating her, 
others were ransacking her wardrobes." 

At Vauhecourt^^ they burned io6 houses out 
of 22 2. At Lisle-en-Barrois^^ they shot two 
civilians. At Givry-en-Argomie ^° a German officer 
threatened to burn the village if the mayor's 
assessor did not hand over to him a girl of fifteen 
who had excited his lust — the outrage was only 
averted by the arrival of French troops. Som- 
meilles ®^ was completely burnt on Sept. 6th. 
" When the incendiarism started," states the 
Mayor, "M. and Mme. Adnot (the latter about 
sixty years old), Mme. X. (thirty-five or thirty-six 
years old), whose husband is with the colours, and 
Mme. X.'s four children all took refuge in the 
Adnots' cellars. They were there assassinated 
under atrocious circumstances. The two women 

^•^ One 147-150. 
59 One 160. 
'■'' One 100. 
"1 One 133-8. 

[Map 4] 


were violated. When the children shrieked, one 
of them had its head cut off, two others one arm, 
and the mother one of her breasts, while everyone 
in the cellar was massacred. The children were 
respectively eleven, five, four, and one and a half 
years old." 

At Loupfy-le-Chdteau^'^ they violated three 
women and two girls — the eldest of the women 
was seventy-one years old, the girls were thirteen 
and eight. At Villers-aux-V ents ,^^ on Sept. 7th, 
they stripped a man naked and shot him in a field. 
On the 8th they burned the village to the ground, 
so systematically that not a single house was left. 
At Laimont^^ they carried off seven hostages, 
who never returned. At V as sine our t,^^ where the 
French Army turned on them and compelled them 
to retreat, they burned, in rancour, the houses left 
standing by the shells. At Revigny ^^ they burned 
two-thirds of the houses. At Sermaize-les-Bains ®^ 
they burned 760 out of 800. The incendiarism at 
Sermaize and Revigny was perhaps more elaborate 
in its methods and more effective in its results than 
any other piece of material devastation which the 
Germans perpetrated in Belgium or France. The 

62 One 161-7. 

6^ One 143-6 ; Five 139-140. 

"^ One 169, 

•^^ Five 135-8. 

^ One 127-132. 

«^ One 78-81. 

[Map 4] 


wilderness of rubble with gaunt chimneys rising 
out of it, and, here and there, a fragment of wall, 
remains as the Crown Prince's monument in 
France, marking his limitless will for evil at the 
limits of his power. 


(i) From the Frontier to St. Mihiel. 

The Bavarian army which crossed the frontier 
on a line between Thionville and the Vosges was 
intended to take the fortress of Verdun in the 
flank and rear, force a passage south of it across 
the Meuse, and join hands with the Crown Prince 
in the valley of the Marne, as the Saxons joined 
von Biilow, between Meuse and Sambre, round the 
southern flank of Namur. But the Bavarians were 
checked at an earlier stage in their invasion than 
the armies on their right. The howitzers which 
had shattered the forts of Namur made no impres- 
sion on the field-works of Verdun — thrown up at 
a week's notice, when the fall of Namur had shown 
the weakness of the old system and the possibility 
of improvisation. Verdun remained a barrier 
between the Bavarians in the Woevre and the 
Crown Prince in the Argonne. Instead of passing 
the Meuse, they seized, too late for use, the single 
bridge-head of St. Mihiel. Pont-a-Mousson held 
out against them, almost within range of the guns 
of Metz, and Nancy was never in their hands. 
Yet though they failed of their strategic aim and 



were held up nearer the frontier than any other of 
the invading armies, the outrage and devastation 
they committed in the few square miles of French 
territory which they overran was not surpassed by 
their companions who marched from Liege or 
Luxembourg to the Marne through the heart of 
Belgium and France. 

Audtm-le-Romain^^ in the Departmemt of the 
Meurthe and Moselle, the first village in French 
territory on the direct road from Thionville to 
Verdun, was occupied by the Germans on 
Aug. 4th, and for seventeen days the invaders 
confined themselves to requisitions and threats. 
But on Aug. 2 1 St the German advance-guards fell 
back in disorder eastwards through the village, and 
the Germans in garrison there ran amok. 

" They began to set fire to the houses," state 
the French Commission,*'^ " and to fire into the 
windows and at the inhabitants. Seven women 
(mentioned by name) were wounded, and the fore- 
man roadmender, M. Chary, was shot dead as he 
came out of the church. M. Martin, agriculturist, 
was dragged out of his house, received three 
bullets, and fell dead at his door, before the eyes 
of his wife and daughters. The Uhlans fell upon 

^s One 367 ; Five 165-176. 
^^ Five pp. 26-7. 

[Map 4] 


the body and stabbed it with their lances, while 
one of them clove the head with his sabre. A 
young officer shot down M. Somen, the ex-mayor, 
with his revolver, when the victim was just shutting 
his barn door. M, Michel, the mayor's assessor, 
and M. (Edouard) Bernard tried to see to him, and 
for this they were taken, bound, to Ludelange, and 
shot there the following day. 

"Next day, Aug. 22nd, there was an engage- 
ment between the invaders and some French 
troops. The enemy was at first compelled to 
retire, but soon returned in force and occupied the 
village once more. Six men (mentioned by name) 
and two Italians were then massacred in their 
homes or in the public streets. One of them — 
Thiery — was only eighteen years old, and his 
mother, who was present at the execution, was on 
her knees, imploring mercy for him, while he was 
being shot. 

" During these two days of slaughter almost all 
the houses were burnt down, not only at Audun- 
le-Romain, but in the neighbouring commune of 
Malavillers as well. At Audun there were about 
400 houses, and hardly a dozen of them are left.''* 

There were even worse outrages at Jarny^^ 
another village near the frontier, but further south, 
on the road to Verdun from Metz : — 

'0 Five 178-184. 

[Map 4l 


" On Sept. 25th one of the many Italians work- 
ing in the local factories shot his dog, and the 
Germans immediately pretended that he had fired 
at them. This was quite sufficient to provoke out- 
rages of the worst kind. A fire was immediately 
started which consumed twenty-two houses and 
the church steeple, while the soldiers roared out 
songs, to the accompaniment of a pianola, in an 
inn beside the church. While the house of Mile. 
Anna Francois was burning, the tax-collector, M. 
Daval, noticed five Bavarians in front of the 
building, rifle in hand, and — to use his description 
— in the attitude of a sportsman waiting for a hare 
to start from its form. The incendiaries, in fact, 
often behaved in this way, giving their victims 
only the choice of being burnt alive or shot. 
Several people met their death under these tragic 
circumstances, and it was thus that the members 
of the Perignon family perished — father, mother, 
and son were struck down by bullets as soon as 
they left their blazing house. The daughter, 
Mme. Leroy, escaped death, but had her arm frac- 
tured by a bullet. 

" The same day other murders took place. For 
no reason whatever, M. Fournier, a cafe proprie- 
tor, and his nephew were arrested at home, carried 
off in a motor-car, and both shot, six hundred yards 
from their house. A Bavarian soldier of the 4th 

[Map 4] 
G.T. L 


Infantry Regiment levelled his rifle at M. Lher- 
mitte, as he was going indoors, and killed him. 
He then opened the breech of his rifle to extract 
the empty cartridge and quietly got into a regi- 
mental cart. 

" Mme. Berard, the wife of a soldier on 
active service, was ordered to give some men of 
the 66th and 68th Bavarian Regiments something 
to drink. She had already drawn a large number 
of buckets of water for them, when an officer — 
or a non-commissioned officer — considering that 
she had done enough, commanded her to go back 
home. As the Germans were firing at the house, 
Mme. Berard hid herself in the cellar with her 
three children — Jean, aged six; Maurice, aged 
two; Jeanne, aged nine — and the Aufiero family. 
But soon she noticed petrol being poured through 
the ventilator, found herself suddenly surrounded 
by flames, and rushed out wildly, carrying one of 
the little boys under each arm, while her little 
daughter and young Beatrice Aufiero ran beside 
her, clinging to her dress. 

" Just as the party were crossing the stream 
called the Rougeval, a few steps from the house, 
the Bavarians opened fire on the fugitives. Little 
Jean was struck in the thigh, low down on the leg, 
and in the breast, and cried out : ' Oh ! mother, I 
am hurt ! ' He died immediately. Beatrice 

[Map 4l 

JARNY 147 

Aufiero received a bullet which almost completely 
severed her right arm; and her sister Angele, a 
child of nine, who was following close behind 
her, was wounded, not quite so badly, in the 

" Mme. Berard was then joined by Mme. 
Aufiero, and reached the road, where an awful 
sight met their eyes. About twenty yards away 
the Germans were executing Aufiero, whom they 
had brought out of the cellar. One of them, 
turning to the wife of the man they were about to 
execute, said to her with a grin : ' Just watch us 
shoot your Mann ! ' — ' Oh ! my poor Come ! ' she 
screamed. — ' Shut your mouth ! ' they replied. 

" The two women and the children were then 
taken to the meadow of Pont-de-l'Etang, where 
a general ordered them to be shot. But Mme. 
Berard flung herself on her knees and begged 
mercy, crying and clutching his hands, till he con- 
sented to spare them. One of the officers present 
pointed to the corpse of little Jean, to whom the 
mother still clung, and said : ' There's one who 
will never fight against our men later on.' Next 
day the unhappy woman, who had spent the night 
in a place called the Zeller Barriere, was told that 
she must dispose of her child's remains as quickly 
as possible. Finding nobody to make a coffin, she 
procured from the canteens a couple of cases in 

[Map 4] 

L 2 


which rabbits had been packed, and nailed them 
end to end. She then placed the body inside and 
went to the end of the garden to dig the grave. A 
Bavarian officer had the shamelessness to ask her 
to sell him — as a souvenir, no doubt — a medallion 
containing a photograph of the little murdered 
boy which she wore on her neck. 

"On the 26th the Germans continued the 
slaughter. M. Genot, the mayor, Abbe Vouaux, 
and MM. Fidler and Bernier, who had been ar- 
rested the day before, were lined up along a fence 
behind the Blanchon inn, and shot on the word of 
command. Besides these victims, M. Plessis, a 
retired gamekeeper, was dragged out of his house 
and killed in front of it, and many Italians were 
put to death. 

"It need hardly be said that at Jarny, just as 
everywhere else, pillage was the accompaniment 
of murder and incendiarism. The soldiers carried 
off ornaments and objects of worship from the 
sacristy of the parish church; and banners, altar 
cloths, and even grave cloths were found after- 
wards in the streets and fields." 

Fresnes^^ in the Woevre, was occupied by the 
Bavarians for six days, and on Sept. 15th, when 
they evacuated it, they shot the acting mayor and 

"1 Bland pp. 334-5. 

[Map 4] 


his son, set their house on fire, and threw the son's 
wife and another woman alive into the flames. 
They burned 50 houses at Fresnes altogether, 
besides a girls' school and the town hall. The 
houses were plundered systematically before they 
were burnt; the loot was carried off in motor-cars 
to Germany, and 58 families at Fresnes were left 
without a home. 

At Combres,''^ a few miles further south, on the 
eastern heights of the Meuse, the whole popula- 
tion was dragged out on the morning of Sept. 22nd 
and herded on to a hillside as a screen for the 
Bavarians against the French fire. Twelve hours 
later, at dusk, they were herded back, and given 
an hour to collect the barest necessaries from their 
(already plundered) homes. Then they were 
locked up in the church for the night, and at 
4 o'clock next morning herded out again on to the 
hillside for a second day. After that they were 
confined in the church for five days consecutively, 
till finally the men were separated from the rest 
and transferred by slow stages to the German 
internment camp at Zwickau — half-starved on the 
way and exhibited to the German populace at 
every station where the train made a halt. The 
women and children were kept in the church night 
and day for a month, with disgusting restrictions 

''2 Two pp. 13-5 (5 centime edition). 
[Map 4] 


on sanitation which produced an outbreak of 
dysentery and croup. 

The Germans left their trail in the Woevre from 
north to south. " At Loupmont," writes a diarist 
on Sept. 5th/^ "a fine country house; beautiful 
room with Persian carpet; on carpet slaughtered 
sow; in the bed sucking-pig, also slaughtered; 
blood running down the stairs." 

Loupmont lies a few miles south-east of St. 
Mihiel, where the Bavarians reached the Meuse 
and were brought to a stand. 

(ii) From the Frontier to Luneville. 

Further east, the Bavarian centre never reached 
the Meuse at all. Poitt-a-M ousson,^^ on the 
Moselle, was bombarded year in and year out 
from the beginning of the war, and by Nov. loth, 
19 14, fourteen of the civilian inhabitants had 
already been killed, but the Bavarians never 
entered the town, and it escaped the horrors per- 
petrated by the 2nd and 4th Bavarian Infantry 
Regiments at Nomeny ^^ on the Seille. 

" We experienced real horror," state the French 
Commission, "when we found ourselves before 
the lamentable ruins of Nomeny. With the ex- 

^^ Bland pp. 197-8. 

^* One 173 

"^^ One 174-198 ; Bland pp. 200-215. 

[Map 4] 


ception of some few houses which still stood near 
the railway station in a spot separated by the 
Seille from the principal group of buildings, there 
remains of this little town only a succession of 
broken and blackened walls in the midst of ruins, 
in which may be seen here and there the bones of 
a few animals partly charred and the carbonised 
remains of human bodies. The rage of a mad- 
dened soldiery has been unloosed there without 

" Nomeny, on account of its proximity to the 
frontier, received from the beginning of the war 
the visits of German troopers from time to time. 
Skirmishes took place in its neighbourhood, and 
on Aug. 14th, in the courtyard of the farm de la 
Borde, which is a little distance off, a German 
soldier killed by a rifle shot without any m.otive 
the young farm servant Nicholas Michel, aged 

" On Aug. 20th, when the inhabitants sought 
refuge in the cellars from the bombardment, the 
Germans came up after having fired upon each 
other by mistake, and entered the town towards 

" According to the account given by one of the 
inhabitants, the German officers asserted that the 
French were torturing the wounded by cutting off 
their limbs and plucking out their eyes. They 

r^Iap 5I 


were then in a state of terrible excitement. That 
day and part of the next the German soldiers gave 
themselves over to the most abominable excesses, 
sacking, burning, and massacring as they went. 
After they had carried off from the houses every- 
thing which seemed worth taking away, and after 
they had despatched to Metz the booty of their 
pillage, they set fire to the houses with torches, 
pastilles of compressed powder, and petrol, which 
they carried in receptacles placed on little carts. 
Rifle shots were fired on every side ; the unhappy 
inhabitants, who had been driven from the cellars 
before the firing, were shot down like game — some 
in their dwellings and others in the public streets. 

"MM. Sanson, Pierson, Lallemand, Adam 
Jeanpierre, Meunier, Schneider, Raymond, 
Duponcel, and Hazotte, father and son, were 
killed by rifle shots in the streets. M. Killian, 
seeing himself threatened by a sabre stroke, pro- 
tected his neck with his hand. He had three 
fingers cut off and his throat gashed. An old man, 
aged eighty-six, M. Petitjean, who was seated in 
his armchair, had his skull smashed by a German 
shot. A soldier showed the corpse to Mme. 
Bertrand, saying : ' Do you see that pig there ? ' 
M. Chardin, town councillor, who was acting- 
mayor, was required to furnish a horse and car- 
riage. He had promised to do all he could to 

[Map 5] 


obey, when he was killed by a rifle shot. M. 
Prevot, seeing the Bavarians breaking into a 
chemist's shop of which he was caretaker, told 
them that he was the chemist and that he would 
give them anything they wanted, but three rifle 
shots rang out and he fell, with one deep sigh. 
Two women who were with him. ran away and were 
pursued to the neighbourhood of the railway 
station, being beaten all the way with the butts of 
rifles, and they saw many bodies heaped together 
in the station garden and on the road. 

" Between 3 and 4 in the afternoon the Germans 
entered the butcher's shop of Mme. Francois. 
She was then coming out of her cellar with her 
boy Stub and an employee named Contal. As 
soon as Stub reached the threshold of the entrance 
to the door he fell severely wounded by a rifle 
shot. Then Contal, who rushed into the street, 
was immediately murdered. Five minutes after- 
wards, as Stub was still groaning, a soldier leant 
over him and finished him off with a blow of a 
hatchet on the back. 

" The most tragic incident in this horrible scene 
occurred in the house of M. Vasse, who had col- 
lected a number of people in his cellar in the 
Faubourg de Nancy. Towards 4 o'clock about 
fifty soldiers rushed into the house, beat in the 
door and windows, and set it on fire. The 

. . [Map 5] 


refugees then made an effort to flee, but they were 
struck down one after the other as they came out. 
M. Mentre was murdered first; then his son Leon 
fell with his little sister, aged eight, in his arms. 
As he was not killed outright, the muzzle of a rifle- 
barrel was thrust against his head and his brains 
blown out. Then it was the turn of the Kieffer 
family. The mother was wounded in the arm and 
shoulder. The father and a little boy aged ten and 
a little girl aged three were shot. The murderers 
went on firing on them after they had fallen. 
Kieffer, stretched on the ground, received another 
bullet in the forehead, and his son had the top of his 
head blown off by a shot. Last of all M. Strieffert 
and one of Vasse's sons were murdered, while 
Mme. Mentre received three bullets, one in 
the left leg, another in the arm on the same side, 
and one on her forehead, which was only grazed. 
M. Guillaume was dragged into the street and 
there found dead. Sim.onin, a young girl of seven- 
teen, came out last from the cellar with her sister 
Jeanne, aged three. The latter had her elbow 
almost carried off by a bullet. The elder girl 
flung herself on the ground and pretended to 
be dead, remaining for five minutes in terrible 
anguish. A soldier gave her a kick, crying 
' Kaput ! ' 

" An officer arrived at the end of this butchery, 

[Map 5] . , 


ordered the women who were still alive to get up, 
and shouted to them ' Go to France ! ' 

" While all these people were being massacred, 
others, according to an expression used by an eye- 
witness, were driven like sheep into the fields 
under the threat of immediate execution: The 
cure, in particular, owed his escape from being 
shot to extraordinary circumstances." 

At least 50 civilians were killed at Nomeny — 
that number are known by name, and the list is 
probably incomplete. " At 5 o'clock," writes a 
soldier of the 8th Bavarian Regim.ent, "we were 
ordered by the officer in command to shoot all the 
male inhabitants of Nomeny and raze the town to 
the ground, because the inhabitants were foolishly 
attempting to stop the German troops' advance by 
force of arms. We broke into the houses and 
dragged off all who resisted, to shoot them ac- 
cording to martial law. Houses not destroyed 
already by the French artillery or our own were 
set on fire by us, so that nearly the whole town 
was reduced to ashes. It is a terrible sight when 
helpless women and children are reduced to utter 
destitution and driven forth into France." 

South of Nomeny, Nancy^^ like Pont-a- 
Mousson, escaped with a bombardment — the 

''^ One 171-2 ; Five 141-3. 

[Map 5] 


official list of civilian victims over a period of 
many months is given in the fifth volume of the 
French Commission's Reports — and there was 
no point west of Luneville where the Bavarians 
reached the Meurthe. They bore down in strength 
upon Luneville from the north, burning and kill- 
ing on a broad front as they advanced. 

Brin^'^ the first village on the French side of 
the frontier, was plundered and burnt. At Erbe- 
viller ^® the male mhabitants were arrested, 
threatened with death, and locked up in a barn, 
on the pretext that German sentries had been 
shot at by one of them. " I am not certain that 
it was these men who fired." the German officer 
confided to a woman of Erbeviller the same 
evening, "and I will let them go to-morrow 
morning if you can pay me immediately a thou- 
sand francs." The ransom was paid, and the 
receipt which the officer signed for it is in the 
French Commissioners' hands. '^ 

Renter ev'ille ^° was plundered and burnt sys- 
tematically on Sept. 7th. A hundred and six 
houses were burnt here, and 29, including the 
Mairie, at Courbessaux^^ where the Bavarians 

" One 370 ; Bland p. 198. 
''^ One 357-8. 
'9 One 358. 
««;One 350-3. 
^1. One 356. 

[Map 5] 


fired on an inhabitant who tried to extinguish the 
flames. Thirty-five were burnt at Drouville,^^ and 
36 at Maixe}^ At Maixe, also, 9 men and i 
woman were massacred. The woman was shot in 
a cellar; the men were killed in various ways — 
one was burnt alive in his house, while his wife 
was kept at a distance by force. At Crevic ^* the 
Germans took especial pleasure in burning the 
house belonging to General Liautey, who is a 
native of the place. They burned 75 other houses 
here as well, and killed 3 inhabitants, one at least 
of whom was burnt alive. At Sojjwierviller^^ 
they shot two old men aged seventy and sixty-five, 
and looted the shops. At Detixville ®® they 
burned about 15 houses, carried off the mayor 
and cure as hostages, and shot them at Crion on 
Aug. 25th. At Hudiviller^'^ they shot a man in 
cold blood, in the sight of his fifteen-year-old son. 
At Vitrimoni^^ on the north-western outskirts of 
Luneville, they shot a man of sixty-nine on Aug. 
24th, two days after their first entry, and burned 
32 houses on Sept. 6th, when they passed through 
the village again in their retreat. 

82 One 354-5. 

*^ One 289-298. 

** One 279-283 : Five 162-4. 

^^ One 319-322. 

*" One 284-7. 

^'^ One 342. 

^* One 359-360. 

[Map 5] 


Other Bavarian columns descended on Lune- 
ville by parallel routes to the east. At Anacourtf^ 
where these crossed the frontier, they shot a 
civilian and burned 5 houses. Their officers 
plundered and defiled the Chateau de Bauze- 
mont ^° — staff officers' wives were observed remov- 
ing the loot in motor-cars, and when the French 
troops returned they found that the floors and beds 
had been carefully covered with filth. At Ein- 
ville ^^ the Bavarians murdered four civilians — 
one of them after brutal torments. " They led 
him past our house," states a witness®^; "his nose 
had been almost hacked off, his eyes were hag- 
gard, and he seemed to have aged ten years in a 
quarter of an hour. A high officer came up and 
said something in German, and eight soldiers led 
the prisoner away to his fate. Ten minutes later 
I saw them return without him, and one of them 
said in French : ' He died before . . .' " — before 
what refinement of torture will never be known. 
In the course of an action with the French the 
Bavarians forced the Mayor of Einville to find 
civilians to bury the dead. Three of those im- 
pressed were wounded and one killed while 
engaged on this task. The mayor himself, with 

«» One 368-9. 
^" One 299-300. 

SI One 309-318. 
s^ One 315. 

[Map 5] 


his assessor and another inhabitant, was carried 
off as a hostage on Sept. 12th, when the Bavarians 
evacuated the place, and was confined for six 
weeks in a German prison. At the farm of Remon- 
ville^^ near Einville, four civilians w^ere killed. 
The bodies of two of them were recovered later; 
both the heads had been cut off, and one of them 
bashed in. 

At Bonviller ^^ the Bavarians burned 26 houses. 
At J olivet ^^ they shot an inhabitant, plundered 
the place, and sent off their loot in waggons before 
they retired. At Chanteheux'^^ they passed the 
Vezouse, and their outrages here are summarised 
in the French Commission's Report : — 

" The village of Chanteheux, situated quite 
close to Luneville, was not spared either. The 
Bavarians, who occupied it from Aug. 22nd to 
Sept. 1 2th, burned there 20 houses in the cus- 
tomary manner and massacred 8 persons on Aug. 
25th, MM. Lavenne, Toussaint, Parmentier and 
Bacheler, who were killed, the first three by 
rifle shots, the fourth by two shots and a blow with 
a bayonet; young Schneider aged twenty-three, 
who was murdered in a hamlet of the commune; 

^' One 317-8. 
9* One 306-8. 
ss One 304-5. 
"^ One 245-253. 

[Map 5] 


M. Wingerstmann and his grandson, whose deaths 
we have recorded in setting out the crimes 
committed at Luneville; lastly, M. Reeb, aged 
sixty-two, who certainly died as the result of the 
ill-treatment which he suffered. This man had 
been taken as hostage with some forty-two of his 
fellow-citizens, who were kept for thirteen days. 
After having received terrible blows from the butt 
of a rifle in his face and a bayonet wound in his 
side, he continued to follow the column, although 
he lost much blood and his face was so bruised 
that he was almost unrecognisable, when a 
• Bavarian, without any reason, gave him a great 
wound by throwing a wooden pail at his forehead. 
Between Henamenil and Bures his companions 
saw that he was no longer with them; no doubt 
he fell by the way. 

"If this unhappy man was to suffer the most 
cruel martyrdom of all, the hostages taken with 
him in the commune had also to suffer violence 
and insult. Before setting fire to the village the 
hostages were set with their backs to the parapet 
of the bridge while the troops passed by, ill-treat- 
ing them. As an officer accused them of firing on 
the Germans, the schoolmaster gave him his word 
of honour that it was not so. ' Pig of a French- 
man,' replied the officer, ' do not speak of honour ; 
you have none.' 

[Map 5] 


" At the moment when her house was burning 
Mme. Cherrier, who was coming out of the cellar 
to escape suffocation, was drenched with an in- 
flammable liquid by some soldiers who were 
sprinkling the walls. One of them told her that 
it was benzine. She then ran behind a dunghill 
to hide herself with her parents, but the incen- 
diaries dragged her by force in front of the blaze, 
and she was obliged to witness the destruction of 
her dwelling." 

At Croismare,^^ a mile or two further up the 
Vezouse, on Aug. 25th, the Germans fired at every 
civilian they saw as they were passing through the 
village in retreat. A mounted officer shot one 
man outright, and then made two others line up 
in front of him while he reloaded his revolver. 
He dropped three cartridges, and made them pick 
them up. They asked for mercy and he answered : 
" Nicht pardon, cochon de Franzose ! Kaput ! " 
With that he fired twice, wounding one victim in 
the shoulder and maiming the other's hand. A 
night or two later, in the streets of Croismare, the 
report of a rifle was heard. " That is enough to 
get you and the burgomaster shot," remarked a 
German officer to the cure. " Sir," replied the 
cure, "you are too intelligent not to recognise 

''" One 346-9. 

[Map 5] 
G.T. M 


the sharp report of your own German rifle. I 
certainly recognise it myself." The officer, the 
cure adds, did not pursue the conversation further. 
At Embermenil^^ further east again, the 
Bavarians shot a woman with child and a young 
man in the sight of the rest of the inhabitants; 
but this was later — -on Nov. 5th — ^and meanwhile 
their columns, advancing from north-west and 
north and north-east, had occupied Luneville for 
three full weeks — Aug. 22nd to Sept. nth — and 
had perpetrated there some of the worst atrocities 
of any that were done in the whole invasion of 
Belgium and France. 

(iii) Luneville. 

The outbreak of the Bavarians at Luneville ®^ 
on Aug. 25th bears a sinister resemblance to the 
outbreak at Louvain, on the same date, of other 
German troops ; but there is little likelihood that 
these outbreaks were timed to coincide, and little 
evidence, even, that either of them was precon- 
certed, at a fixed hour, by the Higher Command. 
The outbreaks themselves, and the extraordinarily 
similar courses they followed, are accounted for 
by the general spirit which the Higher Command 
instilled into the German soldiery, and by the 

^^ One 363-5. 

'^ One 199-244 ; Five 144-7 ; German Ptoclamaiio/u : "Scraps 
of Paper," pp. lo-ii ( = One 302 = Bland pp. loo-i), 12-3, 14-5. 

[Map 5] 


standing orders they gave to the hierarchy of 
officers through whom their executive orders 
reached the men in the ranks. The private 
soldier was encouraged to look on every French 
and Belman civilian as an unconfessed and 
treacherous franc-tirenr. The company officers 
and N.C.O.'s were instructed upon the least sus- 
picious circumstance — a light, a tramp of feet, the 
report of a rifle shot fired no matter by whom — 
to forestall trouble by unleashing the worst pas- 
sions of their men. The Higher Command accom- 
plished its policy of " Frightfulness " by more 
subtle methods than is commonly supposed. Its 
influence on its subordinates' mmds was pene- 
trating in proportion as it was indirect, and its 
responsibility was often greatest where the indi- 
vidual soldier's action appeared to flow spon- 
taneously from criminal tendencies in himself. 

The evidence relating to the conduct of the 
German Army at Luneville is summ.arised as 
follows by the French Commission^: — 

" Luneville was occupied by the Germans from 
Aug. 2ist to Sept. nth. During the first few 
days they were content to rob the inhabitants with- 
out molesting them in any other way. Thus, in 
particular on Aug. 24th, the house of Mme. 

' One pp. 23-6. 


M 2 

164 lun£:ville 

Jeaumont was plundered. The objects stolen were 
loaded on to a large vehicle in which there were 
three women, one of them dressed in black and 
the two others wearing military costumes, and ap- 
pearing, as we were told, to be canteen-women. 

"On the 25th the attitude of the invaders sud- 
denly changed. M. Keller, the mayor, went to 
the hospital about half-past three in the afternoon, 
and saw soldiers firing in the direction of the attic 
of a neighbouring house, and heard the whistling 
of the bullets, which appeared to him to come from 
behind. The Germans declared to him that the 
inhabitants had fired on them. He protested, and 
offered to go round the town with them in order 
to prove the absurdity of this allegation. His pro- 
posal was accepted, and as at the beginning of the 
circuit they came across the body of M. Crombez 
in the street, the officer commanding the escort 
said to M. Keller : ' You see this body. It is that 
of a civilian who has been killed by another civilian 
who was firing on us from a house near the Syna- 
gogue. Thus, in accordance with our law, we have 
burnt the house and executed the inhabitants.' He 
was speaking of the murder of a man whose timid 
character was known to all, the Jewish officiating 
minister Weill, who had just been killed in his 
house, together with his sixteen-year-old daughter. 
The same officer added : 'In the same way we 

[Map 5] 


have burnt the house at the corner of the Rue 
Castara and the Rue Girardet, because civilians 
fired shots from there.' It is from this dwelling 
that the Germans alleged that shots had been fired 
into the courtyard of the hospital, but the posi- 
tion of the building makes it impossible for such 
a statement to be true. 

" While the mayor and the soldiers who accom- 
panied him were pursuing their investigation, the 
conflagration broke out on different sides ; the 
H6tel-de-Ville was burnt as well as the Syna- 
gogue, and a number of houses in the Rue Castara 
and the Faubourg d'Einville were in flames. The 
massacres, which were continued until the next 
day, began at the same time. Without counting 
M. Crombez and the officiating minister Weill and 
his daughter, whose deaths we have already men- 
tioned, the victims were MM. Hamman, Binder, 
Balastre (father and son), Vernier, Dujon, M. 
Kahn and his mother, M. Steiner and his wife, 
M. Wingerstmann and his grandson, and finally 
MM. Sibille, Monteils, and Colin. 

" The murders were committed in the follow- 
ing circumstances : — 

"On Aug. 25th, after having fired two shots 
into the Worms tannery to create the belief that 
they were being attacked from there, the Germans 
entered a workshop in this factory, in which the 

[Map 5] 


workman Goeury was working ni company with 
M. Balastre, father and son. Goeury was dragged 
into the street, robbed there and brutally ill- 
treated, while his two companions, who were found 
trying to hide themselves in a lavatory, were killed 
by rifle shots. 

" On the same day soldiers came to summon 
M. Steiner, who had hidden in his cellar. His 
wife, fearing some misfortune, tried to keep him 
back. As she held him in her arms she received 
a bullet in the neck. A few moments after, 
Steiner, having obeyed the order which had been 
oiven to him, fell mortallv wounded in his o^arden. 
M. Kahn was also murdered in his garden. His 
mother, aged ninety-eight, whose body was burnt 
in the conflagration, had first been killed in her bed 
by a bayonet thrust, according to ihe account of an 
individual who acted as interpreter to the enemy. 
M. Binder, who was coming out to escape the 
flames, was also struck down. The German bv 
whom he was killed realised that he had shot him 
without any motive, at the moment when the un- 
fortunate man was standing quietly before a door. 
M. Vernier suffered the same fate as Binder. 

" Towards three o'clock the Germans broke into 
a house in which were Mme. Dujon, her daughter, 
aged three, her two sons, and M. Gaumier, by 
breaking the windows and firing shots. The little 

[Map 5] 


o-irl was nearly killed, her face was burnt by a 
shot. At this moment Mme. Dujon, seeing- her 
youngest son, Lucien, fourteen years old, stretched 
on the ground, asked him to get up and escape 
with her. She then saw that his intestines were 
protruding from a wound, and that he was hold- 
ing them in. The house was on fire ; the poor boy 
was burnt, as well as M. Gaumier, who had not 
been able to escape. 

"M. Wingerstmann and his grandson, aged 
twelve, who had gone out to pull potatoes a little 
way from Luneville, at the place called ' Les 
Mossus,' in the district of Chanteheux, were un- 
fortunate enough to meet Germans. The latter 
placed them both against a wall and shot them. 

" Finally, towards five in the evening, soldiers 
entered the house of the woman Sibille, in the 
same place, and without any reason seized 
upon her son, led him 200 metres from the house 
and murdered him there, together with M. Vallon, 
to whose body they had fastened him. A witness, 
who had seen the murderers at the moment when 
they were dragging their victim along, saw them 
return without him and noticed that their saw- 
edged bayonets were covered with blood and bits 
of flesh. 

" On the same day a hospital attendant named 
Monteils, who was looking after a wounded enemy 

[Map 5] 


officer at the Hospital of Luneville, was struck 
down by a bullet in the forehead while he was 
looking through a window at a German soldier 
who was firing. 

" The next day, the 26th, M. Hamman and his 
son, aged twenty-one, were arrested in their own 
house and dragged out by a band of soldiers who 
had entered by breaking down the door. The 
father was beaten unmercifully ; as for the young 
man, as he tried to struggle, a non-commis- 
sioned officer blew out his brains with a revolver 

"At one in the afternoon M. Riklin, a chemist, 
having been informed that a man had fallen about 
30 metres from his shop, went to the spot indi- 
cated and recognised in the victim his brother-in- 
law, M. Colin, aged sixty-eight, who had been 
struck in the stomach by a bullet. The Germans 
alleged that this old man had fired upon them. 
M. Riklin denied this statement. Colin, we are 
told, was a harmless person, absolutely incapable 
of an aggressive act and completely ignorant of the 
means of using a firearm. 

" It appeared to us desirable to deal also at 
Luneville with acts which are less grave, but which 
throw a peculiar light on the habits of thought of 
the invader. On Aug. 25th M. Lenoir, sixty- 
seven years of age, and with him his wife, were 

[Map 5l 


led into the fields with their hands tied behind 
their backs. After both had been cruelly ill- 
treated, a non-commissioned officer took posses- 
sion of eighteen hundred francs in gold which 
M. Lenoir carried on him. As we have already 
stated, the most impudent thieving seems to have 
formed part of the customs of the German Army, 
who practised it publicly. The following is an 
interesting example : — 

" During the burning of a house belonging to 
Mme. Leclerc, the safes of two inhabitants resisted 
the flames. One, belonging to M. George, Sub- 
Inspector of Waters and Forests, had fallen into 
the ruins; the other safe, belonging to M. Goud- 
chau, general dealer, remained fixed to a wall at 
the height of the second storey. The non-com- 
missioned officer Weiss, who was well acquainted 
with the town, where he had often been welcomed 
when he used to come before the war to carry on 
his business as a hop merchant, went with the 
soldiers to the place, ordered that the piece 
of wall which remained standing should be blown 
up with dynamite, and saw that the two safes were 
taken to the station, where they were placed on 
a truck destined for Germany. This Weiss was 
particularly trusted and esteemed by the persons 
in command. It was he who, installed at Head- 
quarters, was given the duty of administering the 

[Map 5] 


commune in some sense and was in charge of the 

"After havino- committed numerous acts of 
pillage at Luneville, after having burnt about 
70 houses with torches, petrol, and various in- 
cendiary machines, and after having massacred 
peaceful inhabitants, the German military authori- 
ties thought it well to put up the following pro- 
clamation, in which they formulated ridiculous 
accusations to justify the extortion of enormous 
contributions in the form of an indemnity : — 

" ' Notice to the Population. 

" ' On Aug. 25th, 19 14, the inhabitant.-s of Lune- 
ville made an attack by ambuscade against 
the German columns and transport. On 
the same day the inhabitants fired on hos- 
pital buildings marked with the Red Cross. 
Further, shots were fired on the German 
wounded and the military hospital contain- 
ing a German ambulance. On account of 
these acts of hostility a contribution of 
650,000 francs is imposed on the Commune 
of Luneville. The mayor is ordered to 
pay this sum — 50,000 francs in silver and 
the remainder in gold — on Sept. 6th, ?t 
9 o'clock in the morning, to the representa- 

[Map 5] 


tive of the German Military Authority. 
No protest will be considered. No exten- 
sion of time will be granted. If the com- 
mune does not punctually obey the order 
to pay the 650,000 francs, all the goods 
which are available will be seized. In case 
payment is not made, domiciliary visits 
will take place and all the inhabitants will 
be searched. Anyone found to have de- 
liberately hidden money or to have at- 
tempted to withhold his goods from seizure 
by the military authorities, and anyone 
attempting to leave the town, will be shot. 
The mayor and the hostages taken by the 
military authorities will be made respon- 
sible for the exact execution of the above 
order. The mayor is ordered to publish 
these directions to the commune at once. 
'Henamenil. Sept. 3rd, 1914. 
' Commander-in-Chief, 
' Von Fasbender.' 

" On reading this extraordinary document one 
is justified in asking whether the arson and 
murders committed at Luneville on Aug. 2 5lh and 
26th by an army which was not acting under the 
excitement of battle, and which during the pre- 
ceding days of its occupation had abstained from 

[Map 5] 


killing, were not ordered on purpose to make more 
plausible the allegation which was to serve as a 
pretext for the exaction of an indemnity." 

(iv) Across the Meurthe. 

While Lunevilie was being sacked by the 
Bavarian troops who occupied it, other Bavarian 
columns were pressing southward over the Meurthe. 
At Herimenil ^ they shot six civilians — including 
women of eighteen and twenty-three and a man 
of seventy-seven — and deliberately burned 22 
houses, after pillage. To facilitate the pillage the 
inhabitants were confined in the church. " I did 
not want the church door opened," a Bavarian 
captain shouted when a woman ventured out to 
find milk for the children ; " I wanted the French 
to shoot their own people." And, in fact, a French 
shell fell on the church and killed 24 of those 
inside. At Rehainviller^ the Germans carried off 
the cure and shot him, and deliberately set the 
village on fire. They burned three houses at 
Mont} At Lmnath^ they carried off the mayor 
and two others as hostages to Germany, and shot 
a man seventy years old. At Fraimbois ^ they 

2 One 335-341- 
■■^ One 323-8. 
4 One 334. 
i One 329-330. 
6 One 331-3- 

[Map 5] 


shot a municipal councillor and an invalid from 
Gerbeviller. " I saw German soldiers," states a 
witness from Fraimbois, " firing at fowls in the 
gardens. At that moment a patrol came by and 
arrested me on the pretext that it was I who had 
fired. I was brought before a council of war, but 
chanced to be acquitted." Advancing from Fraim- 
bois and Lamath, the Bavarians fought their way 
into Gerbeviller '^ on Aug. 24th. 

" At Gerbeviller," the French Comimission 
report,® " the enemy's troops hurled themselves 
against some sixty chasseurs-a-pied, who offered 
heroic resistance and inflicted heavy losses upon 
them. They took a drastic revenge upon the 
civilian population. Indeed, from the moment 
of their entrance into the town the Germans gave 
themselves up to the worst excesses, entering the 
houses with savage yells, burnmg the buildings, 
killing or arresting the inhabitants, and sparing 
neither women nor old men. Out of 475 houses, 
20 at most are still habitable. More than 100 
persons have disappeared, 50 at least have been 
massacred. Some were led into the fields to be 
shot, others were murdered in their houses or 
struck down as they passed through the streets, 
while they were trying to escape from the con- 

' One 254-278. 
^ One pp. 27-9. 

pviap 5] 


flagration. Up to now 36 bodies have been 
identified " (names follow). ... 

" Fifteen of these poor people were executed 
at a place called ' la Prele.' They were buried 
by their fellow-citizens on Sept. 12th or 15th. 
Almost all had their hands tied behind their backs ; 
some were blindfolded; the trousers of the 
majority were unbuttoned and pushed down to 
their feet. This fact as well as the appearance 
of the bodies made the witnesses think that the 
victims had been mutilated. We did not think 
we ought to adopt this view, ihe bodies being in 
such an advanced state of decomposition that a 
mistake on the subject might be made. Besides, 
it is possible that the murderers unbuttoned the 
trousers of the prisoners so as to encumber their 
legs, and thus make it impossible for them to 

"On Oct. 1 6th, at a place called le Haut-de- 
Vormont, buried under fifteen to twenty centi- 
metres of earth, we found the bodies of ten 
civilians with the marks of bullets upon them. 
On one of them was found a laissez-fasser in the 
name of Edouard Seyer, of Badonviller. The 
other nine victims are unknown. It is believed 
that they were inhabitants of Badonviller, who had 
been taken by the Germans into the neighbour- 
hood of Gerbeviller to be shot there. 

[Map 5] 


" In the streets and houses during the day the 
town was sacked the most tragic scenes took place. 

" In the morning the enemy entered the house of 
M. and Mme. Lingenheld, seized the son, thirty- 
six years of age, who was wearing the brassard of 
the Red Cross, tied his hands behind his back, 
dragged him into the street, and shot him. They 
then returned to look for the father, an old man 
of seventy. Mme. Lingenheld then took to flight. 
On her way she saw her son stretched on the 
ground, and as the unhappy man was still moving 
some Germans drenched him with petrol, to which 
they set fire in the presence of the terrified mother. 
In the meantime M. Lingenheld was led to la 
Prele, where he was executed. i 

" At the same time the soldiers knocked at the 
door of the house occupied by M. Dehan, his 
wife, and his mother-in-law, the widow Guillaume, 
aged seventy-eight. The latter, who opened the 
door, was shot point-blank, and fell into the arms 
of her son-in-law, who ran up behind her. ' They 
have killed me ! ' she cried. ' Carry me into the 
garden.' Her children obeyed, and laid her at 
the end of the garden with a pillow under her 
head and a blanket over her legs, and then 
stretched themselves at the foot of the wall to 
avoid shells. At the end of an hour the widow 
Guillaume was dead. Her daughter wrapped her 

[Map 5] 


in a blanket and placed a handkerchief over her 
face. Almost immediately the Germans broke 
into the garden. They carried off Dehan and shot 
him at la Prele, and led his wife away on to the 
Fraimbois road, where she found about 40 people, 
principally women and children, in the enemy's 
hands, and heard an officer of high rank say : ' We 
must shoot these women and children. We must 
make an end of them.' However, the threat was 
not carried into effect. Mme. Dehan was set at 
liberty next day, and was able to return twenty-one 
days later to Gerbeviller. She is convinced, and 
all those who saw the body share her opinion, that 
her mother's body had been violated. In fact, the 
body was found stretched on its back with the 
petticoats pushed up, the legs separated, and the 
stomach ripped open. 

"When the Germans arrived, M. Perrin and 
his two daughters, Louise and Eugenie, had taken 
refuge in a stable. The soldiers entered, and one 
of them, seeing young Louise, fired a shot point- 
blank at her head. Eugenie succeeded in escap- 
ing, but her father was arrested as he fled, placed 
among the victims who were being taken to la 
Prele, and shot with them. 

"M. Yong, who was going out to exercise his 
horse, was struck down before his own house. 
The Germans in their fury killed the horse after 

[Map 5] 

^ ■ ^t,\ 

■. vi 


the master, and set fire to the house. Some others 
raised the trap-door of a cellar in which several 
people were hidden and fired several shots at 
them. Mme. Denis Bernard and the boy Par- 
mentier, seven years of age, were wounded. 

" At five in the evening Mme. Rozier heard an 
imploring voice crying, ' Mercy ! Mercy ! ' These 
cries came from one of the two neighbouring barns 
belonging to MM. Poinsard and Barbier. A man 
who was acting as interpreter to the Germans 
declared to a certain Mme. Thiebaut that the Ger- 
mans boasted that they had burnt alive in one of 
these barns, in spite of his entreaties and appeals 
to their pity, a man who was the father of five 
children. This declaration carries all the more 
conviction, since the remains of a burnt human 
body have been found in the barn belonging to 

" Side by side with this carnage, innumerable 
acts of violence were committed. The wife of a 
soldier, Mme. X., was raped by a German soldier 
in the passage of her parents' house, whilst her 
mother was obliged to flee at the bayonet's point. 

" On Aug. 29th Sister Julie, Mother Superior 
of the Hospital, whose devotion has been admir- 
able, went to the parish church with a mobilised 
priest to examine the state of the interior of the 
building, and found that an attempt had been 

[Map 5] 
G.T. N 


made to break through the steel door of the 
tabernacle. The Germans had fired shots round 
the lock in order to get possession of the ciborium. 
The door was broken through in several places, 
and the bullets had produced almost symmetrical 
holes, which proved that the shots had been fired 
point-blank. When Sister Julie opened the taber- 
nacle she found the ciborium pierced with bullet 

Beyond Gerbeviller, at Moyen^ they carried 
away captive to Qermany the cure and the mayor. 
At Magnieres^^ too, the mayor was carried away, 
a number of houses were burnt, and a Bavarian 
soldier violated a girl of twelve. At Xaffevillers}^ 
in the Department of the Vosges, civilians were 
used as a screen. The place was pillaged, and a 
woman of seventy-five was violated. Doncieres ^^ 
was pillaged, and here a man of seventy-four was 
shot and 27 houses burnt. At Nossoncourt^^ 20 
houses were burnt and 16 inhabitants carried 
away to Germany, of whom 3 died in exile. At 
Menil-sur-Belvitte^^ 52 houses were burnt, an old 
man of sixty-one was used as a screen, and 3 

^ One 361-2. 
10 One 343-5. 
" Five 228-9. 
^'^ Five 216-8. 
^^ Five 208-9. 
^* Five 219-227. 

[Map 5! 


others were shot. At St. -Bar be ^* 104 houses were 
burnt, after being pillaged, out of about 150, and 
in one of them a woman of eighty-three was burnt 
alive. The schoolmaster protested to the Bavarian 
commandant that civilians had not been firing, 
but the commandant would not listen, and the 
burning went on — " a horrible sight," as a private 
of the 170th Regiment wrote in his diary on 
Aug. 26th. 

(v) In the V osges. 

These places lay between the Meurthe and the 
Mortagne, but other columns ravaged the district 
between the Meurthe and the Vezouse, and 
pressed up the Meurthe into the Vosges to join 
hands, if they could, with German forces operating 
from Alsace. 

At Baccarat^^ in the Department of the Meurthe 
and Moselle, the Bavarians conducted systematic 
pillage under the direction of their officers, and 
burned over 100 houses — 112 were destroyed 
altogether, and only 4 or 5 of them by shells. 
" These pigs of Bavarians again," said the 
Badeners who followed the Bavarians into the 
town. " We are not the same race." Yet it was 
a Badener General of Artillery who remarked to 

13 Five 210-5 ; Rland pp. 136-7, 335. 
1^ One 301-3. 

[Map 5] 

N '» 


an inhabitant : " I never thought you had so much 
fine wine at Baccarat; we have taken more than 
100,000 bottles." 

At Domevre^'^ 136 houses were burnt, a boy of 
seventeen was shot at and died of his wounds, 
and two other inhabitants were shot, one of them 
being seventy-five years old. At Blamont}'^ when 
the Germans marched in on Aug. 8th, they shot 
a girl working in the fields. On Aug. 12th they 
shot an ex-mayor eighty-two years old. On Aug. 
13th they dragged off the mayor and a cafe pro- 
prietor to execution, on the ground that there 
had been firing by civilians; they kept their vic- 
tims waiting in agony for a quarter of an hour; 
then the cafe proprietor was shot and the mayor 
set free. 

" Parux'' writes a Bavarian diarist ^^ on Aug. 
loth, "was the first village burnt; then we let 
go, and one village after another went up in 
flames. We cycled across country till we came 
to some road-ditches, where we ate cherries." 

" During the night of Aug. iSth-igth," another 
diarist writes,^° " the village of St.-Maurice was 
burnt to the ground by the 12th and 17th Land- 
wehr as a punishment for having fired on German 

1' One 366. 

^^ Five 185-9. 

^^ Bland p. i95 = Bedier p. 22. 

20 Bland pp. 183-5. 

[Map 5] 


troops. The village was surrounded — one man 
to every yard — so that no one could get out. 
Then the Uhlans set fire to it, house by house. 
Neither man, woman, nor child was to escape, 
only most of the live stock was carried off, as that 
could be used. Anyone who ventured out was 
shot down. All the inhabitants left in the village 
were burnt with their houses." 

The conduct of the Bavarians at B adonviller^^ 
is summarised by the French Commission in their 
Fifth Report : — 

"On Aug. i2th, 1914, the 2nd, 5th, 12th, and 
1 6th Infantry Regiments entered Badonviller, 
after hard fighting in the outskirts. Their first 
act was to kill an inoffensive landowner, M. 
Marchal, aged sixty-six, who was sitting quietly 
in front of his door. 

"Soon afterwards an action which began out 
side the town was carried into the streets, where 
a handful of French riflemen were making a 
stand; and the latter, being forced to retreat, 
fired, while still within range, on columns which 
were coming up to reinforce the enemy. In- 
furiated by this firing, the Germans alleged, as 
usual, that civilians had taken part in it, and the 
order was given to ravage Badonviller with fire 

21 Five 148-161 ; Morgan p. 99. 

[Map 5] 


and sword. Captain Baumanh, of the i6th Regi- 
ment, showed himself particularly dangerous. In 
order to quiet him, M. Benoit, the mayor, par- 
leyed with him as best he could, assuring him that 
none of his fellow-townsmen had opened fire. 
The officer then ordered him to follow him through 
the streets and have all doors and windows thrown 
open. To make sure that, in so far as his own 
house was concerned, the order should be carried 
out, the mayor sent home his wife, who was with 
her parents. Then he went to interview the enemy 
general, to plead the cause of his townspeople, 
and to ask that a stop should be put to the acts of 
violence and arson that were already beginning. 
The general's only reply was to allow a respite 
of twenty minutes, before the expiration of which 
all the French soldiers who had taken refuge n 
Badonviller were to be handed over, and all the 
men to assemble in front of the town-hall. M. 
Benoit hastened to take the necessary steps for 
collecting his fellow-citizens. While thus em- 
ployed he was passing his house, when an officer 
pointed at it, saying that there had been firing 
from it. After uttering strong protests, the mayor 
entered his house with four soldiers to make an 
inspection. A tragic sight awaited him there. 
On reaching a room on the first floor, the window 
of which was open, he found his wife stretched 

[Map 5] 


lifeless, with a wound in her breast. The un- 
happy husband, beside himself with grief, was 
on the point of flinging himself on her dead body, 
but the Germans dragged him off and compelled 
him to go with them and search his neighbours' 
houses, while the body of Mme. Benoit was 
burning in his house, which had just been set on 

" In the same district the Bavarians also burned 
a workmen's quarter and other buildings, besides 
killing a boy of sixteen, Georges Odinot, in his 
parents' house. The boy was coming up from 
the cellar with a bottle of wine and a small loaf of 
bread for the family meal when, on entering the 
kitchen, he found himself confronted by two 
soldiers, who aimed their rifles at him. ' Spare 
me, gentlemen,' he cried, but one of the two men 
shot him in the throat. The Germans then dragged 
the body out by the legs and flung it into a blazing 

" Meanwhile, other murders were being com- 
mitted at the other end of the town, which had 
also been set on fire. M. and Mme. George, their 
daughter, their son-in-law, M. Gruber, and two 
young children of the latter's, were caught by 
the flames in the cellar where they had bidden 
themselves, and were fired at as they fled. M. 
and Mme. George were killed in front of their 

[Map 5] 


house; M. Gruber, while holding one of his 
children in his arms, was badly wounded, and 
dragged himself into a meadow close by, where 
he died five hours later. His wife witnessed his 
agony from a house that commanded the meadow, 
but she was not allowed to go and give him any 
help at all. Finally, M. Spatz, an old man of 
eighty-one, M. Emile Boulay, and his fifteen- 
year-old son were murdered in their homes. 

" During this terrible day a certain number of 
people were driven brutally from their houses, 
and then collected in the high-street and sub- 
jected to the grossest maltreatment. A man of 
seventy-five, M. Batoz, though helpless and ill, 
was plucked from his bed and dragged naked into 
the road. He died a fortnight later. About a 
dozen young people had to lie flat on the ground 
with their arms crossed, and soldiers passing near 
them amused themselves by kicking them, strik- 
ing them with the butt-end of their rifles and 
treading on their hands. During a scene of this 
kind young Massel, aged eighteen, who had been 
wounded by a bullet, fell into the river and was 
drowned. His mother and sister, who witnessed 
the accident, were not allowed to go to his help. 

" While this massacre was in progress the enemy 
gave themselves up to an orgy of incendiarism 
and pillage. Eighty-five houses were destroyed 

[Map 5] 


and the chnrch was bombarded by a battery placed 
on a height commanding the town. This bom- 
bardment, which served no military end — for fight- 
ing had ceased — was carried out in the presence 
of some hostages from Fenneviller, who — to quote 
several witnesses — were obliged to take off their 
hats and shout ' Hurrah ! ' with the gunners at 
every discharge. It is only fair, however, to men- 
tion that, upon representations from M. Berson, 
a professor at the Condorcet School, who was 
spending his holidays at Badonviller and had 
been arrested there. Captain Baumann consented, 
while the cannonade was going on, to send soldiers 
to form a chain and extinguish in its early stages 
a conflagration which had broken out in a block 
of houses close to the church." 

" During the fight at ' Batonville,' " wrote a 
Bavarian soldier ^^ in a letter to a girl at home, " I 
bayoneted 7 women and 4 young girls in five 
minutes. We fought from house to house, and 
these women fired on us with revolvers ; they also 
fired on the captain too, and then he told me to 
shoot them all, but I bayoneted them and did not 
shoot them — this set of sows, they are worse than 

The French Commission give the following 

^- Morgan p. 99, 

[Map 5] 


summary of Bavarian outrages at Raon- 

"The Germans entered Raon-l'Etape on Aug. 
24th. As soon as they arrived they first of all 
burned four houses in the Rue Carnot, under the 
usual pretext that they had been fired upon. Next 
day they placed machine-guns on the steps of the 
hospital and dug trenches in the garden. When 
the Sisters protested against this violation of hos- 
pital premises, they admitted that they had 
selected the position deliberately to shelter them- 
selves from the French artillery. Until the 28th 
they went on burning down the town, using torches, 
grenades, and an inflammable liquid which they 
squirted with hand-pumps. Besides this, they 
ordered the inhabitants to bring them all the petrol 
they possessed. The Corn Exchange, the girls' 
school, several other public buildings, and one 
hundred and two private houses were destroyed. 
Some soldiers, when asked by Dr. Wendling why 
they were burning everything, replied : ' Your 
town is badly lighted ; we must brighten up the 
night a bit.' 

" In addition, we have to deplore the deaths of 
several absolutely unoffending people. An old 
man of seventy-five, M. Richard, was killed by a 
bullet while watching some of the enemy's troops 

-^ Five 190-206, summarised on pp. 30-2, 


go by from an upper window of his house. M. 
Huck was murdered on the night of the 24th or 
25th, while leavnig his cellar. Four days later 
his body, with a wound in the head, was recovered 
from the river, into which the murderers had 
thrown it. A certain M. Poirel was wounded 
mortally under circumstances which are not quite 
clear. M. Perisse was forced to walk in front of 
the soldiers and struck down in the Rue Chanzy. 
In the same street the widow Grandemange re- 
ceived a wound in her leg, from which she died 
some days afterwards. 

" During the whole of the occupation there were 
many acts of pillage, and some officers and several 
German women took part in them. Every third 
day motor-cars laden with booty went off in the 
direction of Cirey and returned empty. The pil- 
lagers spread a Red Cross flag over a waggon 
filled with casks of wine stolen from M. Mar- 
celoff's establishment. 

" In the first week Mile. X., a domestic servant, 
thirty-four years of age, was surprised by four 
soldiers in her master's house. Three of them 
held her down while the fourth outraged her. 
Mme Y. was the victim of a similar outrage. A 
German violated her in a neighbour's house, after 
driving out the other people there, revolver in 

[Map 5] 


"After all this had happened, the town was 
occupied by the 15th Army Corps, and particu- 
larly by the 99th Infantry Regiment. General von 
Deimling had his quarters in the premises belong- 
ing to the Sadoul family. For a long time after- 
wards his name could be seen chalked on the door. 

" The Raon-1'Etape hospital has been occupied 
by three successive German field hospitals, the 
staff of which turned out a great number of our 
wounded and gave no attention to the rest. Their 
doctors behaved scandalously in the place, getting 
drunk every night and rifling the quarters of 
wounded or dead French officers. About a dozen 
mattresses, many blankets, and more than a 
hundred sheets were stolen. The doctor in com- 
mand of the last field hospital distinguished him- 
self by his extraordinary brutality and coarseness. 
One day he insulted shamefully the nun who was 
at work in the kitchen, and threw several knives 
at her head, complaining that she did not treat 
him with all the respect due to his rank. Towards 
the end of his stay he introduced from Germany a 
female whom he represented to be his lawful wife. 
This German woman was of very loose manners, 
and smoked and drank with the military surgeons. 
She was seen, in the company of officers, pillaging 
the house of a notary and loading on to a motor- 
car the articles she had stolen from it. 

[Map 5] 


"On Aug. 25th, when the enemy entered the 
hospital, an unarmed French infantry sergeant 
tried to escape. Owing to his wound — the dress- 
ing on which was very evident — they could easily 
have captured him ; yet the Germans made not the 
slightest attempt to take him alive, but fired at him 
and killed him. The same day a hospital orderly 
wearing an armlet and an overall was fired at and 
had his clothes pierced by a bullet while going 
into the garden to pick up a waterproof cloth which 
had fallen out of the window." 

At N euveville-les-Raon ^* the pillage was 
especially systematic ; officers' wives chose what 
they wanted and removed it in motor-cars to Ger- 
many; then 45 houses were burnt with the usual 
incendiary apparatus. The houses left standing 
were found in an indescribable state of filth, for 
the Bavarians had been continuously drunk during 
the nineteen days they occupied the village. On 
the day of their arrival they made a French civilian 
carry a wounded French soldier on his back, and 
then shot both from behind. 

At la Voivre^^ a few miles higher up the 
Meurthe, they shot the cure for possessing a large- 
scale map. They also shot another inhabitant, 
aged seventy-four, and burned down 6 houses. At 

2* Five 207. 
25 piyg 230-1. 

[Map 5] 


St. Michel-sur-M eurthe '^^ they burned three, and 
murdered two old men — respectively seventy-one 
and seventy-five years old — in the hamlet of 
Saulceray of the same commune. In the hamlet 
of Bo2irmont^'' of the commune of N omfatelize, 
they seized three men, dragged them to the rail- 
way station at St. Michel, lined them up for half 
an hour against a stack of timber, then shot one 
and compelled the other two to dig his grave. 
The murdered man's wife died the day after of 
the shock. 

Pressing up the Meurthe, the Bavarians arrived 
on Aug. 27th at St. -Die }^ 

"When they entered the town," the French 
Commission state in their report, " an officer 
stopped the accountant Visser as he was leav- 
ing a cellar in the Blech factory, clapped his 
revolver to his chin, saying : ' Now, then, 
show us the way,' and had him led off by 
his men. Quite close to the factory M. Visser 
met, surrounded by Prussians, M. Chotel, who 
had just been arrested in the road; and a few 
moments later the soldiers, who were forcing their 
way into all the houses, seized a young deaf-mute 

2^ Five 232-5. 

^J' Five 236-9. 

-^ Five 249-273 ; Bland pp. 321-3 (an account of the civilian 
screen by one of the German officers responsible for it) ; German 
Proclamations : "Scraps of Paper " pp. 16-7, 18-9. 

rMap <\ 


named Louzy and a workman named (Leon) 
Georges. Suddenly a German who was crossing 
the Rue de Breuil got a bullet in his face, and 
the officer, beside himself with rage, shouted : 
' There they are, your dirty Frenchmen ! They 
are killing our men at the street-corners.' He then 
gave an order to his men, and said abruptly to his 
prisoners : ' Now then, to the front ! Forward ! ' 
The four hostages were now placed in front of the 
troops, and soon came to a barricade, from behind 
which a body of Chasseurs Alpins were firing. 
They therefore found themselves caught between 
two fires. Chotel sank down on to his knees, 
turned towards the Germans, crying ' Cowardly 
murderers ! ' and fell dead. Soon afterwards 
Georges also was killed; Louzy was shot through 
the right wrist ; and Visser received in his stomach 
a bullet which glanced off two five-franc pieces 
in a waistcoat-pocket and inflicted a dangerous, 
but not mortal, wound. 

" In the hospital where he was treated M. Visser 
found himself with two lads, both badly wounded. 
One of them, Charles Perrin, aged fourteen, had 
been hit twice by the Germans when running to 
execute a commission. He died on Sept. 20th, 
19 14. Our inquiries have not resulted in identify- 
ing the other for certain ; but news has reached us 
that somebody named Paul Luquer, aged nineteen. 

[Map ^1 


died in one of the hospitals at Saint-Die on 
Sept. 1 6th. He had been hit full in the face by 
a projectile in one of the streets while trying to 
give help to a wounded Frenchman. 

" About 1.30 p.m. a German soldier caught sight 
of an individual named Lafoucriere, aged 
eighteen, at the angle between the Rue de la 
Prairie and the Rue Dixieme-Bataillon ; he aimed 
at him and shot him down, although the young 
fellow had not said a single word nor made the 
slightest gesture of provocation. An old man 
named de Tihay was also killed in the street while 
surrounded by enemy soldiers; but it is possible 
that the bullet which struck him was not meant for 
him, and that he was a victim of the fight that 
was then raging. 

" The next day — the 28th — young Bleicher, 
aged twenty-one, who had been invalided out of 
the army, was surprised by three non-commis- 
sioned officers at Saint-Roch, in the commune of 
Saint-Die, in the house of a friend of his mother's, 
Mme. Ziegler, on whom he was calling. One of 
the soldiers shouted as he came in : ' Clear out ! ' 
Bleicher took a step forward and tried to explain 
why he was there. ' I am . . .' — but he never 
finished the sentence, being immediately shot dead 
with a revolver. . . . 

" During their stay at Saint-Die the enemy gave 
[Map 5] 



free rein to their customary activities of pillage 
and destruction. They were seen to bring a safe 
to the colonnade at the town hall and break it 
open there. They ransacked cellars and shops. 
M. Badier, a wine merchant, from whom they took 
goods to the value of 35,000 francs, was given 
some requisition vouchers, signed by officers 
of the 26th Reserve Division and of the 71st Prus- 
sian Landwehr Regiment. On Aug. 29th they 
set fire to the district round the Rue de la BoUe, 
and, to make it impossible to bring help, had the 
bridges which connect the district with the rest of 
the town closely guarded while the conflagration 
was proceeding. Forty-five houses and five fac- 
tories were burnt. The same day two French 
infantrymen and two Chasseurs Alpins were found 
in a cellar by the Germans, led to where the Rue 
de la Bolle and the Rue des Cites meet, and shot. 
Their bodies lay for four days m the public 

The invaders penetrated to Mandray,^ between 
the sources of the Meurthe and the Alsatian 
frontier, and murdered five civilians in this com- 
mune during the course of their occupation. One 
of them was a man sixty-four years old, another 
a woman of seventy-five. Most of them were 

29 Five 240-8. 

[Map 5] 
G.T. O 


murdered treacherously after being com- 
mandeered as guides. 

But Mandray marks the extreme south-eastern 
limit of the German invasion of Belgium and 
France, and from this point southwards the 
French frontier has remained inviolate. For from 
the first days after the German declaration of war 
the French Army took the offensive in Upper 
Alsace, and has stood since then — not on enemy 
soil, but on soil once French and now French 

again after the passage of forty-four years. 

[Map 5] 


(i) Termonde and Alosi. 

The Battle of the Marne stemmed the wave of 
German invasion on a front extending from the 
Oise to the Vosges. The country beyond this 
battle-line was saved from the passage of the 
invader, districts behind it were recovered as the 
German armies ebbed towards the Aisne, and then 
the stationary war of trenches superseded the war 
of manoeuvres. This change took place during 
the first half of September, 19 14, but the 
invasion had not entirely spent its force. Surging 
back from the dam which the Allies had set across 
its original channel, it broke out again towards the 
north and west, in an attempt to submerge the 
remnant of Belgium, pass round the flank of the 
Franco-British rampart, and sweep for#ard by a 
fresh channel into France. This second inunda- 
tion was not so gigantic as the first, yet it brought 
massacre and devastation to regions that had 
previously escaped, and was only stopped along 
the line of the Yser and Ypres in the last days of 
October, more than six weeks after the Battle of 
the Marne had been fought and won by the Allies. 


'^' O 2 


This last German advance was made in three 
stages : the capture of Term.onde and Alost, the 
capture of Antwerp, and the march from the 
Scheldt to the Yser. The last stage rivalled in 
speed, and in the extent of territory overrun, the 
movements of von Kluck and von Biilow in the 
month that followed the declaration of war, and 
all three stages brought destruction upon the 
civilian population. 

Termonde and Alost were the principal points 
on the line of the Dender, which the Belgian Army 
had held against the Germans since Aug. 19 th, 
19 1 4. They were a rampart thrust out southward 
from the fortress of Antwerp, screening its com- 
munications with tiie French and British positions 
on the Channel coast. It was a precarious screen, 
but the Germans could not strike at Antwerp freely 
till they had brushed it away. 

The treatment of Termonde ^° is described 
in the Ninth Report of the Belgian Commis- 
sion : — * 

" The Communes of Lebbeke and of St. Gilles- 
lez-Termonde contain, with the town of Termonde 
itself, a total of over 26,000 inhabitants. These 
places, together with the village of Appels (with 

^° f l~li ; g 9, 24, 30; ix ; vi p. 40 {Get man Procia/uafion) ; 
xv p. 23 (civilian screen). 



2,100 in habitants, lying west of Termonde) have 
endured terrible sufferings. 

"On Sept. 2nd a German patrol came as far as 
Lebbeke. Under the pretext that they were 
avenging six German soldiers, shot by the Belgian 
troops in the district of Lebbeke, they set fire to 
three farms in the hamlet of Hijzide. 

" On Sept. 4th, at four in the morning, the 
people of Lebbeke were roused by the sound of 
lively firing. The German Army was attacking 
the place, which was defended by some Belgian 
outposts, who soon drew back to the Scheldt. At 
seven the Germans entered the village, breaking 
windov^^s, smashing in doors, and hunting away 
women and children. The men were dragged 
from their homes, to serve as a living shield for 
the advancing troops. 

" Soon after the village was bombarded. The 
church v/as taken as a special target, and was hit 
by several shells which caused grave damage. 
About ten houses were seriously injured. Then 
pillage and arson commenced. Twenty farms or 
dwelling houses were set on fire, and all the houses 
in the centre of the place were plundered. Only 
the appeals which the burgomaster addressed to 
General Gronen saved the village from complete 
destruction. A great part of the Commune of St. 
Gilles-lez-Termonde was also devastated. 


"x^t 9.15 a.m. the German Army began to shell 
Termonde, and soon afterwards it entered the 
town by the Rue de I'Eglise, the Rue de Malines, 
and the Rue de Bruxelles. German troops ad- 
vanced to the Civil Hospital, and there arrested as 
hostages Dr. Van Winckel, President of the Red 
Cross Association, who was attending to the 
wounded, and also the Rev. M. Van Poucke, the 
Chaplain, and M. Cesar Schellekens, the Secre- 
tary of the United Civil Hospitals. They were 
taken to the centre of the town, accompanied by 
various townsmen, who were arrested on the way 

" Meanwhile the soldiery were pillaging cellars 
and the shops of confectioners, bakers, grocers, 
and wine and spirit merchants. The window- 
frames gave way under the accumulated mass of 

" One company, under a captain, burst into the 
offices of the ' Dender Central Bank,' a private 
company, and searched them from end to end. 
Soon after, a special squad entered the bank and 
blew open the safe in the manager's room, from 
which 2,400 francs were taken. They then 
forced the wrought-iron door of the bank cellar, 
which contained the boxes deposited by private 
customers. But there was a second door to the 
cellar which resisted their burglarious efforts. It 



was only tlie great solidity of this structure which 
preserved the private safes below. 

" Meanv/hile General Von Boehn was posing 
for his photograph on the stairs of the Town 

" At about 3 p.m. some pioneers (of the 9th Bat- 
talion) set fire to the building-yards of Termonde, 
and to four groups of five dwelling houses in the 
centre of the town. After this the German officers 
began to direct those inhabitants who still re- 
mained in the place to take their departure, as the 
town was to be completely destroyed. About 5 
p.m. the German commander ordered all the 
criminals in the gaol, to the number of over 135, 
to be set at liberty. They spread over the 

" Next day (Sept. 5th) began the complete 
destruction of the town by fire, under the direction 
of a Major von Sommerfeld. The hospital was 
not spared ; it was drenched with petroleum and set 
alight. The sick, wounded, and old people were 
carried out, but one epileptic man perished in the 
blaze. The chapel of the Alms-house (Beguin- 
age), a building of the late XVIth century, was 
set on fire the same day. 

"Meanwhile the German soldiery were engaged 
all day in completing the work of pillage begun 
on the previous evening. The jew^eller's shop 



belonging to M. Van den Durnel-Goedetier and 
many private mansions were thoroughly sacked. 

" On Sunday, Sept. 6th, the commandant, 
Major von Sommerfeld, ordered that the destruc- 
tion should proceed. As at Louvain and Andenne, 
all the better quarters of the town, where the 
soldiers would find the most plunder, were set on 

" It was only on Sept. 7th that the con- 
flagration ceased, the pioneers — so a German said 
—having to go off to destroy railways. Most of 
the surviving houses were found to bear the in- 
scription ' Nicht anziinden ' (Not to be burnt). 
This day a German sentry was killed, in front of 
Vertongen's factory, by a Belgian soldier firing 
from the dyke on the further side of the Scheldt. 
Major von Forstner observed to a notable of Ter- 
monde : ' There are still the factories round the 
town ; if your soldiers hit another of our men, they 
shall be destroyed, as the town has been.' 

" On Sept. 4th the Germans had also shelled 
for more than an hour die little village of 
Appels, though no Belgian force was posted there. 
A child was killed by a fragment of shrapnel. 
Some minutes after the bombardment stopped the 
Germans entered the place, and set fire to the 
house of Casimir Laureys, who had been wounded 
by a splinter from a shell; the wretched man was 



left to perish in the flames. They burned eight 
more houses, and sacked most of the others. They 
shut up the parish priest and most of the inhabi- 
tants in the church for about an hour and a half, 
and only allowed them to depart after compelling 
them to shake hands with their guards. They 
burned the house of the rural policeman, because 
they found his military cap there. They also 
destroyed the house of Adolphe Veldermann, 
where they had found an old regimental tunic 
belonging to his son, then a soldier in the Belgian 
Army. Four neighbouring houses were burnt, 
and all the rest of the village was plundered. 

" Many inhabitants of Lebbeke, St. Gilles, and 
Termonde were arrested by the German troops 
and sent off to Germany. The parish priest of 
Lebbeke, his curate, the communal secretary, the 
notary, and about 450 other people from the 
above-named places, were interned, partly at the 
camp at Soltau, partly at the camp at Miinster. 
During the whole of their journey, and for the 
first part of their imprisonment, they were treated 
in a most odious fashion. While on the march 
three of them, exhausted by hunger, tried to turn 
off from the road ; they were at once put to death 
— two were bayoneted, the third was thrown down 
on the ground and clubbed. 

" Twenty-five people of Lebbeke and St. Gilles 

G.T. O* 


were murdered by the Germans on their own 
lands. Excepting four men (names given), all 
were killed by blows from bayonets, picks, or 
hatchets. Most of them were so disfigured that 
it was only possible to identify their bodies by 
the objects found on them. Twelve men, all of 
Lebbeke (names given), had taken refuge in 
the farm of Octave Verhulst; they were tied to- 
gether and led to the back of the farm, where they 
were murdered. Their bodies were all thrown 
into the same trench. Six men of St, Gilles 
(names given) were tied arm to arm and conducted 
to Lebbeke. The Germans put out their eyes 
and then killed them with their bayonets. Three 
others (names given) were killed by sabre cuts 
on the head, in the presence of their wives and 

" Two inhabitants of Termonde were killed at 
the time of the entry of the Germans. One in- 
habitant of Appels, named Theophile Van den 
Bossche, was brought down by a revolver shot; 
another named Wauters was wounded by a rifle 

"On Sept. 4th, the day of the attack on 
Termonde, six German infantrymen fired twice, 
from a distance of five yards only, on Dr. F. 
Hemereyk and on his porter, though both were 
wearing the armlet with the Red Cross. The 


TERMONDE—SEPT. 16th 203 

porter died five days later — his wound was made 
by an explosive bullet, which struck him in the 
upper thigh. The wound was two and a half 
inches broad where the ball entered, and three 
inches at its exit. The examination of this wound 
was made by three surgeons, at the ambulance set 
up in Vertongen's factory. A third volley was 
fired at Dr. Hemereyk after his porter had fallen. 

" When Termonde was reoccupied by the 
Belgians new atrocities took place. During the 
fighting some German soldiers, under an officer, 
compelled fifteen civilians to march in front of 
them on the road to St. Gilles ; of this party three 
were ladies and two young girls ! At St. Gilles, 
a man who had received five bayonet thrusts in 
the abdomen was tied up (as if crucified) to a 
door — his right hand bound to the door handle, 
his left to the bell-pull. 

" Camille de Rijken, a stoker of Termonde, 
was bayoneted in the presence of his wife. 

"On Sept. 1 6th, about 5.30 p.m., the Germans 
began once more to bombard Termonde. The 
majority of the inhabitants, who had returned 
to the town after Sept. loth, retired to the 
left bank of the Scheldt, as did the small Belgian 
garrison of 250 men. A dozen shells struck the 
church of Notre Dame, which had been recently 



"At 7.30 p.m. the enemy entered the town. 
When the Belgian troops continued to fire from 
the further bank of the Scheldt, some German 
soldiers compelled Dr. Van Winckel to accom- 
pany them to the river; the man who was on his 
right hand was killed, the man on his left severely 

" That evening the Germans pillaged the cellars 
of three houses which had escaped the devasta- 
tions of Sept. 4th, 5th, and 6th. All the night 
the officers kept up a drinking bout in the square 
before the Linen Market where they had lighted 
two large fires. 

"Next day (Sept. 17th) the town vv^as shelled 
again from 4 to 4.45 p.m. One shell struck the 
tower of the Town Hall, which caught fire. The 
communal library and the archives fell a prey to 
the flames, but the pictures were saved with three 

" After the fall of Antwerp the Germans occu- 
pied Termonde in force. They drove out the few 
inhabitants who remained, and proceeded to 
plunder all that was left in the town, the factories 
were robbed of all finished products and of certain 
raw materials. The Law Courts, the Arsenal, and 
almost all the few private houses that still stood 
intact were set on fire. 

" It is clear from the statement that is herein 


ALOSTSEPT. 11th 205 

set forth, that the town of Termonde was syste- 
matically destroyed, though certain German news- 
papers deny it. It was destroyed by methodical 
arson, accompanied by pillage. Even allowing 
that there was a military necessity for the 
bombardment, that bombardment only completed 
the devastating work of the German pioneer- 

Alost,^^ like Termonde, changed hands more 
than once during the month of September, and 
though the fighting was not so continuous nor so 
intense, the fate of the civil population was hardly 
less terrible. 

During the engagement on Sept. nth, a man 
crossing a street in Alost with a pail of water from 
the well was bayoneted by lo German soldiers. 
Another man was shot in his doorway. Others, 
again, were driven through the streets as a screen. 
One of the latter saw the corpses of 14 murdered 
civilians lying in the road. In hospital, a few 
days later, a witness saw several more victims who 
were dying of their wounds— a girl of eleven with 
17 bayonet-stabs in her back; a man mangled by 
bayonet-stabs and blows from rifle-butts; an old 
woman of eighty with a bayonet-stab through her 
body; and a man who had been thrown, with his 

f 12-27 ; g 25, 28, 33 ; vii p. 55 ; xv p. 2: 


son, out of the window of his house. This house 
had been set on fire, and there were several other 
cases of incendiarism. 

On Sept. 26th the Germans returned to the 
attack and forced the passage of the river. In 
this engagement they treated Alost as they had 
treated the towns on the Meuse and the Sambre. 
They covered their advance by systematic incen- 
diarism in several quarters, especially along the 
eastern bank of the river; and when they came 
under the fire of the Belgian infantry and machine- 
guns on the further side, they shot or bayoneted 
at sight any civilians who showed themselves in 
the part of the town that was already in their 
hands. One witness ^^ saw 9 corpses of civilians; 
another ^^ 7; another T,y, including boys of twelve 
and sixteen, and a girl.^* One^^ knew personally 
of 21 civilians who were bayoneted or clubbed to 
death or shot; another of 17.^" "The men were 
shot as they came out of their burning houses," 
states a witness ^^ ; " no resistance was made." — 
" I saw a young man — twenty-three years old, about 
— jump from the roof of a burning house," states 

32 f 15. 

33 f 18. 
^ f 20. 

35 f22. 

36 f 15. 



a second ; ^^ "I saw German soldiers strike him 
with the butts of their guns after he had come to 
the ground. He was lying just near the foot- 
path." — " I saw a number of dead bodies outside 
a cafe in the road," states a Belgian soldier ;"'''' 
"they were about 9 in number; one about seven- 
teen years of age had 1 1 bayonet wounds in his left 
breast; an old man had his throat cut, and his 
head was nearly cut off." — " I crossed the canal by 
means of barges when the Germans were forced 
to retreat," states a British journalist with the 
Belgian troops ; ^° " I went to the place where the 
dead bodies of the civilians were lying and saw 
them myself. There were about 8 or 9 altogether. 
Some had been shot from behind, others 
bayoneted. One man had been bayoneted in the 
chest. This was a butcher. . . . He was 
hatless and bootless, and appeared to have been 
brought straight from his house. The bayonet 
wounds had evidently been made with saw-edged 
bayonets, judging from the character of the 
wounds which I saw." 

After they had taken Alost, the Germans ad- 
vanced on Erpe*^ driving 25 inhabitants of Alost 
in front of them as a screen. At Erpe the Belgian 

38 f 18. 

39 f 24. 

■*i £26-7 ; vii p. 55. 



Army made a stand; a number of the men in the 
screen were killed; and the Germans set fire to 
houses in Erpe itself, and shot the male inmates 
as they ran out into the street. 

(ii) Across the Scheldt. 

Thus bv the beg-inning- of October the Germans 
had made ready for the assault on Antwerp, which 
they delivered during the first two weeks of that 
month. No exact figures are yet available of the 
enormous loss of property and destruction of life 
which accompanied the siege, whether through 
deliberate murder and incendiarism or as a result 
of the bombardment. But it is established *^ that, 
in the Arrondissement of Antwerp as a whole, 
without counting the city, 344 houses were wan- 
tonly burnt down, and there is evidence that 
women and children were murdered and used as 
screens at a number of places between the lines 
from which the German advanced and the zone of 
the Antwerp forts. ^^ 

Similar outrages were committed in the regions 
of Belgian and French Flanders across the 
Scheldt, which the Germans overran in the latter 
half of October, when the fall of Antwerp had 
opened the way. 

^- Ann. 2. 

'^■' Breendonck : k 14. Willebroeck : k 13 = 0-26. Duffel: k 12. 
Lierre : g 27. Place unspecified : k 7. 



Near Lokeren^^ the German troops drove 20 
civilians in front of them as a screen — there were 
women with babies in their arms among the num- 
ber. They used civilian screens again at Quai- 
recht^^ and Melle}^ At Melle a German broke 
into a room where a woman of eighty was lying ill 
in bed, and struck her on the chest with his rifle- 
butt; others surrounded a woman and stabbed a 
child in her arms. Near Hmiebeke^'' they shot a 
boy and a young man near a lonely farm-house, 
and burned the house to the ground. They used 
civilians as a screen at Nazareth *® and Thielt *^ 
and Rozders.^^ They massacred 28 civilians at 
StadenP- At Dadizeele^^ they burned houses 
and shot civilians as franc-tireurs. At Zonne- 
beke^^ during the fighting east of Ypres, British 
soldiers found a corpse lying in the pig-stye of a 
farm with 8 bayonet wounds in the stomach, and 
in a room upstairs the corpses of two little girls — 
about six and eight years old — both shot through 
the head. 

" R 31. 

*° XV p. 23. 

*'^ k 32-3 ; XV p. 22 ; d 4. 

■*' k 42. 

** g 29- 

°° g 35 ; k 27 ; Bland pp. 318-9 : German White Book, Ayp. 49, 
Nos. 4 and 5. 
*i R. pp. 136-7 ; German White Book, App. 49, No. i. 
^- Bryce p. 179. 



There were outrages of this kind throughout the 
Ypres district, for the Germans, when they encoun- 
tered military resistance, invariably took their re- 
venge on the civilian population. In one place 
the corpses were found of three boys and a girl, 
between seven and twelve years old^*; in another 
the corpses of a woman and a twelve-months-old 
baby — both their throats were cut, and the bed on 
which they were lying was soaked in blood. ^^ 

The bloodshed was varied by sexual bestiality. 
At Wytschaete, ^° for example, where there is no 
evidence of massacre, most of the women in the 
village were raped by Uhlan patrols. At Locre ^^ 
a woman was raped when she was on the point of 
giving birth to a child. At Bailleul^^ on the 
French side of the Franco- Belgian frontier, there 
is sworn evidence for the violation of at least 30 
women and girls during the eight days of the Ger- 
man occupation. 

"At least five officers were guilty of such 
offences," Professor Morgan states in his summary 
of the depositions, " and where the officers set the 
example the men followed. The circumstances 
were often of a peculiarly revolting character; 

55 k 22. 

56 k 26. 

" M. pp. 68, 71. 

^* M pp. 57-8, 67, 86-94 ; Bryce pp. 195-6. 



daughters were outraged in the presence of their 
mothers, and mothers in the presence or the hear- 
ing of their little children. In one case, the facts 
of which are proved by evidence which would 
satisfy any court of law, a young girl of nineteen 
was violated by one officer while the other held 
her mother by the throat and pointed a revolver, 
after which the two officers exchanged their re- 
spective roles. The officers and soldiers usually 
hunted in couples, either entering the houses under 
pretence of seeking billets or forcing the doors by 
open violence. Frequently the victims were 
beaten and kicked, and invariably threatened with 
a loaded revolver if they resisted. ... In several 
cases little children heard the cries and struggles 
of their mother in the adjoining room, to which 
she had been carried by a brutal exercise of force. 
No attempt was made to keep discipline, and the 
officers, when appealed to, simply shrugged their 

Many women were violated at Nieffe; '"'^ one 
woman there had her daughter violated by 13 Ger- 
mans, and her husband shot before her eyes. At 
Doulieu ^° the Germans shot 1 1 civilians after 
making them dig their own graves. At Armen- 
iieres ^^ they violated two women, one of whom they 

■^^ M. pp. 67, 70. 

^^ M. pp. 95-7. 

^^ Bryce p. 190; M. p. 7-^. 



mutilated and killed. They violated women at 
Laventie ®^ and Estaires ^^ — at Laventie one of 
their victims was found dead in her room with a 
bayonet-stab through her body. In a farm near 
Lorgies, ^* too, a woman was found dead — she had 
been shot through the stomach — and a girl out of 
her mind — she had been violated by a number of 
Germans in succession. But on the line of the 
Yser and Ypres and La Bassee the invasion of 
Flanders was brought to a stand. The last few 
miles of Belgian territory were never overrun, nor 
the French frontier crossed by German armies 
between Bailleul and the sea. 

"- Bryce p. 193 ; M. p. 74. 
<^3 M. p. 74. 
«* 16. 





Ke^ JVTa^p. 

^L ^ ^ 


mutilated and killed. They violated women at 
Laventie'' and Estaires''~^t Laventie one ot 
their victims was found dead in her room with a 
bayonet-stab through her body. In a farm near 
Lorgies, '' too, a woman was found dead— she had 
been shot through the stomach-and a girl out of 
her mind— she had been violated by a number ot 
Germans in succession. But on the line of the 
Yser and Ypres and La Bassee the mvasion of 
Flanders was brought to a stand. The last few 
miles of Belgian territory were never overrun, nor 
the French frontier crossed by German armies 
between Bailleul and the^sea. 

•'■^ Bryce p. i93 ; ^'I- P- 74- 
»^ M. p. 74- 
«* 16. 









English Miles 

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X.4X Hmisscye 




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