Donations in the showcase
This fine selection from 2021 shows the great diversity in our donations: from the small to the large, from the personal to the precious, both unique and administrative. Donations are used as much as possible in the operation of the museum: in the permanent or temporary exhibitions, in educational activities and in the Research Centre as a subject of study and research. They all contribute to a better understanding of the history of the First World War. With thanks to our donors!
An overview of our donations can be found in our yearbook.
Enlisted embroidery of Oscar Dewulf from Gits. Oscar Dewulf was Filip Depoorter's grandfather. As a Belgian soldier he was a prisoner of war in Alten Grabow (Germany) during the war. He included a picture of himself and his brother Henri Dewulf in the souvenir piece.
This tin plate bears the inscription "1915, 1916, 1917, 1918 - 58th Canadians Bugles - Ypres, Somme, Vimy, Passchendaele". On the back side the initials and names of the soldiers Thomas Joseph Ashton, Harry Augustus Whitman, Percy Calvesbert and George Victor Kemp are engraved. All four of them survived the war and returned to Canada in 1919.
Marleen & Catherine Boudry
German leather pin helmet of a man of 24. Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment. Jules Boudry from Ypres, the grandfather of Marleen and Catherine, brought it from France. Jules was wounded during the First World War. Afterwards he became a deminer.
Katelijne & Marijke
Three hand-held viewers, one in cardboard, one in metal and one in wood, and about one hundred stereoglass slides. They belonged to Jean François Hendrickx, the great uncle of Katelijne and Marijke. Barely ordained as a priest, he became a stretcher bearer with the Belgian army in 1914 and in January 1917 chaplain of the 17th Regiment.
Alphonse Vanden Driessche was killed in 1915 in Ypres. His two daughters Gratia and Gilberte were taken to France. On their return in 1919, Queen Elisabeth gave them a Thonet chair with a porcelain doll. The two girls were taken in by their aunt Annie in Brussels. The sisters left behind a photograph, religious medals, a sewing machine and two oval plates.
The French soldier C. Polvèche painted the "Poste No.1" on 18 May 1915 at the Noordvaart, along the road from Nieuwpoort to Ramskapelle. A month before, his unit (6e R.I.T.) had been assigned to the Groupement de Nieuport. Polvèche himself served in the 11th, while Paul Hoffmann was commander of the 10th company. Somehow the painting must have ended up in his hands, or became the property of his family.
The photos and letters of the three soldier brothers Lamberigts were kept by their sister Greetje. During the war she smuggled the letters from Ophoven across the Dutch border. Their mother Marian also had an ornamental pin made in which the portraits of her sons are embedded. Mathieu and Leon survived the war, but the youngest brother Pieter ("Pitje") died on 1 July 1916 in Kaaskerke.
An inkpot and three pen holders with lid and underplate, an inkpot made of stone and an inkpot marked "Belgium 14-18".
This unique shell case shows a finely detailed image of the ruins of the Belle Godshuis in Lille Street, Ypres. It is one of the pieces James Brazier lent for 'Phoenix. Reconstruction after the First World War' (2019) and which he permanently donated to the museum after that exhibition.
The shell case with the Chinese inscription "prosperity" is a unique piece from the trench art collection of the Westouter family Barbry. Eddy's grandfather Julien survived the war; his great uncle Florent was killed on 28 September 1918 near Westrozebeke.
Amulet and wooden suitcase of Joseph Vanseveren, Cathérine's great uncle. Joseph lived in Roubaix, where his parents ran a café-grocery shop. He died on 31 December 1914 near Veldhoek (Geluveld) as a soldier of the 66e Régiment d'Infanterie. His body could never be found.
After a visit to the museum Bert Biesmans decided to donate the tomb of his grandfather Jan. Jan Biesmans lost his left arm during a shelling. He was taken from the front near Nieuwpoort and shipped to a London hospital. There he fell in love with his nurse Ellen Keneally, whom he married and went to live in Bilzen after the war.
Andreas Püschel found two beautifully embroidered coasters and a table runner with the inscription "Gott Mitt Uns - West Flandern - 1914-1916" in his grandmother's flat. Perhaps these souvenirs were brought or sent by Otto Radke, Andreas's great-grandfather. Otto served in the navy during the First World War and would have died in a revolt in 1918.
Ludo De Smedt
Floris Depoortere from Lauwe was employed as forced labourer near Laon (F). He died there on 3 March 1917. The individualised commemorative plaque "to our deeply lamented son and brother" points the way to Rollegem-Kapelle and shows the former Plaatsemolen. The name on the grave in the foreground and the church (or basilica) in the background could not be identified so far.