IN MEMORy by Pierre Vandervelden

The visit of Commonwealth graves in Communals Cemeteries & Churchyards in Belgium & France

To my knowledge, my family did not lose any member during the two wars.

My father, Pierre was too young to take part in WW II.
His three brothers, Jean, Arthur and Emile Vandervelden served with the Belgian army and all were taken prisoners in 05/1940.
They all came back alive from PoW camps in Germany.
L. to R.: Pierre - Arthur - Emile - Jean Vandervelden (c. 1945)
Jean, Arthur & Emile Vandervelden


My mother's father, Elie Goffin enlisted in the French Foreign Legion under the alias of Max on 22/02/1936 (He took back his real name
in 1945) and finished his career in 02/1952 as Adjudant Chef (Chief Warrant). He served in the 1st Foreign Cavalry Regiment.
He won two citations, 16/06/1945 (Order of Regiment) and 23/09/1951 (Order of Brigade).
Approached about being appointed officer, but he refused because he did not want to loose his Belgian nationality and become a French citizen
to be officer.
Elie Goffin "Max" between his two citations
Left: 16/06/1945 (Order of Regiment):
Goffin Elie, Marechal des Logis Chef (Serjeant Major):
"Radio Under Officer who made prove during Alsace and German campains, of a professional consciousness and an exceptional stamina.
Standind alone, on the 4th and 5th February, day and night on the fired line, assumed a commanding post of command of a group.
On the 8th April, in Gross Glattbach, assigned to a severely engaged unit, staying impassive under a violent shelling, exposing his vehicle with recklessness to ensure the best technical conditions of transmissions."
War Cross with Bronze Star
Right: 23/09/1951 (Order of Brigade):
Goffin Elie, Adjudant Chef (Chief Warrant):
"Under Officer assumed fonction of transmissions officer of the corps. Took part in continuous patrols on open roads. Took part in numerous operations in the Tourane sector (Centre Vietnam), in Dong-Binh 02/02/1950 and An-Luong 06/08/1950.
Outstanding conduct during mopping-up operations of Chu-Buoi highest (Centre Vietnam), 13/05/1951, assuming with remarkable mastery and calm, connections between the regimental command post and secondary posts.
Has contributed to these successes which cost deprived the rebels of 1 machine gun, 2 pistols and 20 rifles to the rebels."
War T.O.E. Cross with Bronze Star


My wife, Laurence's grandfather, Charles Leconte was killed in action 18/05/1940, in Chievres, Belgium.
He was 29 and left a wife and a daughter aged 3.
He was Brigadier (Corporal) in the 9th Squadron of the 11th Regiment de Dragons Portes, a French cavalry regiment.
Laurence laying a poppy tribute on her grandfather's grave.
Charles Leconte lies under the French - Belgian monument in the communal cemetery of Peruwelz (Bel), with a Belgian soldier, Jules Lambour.

                                                                      ****************************** © Pierre Vandervelden - Belgium