Wounded Belgian Heroes Tonbridge 1914
Following the Siege of Antwerp, many Belgians fled for their lives coming to the UK. On 16th October 1914, a ‘special’ Ambulance train arrived at Tonbridge Station in the early hours of the morning carrying several wounded Belgian soldiers & one French soldier. Tonbridge was only one of 200 stops in the country for this special service. A large number of volunteers met the arrival of this train with cars, stretchers and an ambulance and transported the men as comfortably as they were able to Tonbridge School sanatorium, located in Rowan Mews Dernier Road.
This had been generously been offered for use until the Red Cross hospital at Quarry Hill House had been furnished.
Mr Lowry Headmaster of Tonbridge School & also Chairman of the Tonbridge War Refugee committee had stepped up to the mark accommodate the wounded heroes.
On arrival the men were treated to a beef tea prepared by the ladies of the detachment a report stated in several articles of the Tonbridge Free Press October 1914.
After a week the Red Cross hospital VAD 44 was ready to accommodate the wounded, all but one was transferred.
On 20th November 1914 he sadly died age 24. There was a very impressive Military funeral in his honour with three volleys being fired over the grave by Tonbridge Officer Cadets with the last post being played by Cadet Newberry. The coffin was covered with the Belgian flag and the service officiated by Rev Walsh from Corpus Christi Church.
Gravestone located in Tonbridge Cemetery just passed the chapel.
Every effort has been made to trace this soldier’s family to no avail.
Sadly there is no family to tend his grave, yet every year during Remembrance a poppy is placed upon his grave, along with all the other heroes that lost their lives in WW1.
Home Front Legacy 1914-18
The Home Front Legacy team would like to thank Pam Mills for providing this Case Study. You can find out more about Home Front life in Tonbridge on our Map of Sites. If you have any further information about the wounded Belgian soldier Louis Marx we would like to hear from you.
Belgian archives -Brussels
L’Independence Belge newspaper – 20th November 1914
Courier newspaper – 27th November 1914
Tonbridgian – Tonbridge School magazine – December 1914
Tonbridge Free Press – October and November 1914