Franco-German necropolis in Maissin
Views of the Maissin necropolis. Source: DR
This necropolis, located in the province of Luxembourg, covers 5,040 m².
The Maissin necropolis is located in the province of Luxembourg, Belgium, 45 km north-east of Sedan, in the present Paliseul community of communes.
It covers 5,040 m². A Breton Calvary dating from the 16th century, a commemorative stele honouring the dead of the 2nd Army Corps, and a marker dedicated to Pierre Massé make up its furnishings. This memorial site is the last resting place of 4,782 fighters who died in August of 1914. This military cemetery holds the bodies of 282 Frenchmen and 513 Germans, in individual tombs. 3,001 other French soldiers occupy two ossuaries; 643 Frenchmen and 343 Germans occupy a mixed ossuary.
Origins of the cemetery
After the French 2nd Army Corps’ retreat on 24 August 1914, the German Imperial Army buried hundreds of bodies left on the battlefield. It took some ten days to bury all the French and German bodies. More than 500 Belgian civilians were requisitioned from the neighbouring villages to help remove the bodies and to bury them. On the Route de Transinne, at “Courtil”, mass graves were dug for 30 men. More than 2,000 bodies were buried at this site and at “Baulet”, near the Route de Lesse. During the war, the German occupation authorities (the Imperial General Government of Belgium headed by General von Bissing) set up all these cemeteries for the fallen fighters of August 1914.
The inaugural ceremonies took place with senior military dignitaries in attendance. Maissin holds French and German bodies in three large necropolises: cemetery No. l on the Route de Transinne, and cemeteries No. 2 and No. 3 on the Route de Lesse, where the bodies of the soldiers from the surrounding mass graves were reburied in individual tombs. The 16th century Breton Calvary was brought from the town of Trëhou, in the Finistère department, and was placed in cemetery No. 2 to commemorate the sacrifice of the Breton soldiers of the 2nd Corps. It was inaugurated in August 1932 on the 18th anniversary of the battle.
When rehabilitation work was undertaken on this cemetery, remains were exhumed from the abandoned smaller necropolises nearby: 382 German soldiers and 46 French soldiers from the cemeteries of Maissin, Ochamps and Orgéo were reburied here.
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