Thimister-Clermont - Antoine Fonck
Antoine FONCK, the first Belgian casualty of the First World War.
On Tuesday 4 August 1914 the village of Thimister was catapulted into a great battle that lasted 4 long years. Its first victim was a valiant cavalryman, Antoine Fonck was injured and was killed while advancing towards the enemy in defence of his country. He died faithful to his regiment's moto "Mort premier comme devant" (First to die, always in front) at a place called La Croix-Polinard. He is buried at the Communal Cemetery in Thimister.
A few days previously, King Albert 1st had rejected the German ultimatum and the Kaiser's army then violated Belgian neutrality. The main goal was to take the fortified town of Liège. From that moment on, the most direct way to achieve his goal was via the Aachen-Liège road. In front, the 2nd lancer squadron travelled on the road that traverses Herve to encounter the German invasion. Cavalryman, Antoine Fonck marched ahead as a scout and found himself in front of an enemy group. Shots were fired and Fonck was found later lying close to his dead horse.
For the first time, a Belgian soldier made history and became a national hero. Unfortunately, he was joined by a long list of brave men who would also forever be honoured with: "Died for his country". Ever since that event on 4 August, the commune of Thimister-Clermont has considered Antoine Fonck as one of its sons. A monument was erected to his memory on the Charlemagne road on 23 August 1923.