Schoonselhof Cemetery 14-18 project
Historical Information (Source: CWGC)
Antwerp was the seat of the Belgian Government from 17 August to 7 October 1914. Towards the end of August, the city was one of the strong positions on the Allied left flank, and by the middle of September, a position of critical importance. It was defended by fortress troops and the greater part of the Belgian Field Army and the Royal Naval Air Service used its aerodrome. On 27 September the Germans laid siege to Antwerp and during the first week of October the Royal Naval Division entered the city, playing a crucial part in its defence. On 9 October, before other British and French reinforcements could arrive, the last forts became untenable and the last defenders retired. From 10 October 1914 to the Armistice, the city was in German hands.
German forces returned to Belgium in May 1940, and occupied Antwerp until its liberation by the Allies on 4 September 1944. The town and port were secured, but it was some weeks further before the approaches from the North Sea could be cleared of German resistance.
To start the centenary an outdoor display was set giving information about the 14-18 years in the cemetery.