Tessa's World War II History Website

Belgian Flag
The colours of the Belgian flag were adopted from provincial arms during a rebellion in 1789

The Commemorative Plaque

The Unveiling Ceremony

The photographs, shown below, were taken on 20th January 1947. The first picture shows the procession of mourners coming out of the Church of St Willibrord in Eisden after the special service held in memory of Marthe Janssen-Leyder, a member of the Belgian Secret Army during World War II.

The Congregation Starts its March to No. 44 Dorpstraat
Photograph of the Mourners coming out of the Church of St Willibrord, Eisden

The Clergy, lead by a group of drummers and buglers, followed by the family and a delegation of the civil and military organisations of the Resistance, carrying innumerable flowers, formed an impeccable procession which started to walk to the sound of a military march played by the local brass band. At every house flags were lowered.

Click on the notes to listen to a
March by John Philip Sousa [2:20 mins]
This will open your Windows Media Player

Hundreds of school children formed a guard of honour all along the route from the Church of St. Willibrord right up to the house where Marthe Janssen-Leyder had lived and where her husband, René Janssen, still lived.

This second photograph shows the mourners grouped outside Number 44, Dorpstraat, listening to verbal tributes to Marthe.

The Unveiling Ceremony and the Blessing of the Plaque
Photograph of the Unveiling Ceremony and the Blessing of the Commemorative Plaque

Marthe's son-in-law, Hubert, expresses the gratitude of the family. Then very slowly the Belgian Flag draped across and concealing the stone is drawn aside. The bugles sound, the drums roll, and the Priest comes forward to bless the plaque commemorating Marthe's bravery. The representatives of all the various groups come forward with their flowers; then a group of children start to sing "Auld Lang Syne", the wonderful medieval Scottish song. And so it ended.

Click on the notes to listen to
Auld Lang Syne [piano midi - 2:26 mins]
This will open your Windows Media Player

After the speeches and the Ceremony were over, the large crowd slowly dispersed leaving two members of Marthe's local Belgian Resistance Group mounting guard on either side of the Plaque.

Members of the Resistance Stand Guard
After the ceremony, the Resistance mount guard

The gentleman standing by the doorway also appears in the Group Photograph on my Tribute Page 2. [If you followed the link from this page, click here to return.]

The inscription on the Plaque is in Flemish and the emblems are of particular interest. For more details, see next page.

To Top of this Page
Copyright © 2001-2005 Tessa Steer (Leyder) / Van Hecke Family - All Rights Reserved Worldwide
Page content last modified 30 September 2003
Page redesigned 23 July 2004

Valid HTML 4.01! Valid CSS!