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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Copyright © 2001-2005 Tessa Steer (Leyder) / Van Hecke Family - All Rights Reserved Worldwide