2025 Serg Hubert Frans Willems, 17e Linieregiment.
Another of the ‘Ijzersymbolen', Bert was born at Wambeek, Vlaams-Brabant, on 31 January 1894. Educated at a small seminary at Mechelen, he moved on to study at the Catholic University at Leuven before the war put a halt to his studies. Voluntarily enlisting into the army on 1 October 1914, he initially served in the 7th Linieregiment before transferring to the newly formed 17th in December 1916. Bert served on the Yser front in various locations between Ramskapelle and Dixmude, and he was was promoted to sergeant in the Machine Gun company and, in the ‘Eindoffensief' of 28 September 1918, he found himself on the right wing of the Belgian army (where it interconnected with the British Army). After being thrown into action in the afternoon of 28 September, Bert was killed in action during the successful capture of Moorslede the following day. Originally buried on the battlefield, he was later (in 1919) moved to his family plot in a churchyard at Wambeek. In 1932, Bert's remains were reinterred in the crypt of the Ijzertoren at Dixmude.
29 September 1918
Research by David O'Mara, Croonaert Research Services.