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THE LAST STAND OF LIEGE

COMMANDER’S CAPTURE, FELL WITH HIS FORT. The special correspondent of the ‘ Daily Telegraph’ at Rotterdam writes: This is tlie story of the fall of Liege, in simple, graphic language. A German officer, in a newspaper interview. says : " General Leman’s defence of Liege combined all that is noble, all that is tragic. The commander of one fort, at the moment when the bombardment was heaviest, went mad. and shot his own men. He was disarmed and hound. The cupola of another fort was destroyed by a bomb from a Zeppelin. Other forts were swept away like sand castles on the seashore before the relentless waves of the oncoming tide. As long as possible General Leman inspected the forts daily to see everything was in order. By a piece of failing masonry, dislodged by our gnus, both General Leman’s legs were crushed. Undaunted, ho visited the forts in an automobile. Fort Chaudfontein was destroyed by a German shell dropping in the magazine. In the strong Fort Loncin General Leman decided to hold his ground or die. When the end was inevitable the Belgians disabled the last three guns and exploded the supply of shells kept by the guns in readiness.* Before this General Leman destroyed all plans, maps, and papers relating to the defences. The food supply was also destroyed. With about 100 men General Leman attempted to retire to another fort, but we had cut off their retreat. By this time our heaviest guns were in position, and a well-placed shell tore through the cracked and battered masonry and exploded in the main magazine. With a thunderous crash the mighty walls of the fort fell. Pieces of stone and concrete 25 cubic metres in size were hurled into the air. When the dust and fumes passed away we stormed the fort across ground literally strewn with the bodies of the ttoops who had gone out to storm the fort and never returned. All the men in the fort were wounded, and most were unconscious. A corporal with one arm shattered valiantly tried to drive us back by firing his rifle'. Buried in the debris and pinned beneath a massive beam was General Leman.

“ ‘ Respectez le general; il e.st mort,’ said an aide-de-camp.

“With gentleness and care, which showed they respected the man who had resisted them so valiantly and stubbornly, our infantry released the general’s wounded form and carried him away. Wo thought him dead, but he recovered consciousness, and, looking round, said: ‘ltisas it is The men fought valiantly,’ and then, turning to us, added ; ‘ Put in your despatches that I was unconscious.’ We brought him to our commander, General Von Emmich, and the two generals saluted. We tried to speak words of comfort, but he was silent—he is known as the silent general. ‘ I was unconscious. Be sure and put that in your despatches. More he would not say. Extending his hand, our commander said : ‘ General, yon I’.ive gallantly and nobly hold your forts.’ General Leman replied: ‘I thank you. Our troops have lived up to their reputations.’- With a smile he added : ‘War ia not like manoeuvres ’ —a reference to the fact that General Yon Emmich was recently with General Leman during the Belgian manoeuvres. Then, unbuckling his sword, General Leman tendered it to General Von Emmich. ‘No,’ replied the German commander, with a bow ; ‘ keep your sword. To have crossed swords with you has been an honor,’ and the fire in General Leman’s eye was dimmed by a tear.”

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141021.2.10

Bibliographic details

THE LAST STAND OF LIEGE, Evening Star, Issue 15629, 21 October 1914

Word Count
587

THE LAST STAND OF LIEGE Evening Star, Issue 15629, 21 October 1914

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