Mons Memorial Museum (Photo: Centenary News)

Mons remembers wartime occupation with new museum

Posted on centenarynews.com on 06 April 2015
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A former waterworks in Mons has been transformed into a new museum dedicated to remembering the wartime occupations of the Belgian city, and its historic role at the start and finish of Britain's First World War campaign.

For the people of Mons, the British retreat in the face of superior German numbers after the battle of August 23rd 1914 marked the beginning of an enemy presence that would continue until liberation by Canadian troops on the very last day of the war, November 11th 1918.

Their story, together with those who fought here, is told at the Mons Memorial Museum, an elegantly converted industrial building which once pumped the town's water supply. Together with four other showpiece architectural projects, it was opened on April 2nd to celebrate Mons as a 2015 European Capital of Culture.

The First World War is at the centre of a series of displays that also include the Second World War and earlier conflicts. 

Among the major objects is the gun (above) which fired the last shot in 1918, presented to Mons by the Canadians.

But the museum also aims to reflect the wider human cost of the conflict and the occupation which followed the British withdrawal in 1914.

Stories selected from 5,000 letters, notebooks and interviews,  some of them intensely personal, are told here. Many of the exhibits were donated by local people as well as descendants of veterans.

Centenary News has visited the Mons Memorial Museum. For the full story, click here.

Posted by Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News