The French and German military cemetry of Bellevue
In August 1914, bloody battles between the French and German armies took place in the area of Virton. Thousands of dead soldiers were temporarily burried in common graves.
Identifying the bodies was not always easy and the hand-written lists were made by civilian gravediggers.
At the time, it has not be possible to consult these lists, neither at the registry office of Virton, nor in the registers of Vieux-Virton, nor at the head office of the schools of Virton.
The German authorities seeked the town for designating and creating a cemetery in order to burry the bodies of the soldiers who died on August 22 1914. The town Council proposed the place called LA CHAMBERLAINE, at the exit of Virton towards Etalle, and nearby a big common grave called the Frenc soldiers' grave.
In February 1916, the German administration asked the town to create several military cemeteries. The town of VIRTON borrowed ten thousand Belgian Francs for buildinf four necropolis, which were BELLEVUE, CIMETIERE du 154e ALLEMAND, LA CHAMBERLAINE and LA HOUBLONNIERE. LA HOUBLONNIERE is located on the right of the road that leads to the Arboretum in Croix-Rouge, nearby the ancient way called "route des Mallepierres". We never found any trace of a military cemetery at that place! Instead, the cemeteries of BELLEVUE, du 154e allemand, and of LA CHAMBERLAINE existed.
According to the estimates that were done at that period, the costs of the works was 22,999 BEF, and 4,901 BEF for buying the grounds. A grant of 17,000 BEF got given by the Germans. No payment will be asked by the town for burrying the bodies in these cemeteries.
Two builders and a supervisor were named on October 31 1916. What is left of these cemeteries?
We must say that after 1920, a great number of French families took back the bodies of their children to bring them back in their native villages. The cemeteries of La Chamberlaine and du 154e allemand have been closed down. The bodies of the soldiers were brought back to Bellevue.
This necropolis has still 300 graves of French soldiers and 330 graves of German soldiers. (Each German grave holds 4 bodies). The French ossuary keeps 2139 UNKNOWN FRENCH SOLDIERS and the German one, 306.