18.4.16

The Death of Dieudonné Lambrecht


Belgian patriot Dieudonné Lambrecht had been on his way to join the Belgian army by way of the Netherlands when he was recruited by the British army's secret service Cameron Folkstone, led by Major Cameron. He went back to Liège, where he set up a train watching service along the strategically important railway between Aachen, Liège and Namur that took fresh German troops to the Western Front. The 32-year-old businessman was a devout Catholic and his first partners in resistance were two Jesuit priests with whom he started to recruit railway workers, expanding his group to thirty members. Day and night, they would keep an eye on German troop trains steaming between the Eastern and the Western Front. The reports they produced were smuggled by Lambrecht across the Belgian-Dutch border concealed in the buttons of his clothes.

When the Death Wire was erected, one of the first victims would be the premier spy of the British intelligence services in Belgium. The fence had cut off Lambrecht and many other Belgian resistance groups from their handlers in the Netherlands. The Cameron service tried frantically to re-establish contact with him from the Netherlands by sending him a letter via a courier. The letter was somehow intercepted by German counter-espionage, who sent in one of their agents to deliver it and thus gained Lambrecht’s confidence. Before arresting him, they shadowed him and others to identify as many group members as possible.
 
The reports on the German troop movements prior to the Battle of Verdun would be the last feat of the group. Lambrecht was arrested and on 18 April 1916 he was executed. During the war, the Germans would execute a total of 277 people in occupied Belgium and north-eastern France, of which 196 were Belgians, seventy-seven French, four British and three Dutch.