LHS van Coppenolle Father Letter
12th Octobre 1921
I thank you for your kind favour of 6th July & we are delighted to experience that our son – the little stranger who during 1915 & 1916 enjoyed the favour of being a scholar at Dulwich College – is not forgotten & even that your College War List will publish his name & photo amongst the 485 brave Old Alleynians – who made the great sacrifice for their country – to keep their memories alive for posterity.
My son, Leo Van Coppenole born in Antwerp on the 1st January 1899, enlisted as a private in the Belgian Army after leaving Dulwich College in September 1916. He was at once sent to the drilling camps in France & after undergone basic training, he was sent to the front in February 1917 & incorporated in the 15th Regiment of Field Artillery, with which he served all the time. The Belgian Army had to occupy a comparative large part of the fighting line in proportion to her small units, which meant that her soldiers were nearly all the time in the fire line. The was the case for Leo & he took part in many big bombardments & for conspicuous bravery at Merken he was made brigadier or corporal gunner in November 1917 – he served his country in an humble function but with a great heart & much devotion & altho’ only a big boy he set a good example to the men of his company & enjoyed great sympathy among his officers & comrades & when men of good will were required for a bad job, he always stepped forward. In the last big attack on the famous “Houthulst Wood” he was killed at his gun in the early hours of the 28th September 1918 at Bixshoote. Thousands of brave Belgian soldiers fell in action on that fatal date but from then the Germans were driven back & overpowered.
To acknowledge his good services & devotion to duties the Belgian government had him made a “Knight in the Order of Leopold” & he was decorated with the “Croix de Guerre” & Medailles Commemoratives & de la Victoire.
I had his body undugged at the battle field in my presence & he is now inhumated & rests close to us in the family tomb at the Riel Cemetery at Antwerp.
I trust this will suffice & thanking you for the great curtesy, I remain, dear Sir
___ Van Coppenole
PS Herewith order-form for one copy, which shall be appreciated to its full value