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Desmedt, Frederik Joseph

Date of birth:
January 17th, 1920 (Lissewege, Belgium)
Date of death:
2007
Nationality:
Belgian (1830-present, Constitutional Monarchy)

Biography

Frederik joined the military on 3 January 1939 and was enlisted in the 3e Linieregiment in the coastal city of Ostend.

When German forces invaded the Benelux on 10 May 1940 the 18 Days' Campaign began and Frederiks role during these 18 days is not known. What is known is that when Belgium surrendered on 28 May 1940, Frederik was taken POW.

On 1 June 1940 he was taken to stalag IA in Köningsberg, Prussia where he remained before being released and send back to Belgium on 21 January 1941.

Not long after his release he met a girl from the West-flemish city of Torhout which was severely damaged in the Battle of Belgium. From March until September 1941 he went almost everyday to Torhout from Lissewege by bicycle. When he accidentaly got his girlfriend pregnant, he was forced to marry her. Evendo his fiancée Denise Staelens' parents were not happy with the marriage and pregnancy. They married on 3 October 1941 and their child was born on 15 May 1942.

However Frederik started to smuggle butter and guns and was nearly caught a number of times by the gestapo. Including a wave of arrest made by the gestapo of weapon smuglers in Torhout in August 1942 in which Frederiks house was also searched but luckily they didn't find a revolver which he had hidden in the house. He luckily went free but the persons that were arrested were send to camps where some of them died. After that he had another child in 1944 and the second World War finally ended for Frederik with the liberation of Torhout by Canadian troops on 6 and 7 September 1944.

His wife Denise ultimately past away in 1985 with him following in 2007 at the age of 87.

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Soldaat
Unit:
1e Troep, 10e Compagnie, 3de Linieregiment
Awarded on:
January 27th, 1953
Awarded with 2 crossed blades.
Médaille commémorative de la Guerre 1940-1945
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Soldaat
Unit:
1e Troep, 10e Compagnie, 3de Linieregiment
Awarded on:
January 27th, 1953
Awarded with 1 Baret.

Inprisoned in Stalag I A (Königsberg/now Kaliningrad) prisoner number 19.509 from 1 June 1940 until 21 January 1941 after having been captured by German forces after the surrender of Belgium on 28 May 1940.
Médaille du Prisonnier de Guerre 1940-1945

Sources

  • - Military Documents received from Brussels archives
    - Family

Photo