Image: Vincent Buyssens via VRT

The dateline is Belgium, September 26, 1914. The First World War is underway and the German Army has invaded the country. Belgian soldiers are still fighting back and one, Optatius Buyssens, is out on patrol. A shot rings out from a German rifle. Things don’t look good for the volunteer Belgian soldier.

But how had it come to this in Belgium? Why was a hostile German shooting at a Belgian in his own country? The answer, of course, lies in the fact that the First World War had broken out weeks before. And tiny Belgium, which was supposed to be an entirely neutral country, found itself in the firing line.

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