Victor Deguise
Liutenant-General Victor Deguise (1855–1922) was a Belgian
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 general responsible for the defence of Antwerp during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...



Deguise entered the Belgian Army in 1877 as a lieutenant in the engineering corps. By 1888 he was appointed as professor of fortifications at the Military Academy of the Belgian Army
Royal Military Academy (Belgium)
The Royal Military Academy is the military university of Belgium. The school is responsible for the education of the officers of the four components of the Belgian defence . The school is located in Brussels in a building construct by the architects Henri Maquet and Henri Van Dievoet...


Between 1909 and 1911 he was the commander of the engineering units in Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

. Between 1911 and 1914 he was a director of the 3rd military district in Belgium, responsible for fortifications.

At the outbreak of World War I he was the military governor of the important port city of Antwerp (at that time the third largest port of the world). After the German attack on Belgium on 3 August 1914, he was ordered by Albert I of Belgium
Albert I of Belgium
Albert I reigned as King of the Belgians from 1909 until 1934.-Early life:Born Albert Léopold Clément Marie Meinrad in Brussels, he was the fifth child and second son of Prince Philippe, Count of Flanders, and his wife, Princess Marie of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen...

, the commander-in-chief of the army, that he must hold Antwerp by all means.

Deguise managed to withstand determined German attacks until the beginning of October, thus enabling the escape of significant Belgian and British military personnel towards Nieuwport. However the arrival of heavy German siege guns (such as the Big Bertha
Big Bertha (Howitzer)
Big Bertha Bertha") is the name of a type of super-heavy howitzer developed by the famous armaments manufacturer Krupp in Germany on the eve of World War I...

) made his position untenable, and he was forced to surrender the city on 10 October 1914. With some of his remaining troops, he managed to cross the river Schelde and escape to neutral Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, where he was interred until the end of the war.
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