General Victor Deguise (1855-1922) was responsible for the defense of Antwerp until its seizure by the German Army in October 1914.
Deguise entered the Army of Belgium in 1877 as a Lieutenant of Engineers. By 1888 he was appointed Professor of Fortification at the Belgian Army’s military academy.
Deguise’s career was not wholly spent however in an academic environment. From 1909-11 Deguise served as Commandant of Engineers at Brussels and then – applying his particular area of specialisation – as Director Fortifications for the 3rd Military District.
The onset of war in Europe in August 1914 found Deguise as Military Governor of Antwerp. He was thus charged with its defence following the German invasion of neutral Belgium from 3 August 1914 (which brought Britain into the war in her defence).
Despite Deguise’s best efforts to defend Antwerp, it eventually fell to the Germans on October 9, 1914 (formally surrendered the following day). He was able to escape to similarly neutral Holland (along with many of his troops) where he remained interned until the end of the war.
Victor Deguise died in 1922.