Career[edit | edit source]
Deguise entered the Belgian Army in 1874 as a lieutenant in the engineering corps. By 1888 he was appointed as professor of fortifications at the Military Academy of the Belgian Army.
Between 1909 and 1911 he was the commander of the engineering units in Brussels. 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 4 August 1914, he was ordered by king Albert I of Belgium, 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) made his position untenable, and he was forced to surrender the city on 10 October 1914. He was captured by the Germans and imprisoned in a prisoner-of-war camp until the end of the war in 1918.
References[edit | edit source]
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