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Frans Wittock: Fighting with the American army

Frans Wittock was an American Belgian who returned to Belgium in 1917 as a US soldier.

The war forced many Belgian Americans to re-examine their ties with their country of origin. Although the war was being fought on a different continent, it was also very close to home. Some men chose to answer the call of the Belgian army to fight for their country while others travelled to Belgium as US soldiers.

In 1910 Frans Wittock left his native village of Basel, joining his uncle and aunt in the United States. He found a job working on a farm where he was known as Frank. Four years later the war broke out. In 1917 Frank travelled to France and Belgium as a US soldier and ultimately decided to stay in Belgium because he fell in love. He never forgot his time in the US, however, and carried the American flag every Armistice Day (11 November). He died of a heart attack during one of these commemorative events. At his funeral his coffin was covered with an American flag. 


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