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The oldest Belgian war veteran became an American

After the war many Belgians left for the United States. In 1920 there were about 7200 of them, a migration record for the Belgians.

This migration wave was curtailed in 1921, however, as a result of the new migration quotas that came into force in the United States. Cyriel Barbarie was one of the first migrants to leave in the years after World War I. In 1917, at the age of eighteen, he was conscripted to go and fight at the front. He survived the war and married a girl from his native village, Klerken in West Flanders. But the newlyweds dreamed of life in the United States, and so they left by boat in 1923.

In 2003 Cyriel Barbarie was the oldest Belgian war veteran from World War I and one of the few who was still alive. He was 104 years old when he was interviewed for a news programme by VTM Nieuws, a Flemish commercial broadcaster. He died one year later. 

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