Area 19: Thomson’s funeral

  1. Photo-report by De Prins following the death of Thomson (Leiden University Library)
  2. Thomson’s grave in Durrës (IMG, The Hague)
  3. Photo-report by De Prins of Thomson’s state funeral (Leiden University Library)
  4. Thomson’s funeral in Groningen (IMG, The Hague)

The defenders were able to repel the attack, but the rebellion continued. It did not look good for the government of Zu Wied. Beyond Durrës and Vlorë, the government no longer controlled Albania. In addition, the coalition of Austro-Hungary and Italy, which had worked for an independent Albania from the beginning, was broken. This area shows how the vicissitudes of the conflict around the Dutch officers in Durrës were presented to the Dutch population and how much the people empathised with them. The background of the conflict and the increasing criticism of the effectiveness of the peace mission was not a matter for discussion, however. Two pages from De Prins der geïllustreerde bladen (The Prince of illustrated Weeklies) were selected from all the weekly magazines from 1914 that were dedicated to Thomson’s death (A) and funeral. On 16 June, the funeral cortège with bier drove through the city; Princess Zu Wied personally placed a wreath on his coffin. He was given a temporary grave in Durrës (B).

The coffin containing his remains was transported to the Netherlands on board the cruiser HMNLS Noord Brabant. There, Thomson’s final journey took on the trappings of a state funeral (C). By the time he was buried in Groningen on 15 July (D), Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie of the Austro-Hungarian Empire had already been murdered. With the help of a foreign legion, Wilhelm Zu Wied was able to hold on in Albania until September. In the south, however, Greek guerillas had taken the region and commenced ‘cleansing’ actions, while Serbian troops were again active in the north. Most of the personnel attached to the “Mission Néerlandaise en Albanie” had since returned to the Netherlands. The last two, Majors Verhulst and Reimers, who had been taken prisoner, were only released on 19 September. The First World War had meanwhile commenced in all its fury.