The “Bonnot Gang” was a group of scouts formed on August 6, 1914, by Corporal Henri Polain of the 14th Fortress and five comrades from the garrison of Fort Loncin. They had a requisitioned automobile driven by its owner, the French national Aimé.
Initially, they were charged with maintaining contact and liaison with the neighboring forts on the left bank (Pontisse, Liers, and Lantin on the one hand, Hollogne and Flémalle on the other). The small group then devoted itself to bold nighttime attacks on the German outposts. They even penetrated Liège and brought back to Loncin weapons, helmets, and horses taken from the enemy, as well as a prisoner! Standing in front of this booty, Dr. Bossy, the fort’s doctor, exclaimed, “but it’s the Bonnot Gang!” in allusion to the famous anarchist “bandits in a car” who had made headlines in France in 1912. The nickname stuck.
Fortunately, Polain’s men were on a mission outside the fort when it exploded on August 15. After many adventures, they managed to reach the Belgian lines.
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