When the fire slackened about 7 o’clock, many of the townspeople fled in the direction of the quarries; others remained in their houses. At this moment the whole of the district around the station was on fire and houses were flaming over a distance of two kilometers in the direction of the hamlet of Tramaka. The little farms which rise one above the other on the high ground of the right bank were also burning.
At 6 o’clock on the following morning, the 21st, the Germans began to drag the inhabitants from their houses. Men, women, and children were driven into the square, where the sexes were separated. Three men were then shot, and a fourth was bayoneted. A German Colonel was present whose intention in the first place appeared to be to shoot all the men. A young German girl who had been staying in the neighborhood interceded with him, and after some parleying, some of the prisoners were picked out, taken to the banks of the Meuse and there shot. The Colonel accused the population of firing on the soldiers, but there is no reason to think that any of them had done so, and no inquiry appears to have been made.
About 400 people lost their lives in this massacre, some on the banks of the Meuse, where they were shot according to orders given, and some in the cellars of the houses where they had taken refuge. Eight men belonging to one family were murdered. Another man was placed close to a machine gun which was fired through him. His wife brought his body home on a wheelbarrow. The Germans broke into her house and ransacked it, and piled up all the eatables in a heap on the floor and relieved themselves upon it.
A hairdresser was murdered in his kitchen where he was sitting with a child on each knee. A paralytic was murdered in his garden. After this came the general sack of the town. Many of the inhabitants who escaped the massacre were kept as prisoners and compelled to clear the houses of corpses and bury them in trenches. These prisoners were subsequently used as a shelter and protection for a pontoon bridge which the Germans had built across the river, and were so used to prevent the Belgian forts from firing upon it.
A few days later the Germans celebrated a Fete Nocturne in the square. Hot wine, looted in the town, was drunk, and the women were compelled to give three cheers for the Kaiser and to sing “Deutschland ueber Alles.”
The fight around Namur was accompanied by sporadic outrages. Near Marchovelette wounded men were murdered in a farm by German soldiers. The farm was set on fire. A German cavalryman rode away holding in front of him one of the farmer’s daughters crying and disheveled.
At Temploux, on the 23d of August, a professor of modern languages at the College of Namur was shot at his front door by a German officer. Before he died he asked the officer the reason for this brutality, and the officer replied that he had lost his temper because some civilians had fired upon the Germans as they entered the village. This allegation was not proved. The Belgian Army was still operating in the district, and it may well be that it was from them that the shots in question proceeded. After the murder the house was burned.