Yesterday, 65 years ago, on the 1st of June 1952, our club La Gantoise lived one the saddest day in its history. That day, 34 supporters and their busdriver lost their lives in Gravelines (North of France). They were members of the supporters club “De Kleine Dokvrienden”(Stapelplein in Ghent).
On that ill-fated day they had organized a day trip to Cassel, Cap Gris Nez and Calais in the North of France. It was meant to be a compensation for a formerly abandoned matchday trip and it was offered by the buscompany “Flying Car”.
On the return journey the bus missed a corner just before it had to drive over a bridge and ran down into the water. The balance: 35 people had drowned after a terrible death struggle and only 15 passengers miraculously survived.
It was a shock for the city and the club. The funeral took place on the 7th of June. More than 60 000 fellow citizens and several delegations from football clubs and other cities came to pay their last respects and attended the funeral. The victims were buried on the Westerbegraafplaats after an impressive funeral march. Today we remember the victims of this terrible disaster and we think about the sorrow for the city and the club.
KAA Gent will never forget the Kleine Dokvrienden. The names of the victims were the first ones to be placed on our Remembrance Wall in the Ghelamco Arena and they will be eternally remembered.
May they rest in peace.