." Here is a more detailed account of a massacre near Blamont: "All. the villagers fled: it was terrible; their beards thick with blood, and what faces! They were dreadful to look at. The dead were all buried, numbering sixty. Among them were many old men and women, and one unfortunate woman half confined the whole being frightful to look at. Three children were clasped in each other's arms, and had died thus.

The above is a part of newspaper, dated November 14, 1917,
The Coffeyville Daily Journal from Coffeyville, Kansas, describing German atrocities in WW1 in Blamont (Belgium, I think).

I simply can't figure out the expression 'half confined' in the above paragraph. Was it a typo or it has some other meaning beyond my guess?

Thanks in advance.

2 Answers 2


Confinement has an additional meaning in relation to women: from Cambridge Online Dictionary

old-fashioned or formal labour noun (= the process of giving birth to a baby)

From which I would interpret that the woman was part way through giving birth when killed.

  • I think you are right. Jul 7, 2017 at 8:00

Confined means restricted in space, so my guess would be that the woman's funeral service had a half closed casket, as the paper describes her whole body being frightful to look at. Her lower body was likely mutilated in some way, so the lower half of the casket was closed so as not to distress funeral attendees.

Another possibility is that she was half buried under rubble or something and that's how she was killed (half of her body crushed) as the following sentences describes three children killed while holding each other.

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