Yesterday’s sad news about a good and much-liked Belgian lawyer colleague, Daniel Jacob, was paralleled this morning by sad news about a good and much-loved lawyer uncle-in-law, Pierre Van Gehuchten, who passed away today at the ripe old age of 89. A quietly devout and modest man, he adored his family and music and had an impish sense of humour and an infectious laugh. His presence at any gathering, no matter what the age of the participants, guaranteed a good time and a fair share of belly laughs. Pierre came from a distinguished family of academic achievers, particularly in medecine. As a passionate young democrat he became a resistance fighter and then a soldier. I shall never forget his – characteristically modest and self-deprecating – account of the liberation of Wavre in September 1944. The occupying forces had at last decided to leave quietly, their tails between their legs but their heads held high. A young Belgian hothead could not resist giving them the metaphorical equivalent of a kick up the backside. The Germans turned back in cold anger and Pierre lost many of his friends in the ensuing firefight. ‘It was a mess,’ he would say, giggling dismissively. But if you pushed, he would tell you how one of his best friends died alongside him, spouting blood and guts on the bank of a stream. Ever after he told me that episode I imagined I could see sadness in his smile. He undoubtedly loved mankind but knew also of what man was capable.