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Emile Clement Joseph Isaac was born at Mechelen, Belgium, on 7th August, 1895, an only son to Ferdinandus Jozef Isaac and Joanna Elizabeth Keyaerts.

Following schooling he trained as a a tapestry maker and on the outbreak of the first World War he enlisted on 1st August, 1914, firstly as a volunteer with the Red Cross as a stretcher-bearer, then on 1st October of that year with the Belgian Artillery stationed in the fortress of Antwerp. He was transferred to France and was injured towards the end of the war after being caught in the blast of an exploding shell. He was appointed adjutant of the 7th Line Regiment, and subsequently left the army on 2nd December, 1923.

He married on 21st November, 1921, to Josefina Vandenberg and with his father-in-law and brother-in-law they founded the company of Vandenberg & Isaac, Furniture Manufacturers. based in Mechelen. It is interesting to note that he adopted his wife's family's surname of Vandenberg due, according to his family, to that of Isaac being too commonly accepted as being Jewish.

On 11th April, 1943, the day after very heavy bombardments on Martsel, he died when the car he was driving left the road and plunged into a small river called "Veste van Berchem," near Antwerp, but, not being able to swim, he drowned. He was buried at Mechelen.

Some considerable confusion has surrounded the life of Emile Isaac Vandenberg especially that concerning his associations with the Order of the Temple. He was one of the eight founding members of the Sovereign and Military Order of the Temple in 1932, and succeeded Theodore Covias as Regent on 8th August, 1935. On 1st October following, he was elected 49th Grand Master of the Order although he occupied this post for only a relatively short time when on 23 December, 1942, he issued a Decree transferring the office and the custody of the archive to Antonio de Sousa Fontes, Grand Prior of Portugal.

Over the past few decades it has been asserted by various parties that immediately following the end of the war, in 1945, Emile Isaac Vandenberg requested the renunciation of his earlier Decree and the return of the archives from Antonio de Sousa Fontes and it is said by these same parties, that Fontes chose to disregard this. This is not the case as Emile Isaac Vandenberg died over two years previous to the end of the war, therefore, leaving the Decree of transferal with all prerogatives in place.

Above. An application for Military Pay by Emile Isaac.
Currently in the possession of his descendants.

Above. The "Templar" CV of Emile Isaac Vandenberg giving his
dates of birth and death, as well as a list of the other
Orders he was a member of.

Above. The Collaret, Neck Cross and Trophy of
Emile Isaac Vandenberg.
Currently in the possession of his descendants.


Information and images extracted and reproduced from ;

"A study of Emile Clement Joseph Isaac, Prince - Regent, 49 Grand Master,"

by Chev. Rene L'hoest.

 Antonio Campello Pinto de Sousa Fontes, born at Gaia, Portugal, on 13th August, 1887, was son of Augusto Cesar Perreira de Sousa Fontes, and Maria Carolina Ribeiro dos Santos.

On 23rd December, 1943, Emile Isaac Vandenberg, Grand Master of the Order, exectuted a Magisterial Decree by which he transferred the archive and the Regency of the Order with the preogatives of Grand Master, to Antonio de Sousa Fontes on account of Belgium being occupied by the German forces during WWII.

Antonio de Sousa Fontes died on 15th of February, 1960, and was succeeded in office by his son Fernando de Sousa Fontes.

Above -The arms of Antonio Campbell de Sousa Fontes



Fernando Campello Pinto Pereirra de Sousa Fontes.

Fernando de Sousa Fontes was appointed Chancellor of the Order in 1946 and in 1947, as Chancellor and heir-nominated was principle in formulating and executing the plans to expand the Order internationally.

On the death of the Regent/Grand Master Antonio de Sousa Fontes on 15th February, 1960, Fernando de Sousa Fontes succeeded and was acknowledged in office by the senior officers of the Order.

Above: Notarial Instrument dated in February of 1960, declaring that Fernando de Sousa Fontes had been confirmed as heir and successor to Antonio de Sousa Fontes.

Above: One of many Instruments dated in 1960, by senior officers of the Order confirming the succession of Fernando de Sousa Fontes as Prince Regent and Grand Master.

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