1ST BELGIAN INDEPENDANT GROUPING
1942 - 1944
THE 1ST BELGIAN INDEPENDANT BRIGADE
THE 1ST INFANTRY BRIGADE "PIRON"
1944 - 1946
with the British-Belgian agreement of June 4 1942, signed by
the ministers EDEN and SPAAK,
the 1st Belgian Independant Grouping is raised at Clacton-on-Sea, United Kingdom, on January 3 1943.
composed of :
a Staff Detachment
3 Independant Motorised Units
a Field Battery
an Armoured Car Squadron
an Engineer Company
a Brigade Train
a L.A.D. unit
a Medical Unit.
On July 27 1944 the Grouping becomes the 1st Belgian Independant Brigade.
The Belgian Independant Brigade lands in Normandy on August 8 1944.
|August 8 1944, the Belgian Independant Brigade lands on the beaches of Normandy||Death
Card of 2nd Lieutenant VAN REMOORTELE
killed in action during the campaign in France
on August 16 1944
The brigade comes under the operational command of the 6th Airborne Division of the 1st Canadian Army.
They take up
positions along the French coast and are de facto the unit on the
of the front line of the 21st Army Group.
of the river Dive near Cabourg, Normandy.
Picture taken by Captain RUSH, UK Liaison Officer.
|September 1 1944, crossing of the river Seine by elements of the Belgian Independant Brigade|
The Belgian Independant Brigade liberates Deauville, Trouville, Honfleur.
On August 28 1944 the Brigade comes under the operational command of the 49th British Divison.
The river Seine is crossed on September 1 1944 and the brigade prepares for the advance into Le Havre.
On September 2 1944 the brigade is ordered to move in the direction of Arras, and to join the Guards Armoured Division.
the Guards Armoured Division the Belgian Independant Brigade
advances towards Belgium,
and the first Belgian vehicle crosses the Belgian border at Rongy on September 3 1944, at 04.36 pm.
On September 4 1944 the Belgian Independant Brigades enters Brussels together with the Guards Armoured Division.
|Entering Brussels on September 4 1944|
|Entering Brussels on September 4 1944|
After a few
days rest, the brigade continues its advance into Belgium, and
the south of the Netherlands,
where they reaches Thorn on September 25 1944.
The brigade takes up defensive positions at the Wessem canal, and stays there until November 16 1944.
canal, the Netherlands, November 1944.
The Belgian Defense Minister visits the Belgian Independant Brigade.
|Christmas Card of the 1st Belgian Infantry Brigade 1946|
After being billeted in the area of Sint-Niklaas, Belgium, the brigade is reorganised, and becomes the 1st Belgian Infantry Brigade.
New recruits are arriving and the brigade starts a thorough training.
On April 3 1945 the 1st Belgian Infantry Brigade is ready for action.
of the 1st Belgian Infantry Brigade :
3 Infantry Battalions
British Liaison Unit.
Belgian Infantry Brigade takes up positions on the river Waal,
where they stay until the end of the War in Europe.
|Summer 1945, occupation of Oelde, Germany.||December 17 1945,|
releaved in Holland, the 1st Belgian Infantry Brigade takes part
in the occupation of Germany,
area of Münster, from May 15 1945 until December 17 1945.
Colonel PIRON, D.S.O.
Commanding Officer of the 1st Belgian Infantry Brigade
casualties 1944 - 1945.
Killed in action and deceased by cause of wound : 90
Wounded and evacuated : 2.039
Missing in Action : 38
The first Formation Badge was created in 1943 in the United Kingdom.
A yellow lionhead, facing front, in a black turned upside down triangle with a large red border.
|1st Formation Badge of the Belgian Independant Brigade||Variant|
|Second Lieutenant wearing the 1st Formation Badge.|
Once the 1st
Belgian Independant Brigade arrived in Belgium, in September 1944,
they saw the "Secret Army" Resistance Mouvement with the same badge.
Government had indeed decided that the same badge was to be the
badge of the "Secret Army"
and consequently several thousand badges were dropped by planes for use by the Resistance.
Therefore the C.O., Colonel PIRON, decided to adopt a second badge.
When the Brigade started its training end 1944, the second Formation Badge came into use.
A yellow lionhead, facing front, in front of a red cross, the whole on a black shield.
|2nd Formation Badge of the Belgian Independant Brigade||Variant|
|Private wearing the 1st Formation Badge|
|Corporal wearing the 2nd Formation Badge|
|Breast Pocket Badge 1945||Breast Pocket Badge 1946|
|Private wearing the 2nd Breast Pocket badge||Lapel Badge worn on civilian clothing|