BELGIAN ARMY 
IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
BATTLE DRESS
RANK INSIGNIA
1940 - 1945

 

Already in 1940 the Belgian Government in Exile decided that all Land Army units
would adopt the British Rank Insignia on the Battle-Dress.

The Service-Dress, for Officers and Warrant Officers, would remain Belgian, with Belgian Rank Insignia.

The reason for adopting the British Rank Insignia on the Battle-Dress was that since the Belgian Government in Exile
decided that most of the Land Army units would be integrated into the British Army,
it was logical that they adopted the British Rank Insignia.

It would also facilitate the recognition of the different ranks.

Belgium was the only Allied Nation that adopted the British Rank Insignia.

 

Men and NCO's

The Rank Insignia are worn on both arm sleeves.

The problem that occured was Belgian ranks were not the same as British ranks.

It was only on December 30th 1941 that an instruction, issued by
the Commander of the Belgian Forces in the United Kingdom,
Lieutenant-General DEAUFRESNE DE LA CHEVALERIE, cleared the problem.

NCO's and Men

Belgian Rank   British equivalent
Corporal   Lance-Corporal
Corporal
2 years service
  Corporal
Sergeant   Lance-Sergeant
1st Sergeant   Sergeant
1st Sergeant-Major   Staff Sergeant
Adjudant   Warrant Officer n2
Adjudant - RSM   Warrant Officer n1

 

 

Corporal , Corporal 2 years service , Sergeant

  1st Sergeant of the Artillery
 
1st Sergeant , 1st Sergeant - Major   Adjudant , Adjudant RSM

The Rank Insignia which were adopted for 1st Sergeant was 3 British chevrons with a grenade above for all arms,
except for the Artillery, where the grenade was replaced by a gunbarrel.

The Rank Insignia for Adjudant RSM was a Belgian equivalent of the British RSM Insignia :
a shield with the Belgian National colours and a Belgian King's crown above, surrounded by 2 white heraldic lions.

 
Sleeve insignia of Adjudant RSM   Belgian Workmanship

 

On February 28th 1944 some changes were issued by the Ministery of Defense.

NCO's and Men

Belgian Rank   British equivalent
Corporal   Lance-Corporal
Corporal
2 years service
  Corporal
Sergeant   Lance-Sergeant
1st Sergeant   Sergeant
1st Sergeant-Major   Warrant Officer n2
Adjudant   Warrant Officer n1
Adjudant 1st Class   Warrant Officer n1

 

 
1st Sergeant - Major   Adjudant 1st Class

 

The Rank Insiginia for 1st Sergeant of the Artillery became 3 chevrons surmounted by 2 crossed gunbarrels.

The Rank Insignia for 1st Sergeant - Major was a shield, with the Belgian National colours, in wreath.

The adjudant was allowed to wear the insignia of the former Adjudant RSM on both sleeves.

The Adjudant 1st Class was allowed to wear, beside the sleeve insignia of Adjudant, a white strip on the shoulder straps.

 
1st Sergeant of the Artillery   Sleeve Insignia of 1st Sergeant - Major

 

 
Friz-Hill, United Kingdom, 1943, the Belgian Independant Parachute Company.
Left : Adjudant THONNARD ; Right : 1st Sergeant STEVENS.
Watch the arm sleeve insignia.
  1st Sergeant

 

 

Officers

 

Alle officers wore their rank insignia on both shoulder straps.

Officers

Belgian Rank

  British equivalent

B

2nd Lieutenant   2nd Lieutenant A
B Lieutenant   Lieutenant A
B Captain   Captain B
B Senior Captain   Captain B

C

Major   Major B

C

Lieutenant-Colonel   Colonel C
C Colonel   Brigadier C

D

Major-General   Major-General D

D

Lieutenant-General   Lieutenant-General D

A
B
C
D

  Junior officers
Field Officers
Senior Officers
General Officers

 

Lieutenant-General was the highest rank in the Belgian Army during WW2.

 
Belgian made pips , British made pip   Belgian made crown , British made crown

On February 28th 1944 the Belgian Ministry of Defense issued that a Senior Captain
was allowed to wear a white strip above the 3 pips as Rank Insignia.

Senior Captain , Captain , Lieutenant , 2nd Lieutenant

 

Brussels, September 5, 1944
Senior Captain LEDENT of the Field Artillery Battery
watch the strip above the 3 pips.

A Belgian Lieutenant-Colonel was allowed to wear the British Rank Insignia of Colonel,
and a Belgian Colonel wore the Rank Insignia of a Brigadier-General.

This is what we call a "fast promotion" !!!

Colonel , Lieutenant - Colonel , Major

It was specified that Generals would wear the red tabs on both collars,
together with the Belgian General stars on the shoulder straps.

A Major-General wore 2 stars, a Lieutenant-General 3 stars.

 
Lieutenant-General
Belgian stars on shoulder strap
  Lieutenant-General
British rank Insignia on shoulder strap

Some refused to wear the stars and simply wore the British rank Insignia for generals.

Lieutenant-General, Major-General

A Belgian Colonel was allowed to wear the red tabs, with the red stripe, of a Brigadier on his collars.

Generals wore the red tabs with the golden stripe.

Colonel red tabs.

 

 
Captain JACQMAIN   Lieutenant-General GANSHOF VANDERMEERSCH

 

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