THE 1ST BELGIAN INDEPENDANT GROUPING
1942 - 1944
THE 1ST BELGIAN INDEPENDANT BRIGADE
1944
THE 1ST INFANTRY BRIGADE "PIRON"
1944 - 1946

 

 

SHORT HISTORY

 

In accordance 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.

It is 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 extreme left
of the front line of the 21st Army Group.

View 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.

Together with 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.

Wessem 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.

Composition of the 1st Belgian Infantry Brigade :
Brigade Staff
Staff Company
3 Infantry Battalions
Transmission Detachment
L.A.D. unit
R.A.S.C. Company
R.E.M.E. Workshop
Field Hospital
Provost Company
Judicial Detachment
British Liaison Unit.

The 1st Belgian Infantry Brigade takes up positions on the river Waal, the Netherlands,
where they stay until the end of the War in Europe.

 
Summer 1945, occupation of Oelde, Germany.   December 17 1945,

After being 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.

Commanding Officer :
Colonel PIRON, D.S.O.

Colonel PIRON, D.S.O.
Commanding Officer of the 1st Belgian Infantry Brigade

Brigade casualties 1944 - 1945.
Killed in action and deceased by cause of wound : 90
Wounded and evacuated : 2.039
Missing in Action : 38

 

 

FORMATION BADGES

 

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.

The Belgian 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

 

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