Prime Minister
of the Belgian Government in Exile
London 1940-1944

After the cease-fire in Belgium, on May 28 1940, the Belgian Government
continued the fight against Nazi Germany at the side of the French.

Once France was also defeated the Belgian Government, at first, didn't know how to continue.

It was only after several months that they finally decided to continue to fight
at the side of the United Kingdom.

Only 4 Ministers went to the United Kingdom in 1940 :
Prime Minister Hubert PIERLOT
Minister Paul Henri SPAAK
Minister Camille GUTT.

London, July 21st 1942, ceremony for the National Day of Belgium.
From right to left : Lieutenant-General DEAUFRESNES DE LA CHEVALERIE,
Mr ROLIN vice Secretary of Defence,
Mr GUTT Minister of Economic Affairs
Mr Paul-Henri SPAAK Minister of Foreign Affairs

Once they arrived in London the decision was taken
to reorganise the Belgian Forces in the United Kingdom.

Pilots and airmen were integrated in the RAF,
Navy personnel was integrated in the Royal Navy,
and Army men were organised into several smaller units.

After creating the 1st Battalion Belgian Fuseliers in the United Kingdom,
other units were raised,
such as the Belgian Commando Troop of the 10th Inter-Allied Commando,
the Belgian Independant Parachute Company,
and several other small units.


The Belgian Government in Exile also signed several agreements with the Allies,
confirming the will to fight against Nazi Germany until the end of the conflict.

London, Wellington Barracks, July 21st 1943, Belgian National Day.
Prime Minister Hubert PIERLOT is inspecting the Royal Navy Belgian Section - Detachment.
Behind the PM is Lieutenant-General VAN STRIJDONCK DE BURKEL,
Inspector General of the Belgian Forces in the United Kingdom.

At the beginning of 1944 Belgium had two RN corvettes and a RN minesweepers flottila,
two RAF Fighter Squadrons 349 and 350,
a Commando Troop, a SAS Company,
the 1st Belgian Independant Group called "Brigade Piron",
and a lot of individuals dispersed among the English Forces.

Many of them gave their live fighting against Nazi Germany.

On September 8 1944 the Belgian Government returned to liberated Belgium,
after more then 4 years in exile.

The Government immediately started with the implementation of the international agreements.


London, September 8th 1944, a crowd is waiting
for the departure of the Belgian Government in exile
to liberated Belgium.


The Belgian Government in front of the Dakota before take-off.


On the way to Brussels Airport - Evere.


Arrival at Evere.
Front middle : August De Schryver. Front right : Hubert Pierlot.


Already mid September 1944 the Ministery of Defence started with the recruitment
of warvolunteers with the intention of raising 6 Fuselier Battalions en 4 Pionneer Battalions.

Because the War in Europe seemed to last longer then originally foreseen
the Belgian Government agreed to recruit massively and to call up several militia classes.

As a result Belgium had more then 100.000 men under arms on May 8 1945.

Belgium was the only small Allied nation that raised a relatively important military apparatus.

It delivered a substantial contribution to the Allied military exertion
in the last eight months of the Second World War.

In December 1945 the Ministry of Defence started with the demobilisation
of the Warvolunteers and the disbandment of most of the units.

All the "war units" were disbanded by the end of 1946 or were tranformed into "new traditional units".