THE 5TH INFANTRY BRIGADE

"MERCKEM"

 

 

SHORT HISTORY

 

The 5thInfantry Brigade "MERCKEM" was raised on May 4 1945.

From June 4 1945 the entire brigade was shipped and tranported to Northern Ireland.

Following military camps were occupied by the 5th Infantry Brigade :

Headquarters at Stramore House
1st Battalion at Caledon
2nd Battalion at Tynan Rectory
3rd Battalion at Tynan Abbey

   
Tynan Abbey, July 15 1945, taking of the oath by a Lieutenant of the IIIrd Battalion.
In front with kÚpi : Colonel COUVREUR, C.O. of the 5th Infantry Brigade "MERCKEM"
   
   
Northern Ireland,
flag of the 5th Infantry Brigade "Merckem"
   

The entire brigade underwent a thorough training.

The 5th Infantry Brigade "MERCKEM" returned to Belgium between December 9 and 15 1945.

The 5th Infantry Brigade "MERCKEM" was transferred to Germany on March 3 1946, where it took part at the occupation until it returned to Belgium on July 12 1946.

Belfast, September 29 1945.
The brigade participates in
the Thanksgiving Parade.
 
     

Souvenir of the period of service.
Beneath the Holy Virgin one sees
both Formation Badges.

 

The 5th Infantry Brigade "MERCKEM" was reorganised on October 10 1946

Commanding Officers :
Colonel COUVREUR from the start until September 13 1945
Colonel VANDERHAEGHEN from September 14 1945 until May 1 1946
Colonel SERVAIS from May 2 1946 until reorganisation.

Colonel VANDERHAEGEHN

 

 

FORMATION BADGES

 

The 1st Formation Badge was created by Major DE RYCKMAN DE BETZ, commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion.
The badge was produced in England.

A silver hunting-horn with a green shamrock, with a yellow capital "M" on the background,
the whole on a green shield.
Green and yellow are the colours of the Belgian "Chasseurs Ó Pied".

 
1st Formation Badge
Printed version
  1st Formation Badge
Embroidered version
1st Formation Badge
Embroidered version with reversed hunting-horn

By decree of the Belgian Minister of Defense, issued on June 15 1945,
all the infantry brigades had to wear a uniform formation badge.

This formation badge contained the same symbols for all brigades
i.e. a yellow heraldic lion raming to the left with a green shamrock beneath
and a red capital letter in the background, the whole on a black shield.
The red capital letter being specific for each of the 5 brigades.
For the 5th Infantry Brigade it was the letter "M"of "MERCKEM".

2nd Formation Badge
with yellow shamrock

The badges from the first delivery had a yellow shamrock (!!!) but nobody seemed to matter
until the commanding officer of the 4th Infantry Brigade wrote a letter to the Minister of Defense
explaining that it was impossible to wear this badge in Northern Ireland without being ridiculised.

All brigades, except the 4th Infantry Brigade "STEENSTRAETE",
received a second delivery with the correct shamrock.

 

Breast Pocket Badges.

Three different breast pocket badges are known to have been made.

The first one is a breast pocket badge with the Formation Badge 1st pattern.

The second one is a breast pocket badge with the Formation Badge 2nd pattern.

 

   
Lapel badge 1st pattern
worn on civilian clothing
  Lapel badge 1st pattern
worn on civilian clothing
with reversed hunting-horn
 

 

 Breast Pocket Badge 2nd pattern

 

The third one is a rather rare breast pocket badge.

It is the breast pocket badge of
the Antitank Platoon / 2nd Company / 3rd Batallion / 5th Infantry Brigade "MERCKEM".

The badge was produced in Belgium during the stay of the brigade in Belgium december 1945 - february 1946.

Breast Pocket Badge Antitank Platoon / IIIrd Battalion / 5th Infantry Brigade "MERCKEM".

 

Certificate given to the Antitank Platoon / 3rd Battalion / 5th Infantry Brigade "MERCKEM".

 

SHOULDER INSIGNIA

A "5" with an infantry crown above was worn on both shoulders.

Only embroidered insignia were worn.

Private with the embroidered insignia on his shoulders.

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