THE WATCH BATTALIONS
AND
THE UNITS FOR ADMINISTRATION OF POW'S
1945 - 1948

 

 

SHORT HISTORY

 

After the liberation of Belgium, September 1944, the Government badly needed manpower
for the reconstruction of the coalmines, and for their exploitation.

The monthly output was 1.500.000 tons of coal, with a labour force of 114.000 men.

One of the primary objectives of the new Belgian Governement was to augment
the output with 700.000 tons a month.

In May 1945 the Belgian Government received 15.000 German POW's from the Allied High Command.

A few months later this number was already insufficient, and the Belgian Government requested
the "delivery" of a new considerable contingent of German POW's.

The Allied High Command agreed to deliver an additional 30.000 POW's on condition
that sufficient lodging could be provided.

Death Card from Corporal VAN DE VOORDE René, 1st Watch Battalion.
Summer 1945, area of Zwartberg, Limburg, Belgium.
Men of the 1st Watch Battalion in front of a signpost.

31 POW camps were build : 7 in the Povince of Limburg, 9 in the Province of Liège,
6 in the area of Charleroi, 3 in the centre of the country, and 6 in the Borinage.

6 additional POW Camps were build in the Ardennes
for lodging the POW's working under the supervision of the Forestry units.

On January 1947 35.750 German POW's worked in the Belgian Coalmines
and an additional 4.000 POW's worked as woodcutters.

More than 1.000 German POW's also worked with the Belgian Bomb Disposal Units.

German POW's, with some guards, on their way to work.
Distribution of post and parcels.

To control and administrate this army of POW's, a High Command, 6 Regional Commands,
4 Watch Battalions and some small units were raised.

The High Command was called "Commandement Supérieur des Camps de Prisonniers" C.S.C.P.

The Regional Commands were called "Commandement Régional des Camps de Prisonniers" C.R.C.P.

The Regional Command for the Forestry Units was called
"Commandement Régional des Camps de Prisonniers Forestiers" C.R.C.P.F.

Letter with heading from the C.R.P.G.F.

The POW Camps were called "Camps de Prisonniers" C.P.

The Bomb Disposal POW Camps were called "Commandement des Camps de Prisonniers" C.C.P.

The last German POW's were liberated in the Spring of 1948,
and the last POW units were disbanded on June 30 1948.

NAME RAISED DISBANDED C.P.'s
under command
COMMANDING OFFICERS
C.S.C.P. July 9 1945

?

All Major-General BRABANT
Colonel DESOIL
Major-General PLISNIER
C.R.C.P. Limburg May 12 1945 June 30 1948 Beringen
Zolder
Houthalen
Winterslag
Waterschei
Zwartberg
Eisden
Major SIMON
C.R.C.P. Liège August 6 1945 June 30 1948 Ans
Vottem
Jemeppe
Tilleur
Chératte-Wandre
Fléron-Micheroux
Seraing
Bois d'Avray
Poix Saint-Hubert (1)
Vielsalm (1)
Elsenborn (1)
Colonel RÖHRS
C.R.C.P. Charleroi August 29 1945 June 30 1948 Fontaine l'Evêque
Marchienne
Lodelinsart
Marcinelle
Fleurus
Châtelineau
Couvin (1)
Major SAFFRE
C.R.C.P. Centre
C.R.C.P. Centre-Borinage
August 29 1945
September 16 1947
June 30 1948 Maurage
Ressaix
Mariemont
+ C.P.'s Borinage
from Sep 16 1947
Lieutenant-Colonel WEVE
from Sep 16 1947
C.R.C.P. Borinage September 30 1945 September 16 1947 Tertre
Boussu
Heussies-Pomeroeul
Wasmes
Flénu
Erbisoeul
Lieutenant-Colonel WEVE
C.R.C.P.
Marche-en-Famenne
May 1 1946 November 15 1947 Forestier
Andenne
Couvin (2)
Poix Saint-Hubert (2)
Vielsalm (2)
Elsenborn (2)
Colonel ROBA
C.R.C.P.F. May 1 1946 ? POW Camps
near Forestry Units
?
C.C.P. Kalmthout October 15 1945 November 15 1947 Kalmthout ?
C.C.P. Wenduine August 10 1945 November 15 1947 Wenduine ?
Territorial Battalion Namur February 12 1945 July 16 1945 - ?
Territorial Battalion Limburg
Watch Battalion N° 1
May 3 1945
July 7 1945
March 31 1946 - Senior Captain EBBERECHT
Watch Battalion N° 2 July 16 1945 March 31 1946 - Major DEPREZ
Watch Battalion N° 3 June 16 1945 August 10 1945 - Major HERMAN
Watch Battalion N° 3 October 19 1945 March 31 1946 - ?

                        (1) Until June 1 1946. From then under the command of the C.R.C.P. Marche-en-Famenne.
                        (2) Comes from an other C.R.C.P.

 

 

FORMATION BADGES

 

As far as known only the 3 Watch Battalions wore some kind of a Formation Badge.

A black figure 1,2 or 3 on a scarlet rectangle.

 

 
Formation Badge of the 2nd Watch Battalion   Private from the 1st Watch Battalion wearing the Formation Badge.

 

OTHER INSIGNIA

 

Belgian Rank Insignia were worn.

On the left sleeve a white "BELGIUM" arm title was worn.

On the right sleeve the Belgian national colours were worn, black facing front.

No flash was was worn.

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