THE RAF BELGIAN SECTION
1940 - 1946

 

 

SHORT HISTORY

 

After the cease-fire in Belgium, on May 28 1940, several Belgian Squadrons were stationned in France,
and most of the pilots thought that they would continue to fight at the side of the French.

When France capitulated in June 1940, the Belgian Government, then still in France,
instructed the military to return to occupied Belgium.

Several pilots refused, and escaped to the United Kingdom.

The British Government contacted the Belgian Embassy,
and it was agreed that all flying personnel would be integrated into the RAF.

Thus 29 Belgian pilots took part in the Battle of Britain, and 7 were killed.

Meanwhile the Belgian Government had arrived in London, and arrangments were made
for incorporating pilots and ground crews into the RAF.

Only on June 4 1942 an agreement was reached between the Belgian Government in Exile
and the British Government.

Alle Belgian personnel was to be integrated into the RAF Volunteer Reserve.

Death Notice of Pilot Officer DE SELYS DE LONGCHAMPS
He was the Belgian pilot who flew solo to occupied Brussels
and attacked the Gestapobuilding.
Belgian crew of BOMBER COMMAND

BELGIAN RAF UNITS 1940 -1946.

On August 14 1940 a depot was raised at St Anthan, Wales.

The depot was transferred to Malvern in November 1941, and to Goring-on-Thames in 1943.

On october 28 1940 a Franch-Belgian Pilot School is created at Odiham with the purpose of teaching
the French and Belgian pilots English before sending them to the British Flying Schools.

On February 11 1941 a first Belgian "Flight" is created in the 609 (West-Riding) Squadron.

During the War 54 Belgian pilots served in the 609 Squadron.

A second Belgian "Flight" is created in the 131 Squadron on August 27 1941.

Once there was enough personnel the Belgian Government decided, in agreement with the British Government,
to create the first Belgian Squadron.

The 350 RAF Squadron was raised at Northolt on February 11 1942.

 
Air leaflet dropped above occupied Belgium
on the occasion of the raising of 350 Squadron
  350 Squadron in 1945.

The squadron received the Standard of the Belgian "Aéronautique Militaire",
smuggled out of occupied Belgium to the United Kingdom.

The 350 Squadron participated in the raid on Dieppe on August 19 1942,
and the Landing in Normandy on June 6 1944.

The 350 Squadron always flew on Spitfire.

In November 1942 a second Belgian Squadron was created : the 349 Squadron.

The squadron went to Africa where it was stationned at the West Coast.

Once the Africa Campaign was almost at an end, the squadron returned to the United Kingdom in July 1943.

Pilot officer DROSSART and ground crew inspecting his plane.
349 Squadron in 1944

The 349 Squadron participated in the Landing in Normandy.

Both Squadrons took part in the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 - January 1945,
and the campaign in Holland and Germany 1945.

Belgians also served in Bomber Command, Coastal Command, and in the Middle East (272 Squadron).

Between June 1 1940 and May 8 1945, 521 Belgian officers served as pilot or navigator in the RAF
and 128 were killed.

Many Belgians were also trained in the South African Air Force SAAF,
and consequently took part in the operations in Africa.

From the 134 Belgians trained in the SAAF as flying personnel, 44 stayed in the SAAF,
with 12 killed, and 56 were transferred to the RAF.

The RAF Belgian Section was transferred to the Belgian Armed Forces on October 15 1946.

Senior Officer :
Air Commodore WOUTERS
.

Air Commodore WOUTERS

 

"BADGES AND INSIGNIA
OF THE RAF BELGIAN SECTION"