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Belgium became directly involved in WWll when German forces invaded the Low Countries on 10th May 1940. Germany claimed this was on the grounds that this action was designed to prevent a planned Anglo-French attack on Germany and further claimed to possess 'irrefutable evidence' of the planned attack, stating it was to have been launched via the neutral territories of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, further claiming the governments of Belgium and the Netherlands were directly conspiring with the Allies on action that would threaten Germany. Belgium responded by protesting German violation of their neutrality, stating that all the information and documents in their possession proved the German attack to have been premeditated. After a brave campaign against the onslaught, and having informed the British and French governments of its intent, the Belgian Government surrendered on 28 May 1940.
Following the Belgian capitulation, some personnel from the Belgian Military Air Arm made their way to France, where efforts were made to re-form and re-equip a small Belgian Air Force, accredited to its own government. The collapse of France six weeks later prompted the Belgian pilots to escape to Great Britain. After joining the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, these pilots were posted to various squadrons in Fighter and Coastal Commands.
In October 1940, the legal Belgian government was reconstituted in London, leading to the reformation of the Belgian armed forces in Great Britain, including a Belgian section of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. During the four year following the German occupation, a number of Belgian airmen, soldiers and civilians managed to escape from occupied territory, with the majority of those reaching England volunteering for the Royal Air Force. 29 Belgians fought with Fighter Command during The Battle of Britain.
This memorial (left) is on a roundabout in Koksijde, a few kilometres from Dunkirk, and is in the shape of a small light tower. It was erected in 1954 to commemorate the Belgian and Allied Airmen who were killed in the First and Second World War.
The Memorial to Belgian Airmen (centre) lost in the Battle of Britain is inside Brussels Cemetery in the neighbouring municipality of Evere.
The memorial (right) is to Belgian airmen from WWll and is at Jean Offenbergplein, Brussels. Jean Offenberg is honoured in our pages.
Belgian Aircrew Losses: listing of all Belgian aircrew known to us
Madge Dubois-Rhodes: incredible heroine of the Belgian Resistance
Belgian Aces and Aviators WW1 - Search Database
Epitaph for Jean Offenburg DFC