Belgians Serving with XXIV during WWII

The Chairman of the Belgian Branch of the RAF Association, Dick Whittingham sent the Association an email earlier in the year to see if we would be interested in participating in a commemorative event in Brussels on 29 Apr 2014. Sadly we could not.

Dick has since reported back to us and sent the following link which relates what went on on the day. Very many thanks indeed.

The Belgian Branch was formed in 1947 with a core membership based on the over 600 Belgians who had escaped occupied Europe and joined the RAF in WW2.  12 of these Belgians joined 24 Sqn: messrs  Arend, Carlier, De Puysseleyre, Dubois E., Goblet, Hallet, Joppart, Maréchal, Renson, Seghers, Stevens, and Van Lerberghe.

The Belgians remain very conscious of their WW2 debt to the UK and are enormously proud of their RAF heritage.  In Brussels they have an Air Force Chapel inside the National Basilica:  they held an event their last September to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the installation of stained-glass windows in the chapel.  You can see a report on the event on our website at http://rafabelgianbranch.yolasite.com/air-force-chapel-commemoration.php.

During the Service, General Van Caelenberge the Belgian Chief of Defence noticed that although the Chapel displays the Shields of 23 RAF Squadrons on which Belgians served in World War 2, there were a number missing.  Following further research, they discovered that Belgians actually served on the quite astonishing total of 141 different RAF Squadrons.

It is impractical for them to display this number of shields but, as a step in the right direction, they have agreed with the Belgian Air Arm that they will add the shields of the missing squadrons with significant (5 or more) Belgian members:  as you can see, 24 Sqn is one of these.

The new Shields were dedicated during a short private event on Tuesday 29th April attended by the General and Air Marshal Sir Christopher Harper (NATO HQ DG IMS) our Branch Co-President, plus a few invited guests. The event started at 16:00 hrs and lasted around 40 minutes, followed by a Reception hosted by General Van Caelenberge.  RAFA and some Sqn Standards were be paraded.

 

 

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