- Point of Interest
- La Fontaine Montgomery, 1150 Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Belgique
On Sunday 3 September 1944, shortly before 20:00, the British Second Army entered Brussels by the Avenue de Tervuren. On the Boulevard de Waterloo, the liberators were welcomed by jubilant crowds of Belgians, celebrating the liberation of the capital city from the German occupation.
On 2 September 1944 the Guards Armoured Division of commanding officer Allan Adair was in the region of Douai, when late in the evening Lieutenant-General Brian Horrocks, commander of the XXXth British Corps, gave the order to march on Brussels. He and his men started off in the early morning of 3 September and by the evening they entered the city after a high-speed run. They covered more than 120 km in one day.
In the morning the Germans took to their heels. In Brussels – as in other cities -the withdrawal of the Germans was accompanied by devastations. Before leaving, the German soldiers set fire to the courthouse in order to burn the documents still stored there. Despite their efforts to extinguish the fire, citizens were unable to prevent the copper dome to collapse. In the evening violent clashes between resistance fighters and German soldiers still occurred in the Parc du Cinquantenaire.
The next day, on September 4, the 1st Infantry Brigade of the Free Belgian Forces – also known as the Piron Brigade (Brigade Piron) – made a victorious entry alongside British soldiers. Brussels’ inhabitants were pleasantly surprised to discover compatriots among their liberators. On 7 September General Montgomery officially met the mayor of Brussels at the City Hall and complimented Colonel Piron for the military feats of his brigade during the Normandy campaign.
On 8 September the government in exile of Hubert Pierlot returned to Brussels and restored the lawful democracy in the country, not knowing that the harsh winter of the Battle of the Bulge was yet to come.
Belgium’s different regions all offer unique experiences: Wallonia is dotted with picturesque sites and the lush Belgian Ardennes, while Flanders houses the renowned medieval cities of Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp. Brussels, capital of both Belgium and Europe, holds a unique
In addition to being Belgium’s capital city, Brussels is the capital of Europe and the beating heart of the European Union. Its European district is unique and its renowned squares, like the Grand-Place, are prestigious. During WWII Brussels suffered from
Jean-Baptiste Piron, born in Belgium in 1896, was a military officer who fled to England during the Second World War. He returned to Belgium as commander of the 1st Belgian Infantry Brigade, also known as Piron Brigade. At the end of the war he participated in the liberation of Belgium and the Netherlands.
Hubert Pierlot, born in Cugnon, Belgium, was Prime Minister of the Belgian government in exile in London from September 1940 to September 1944. During the war he played an important role in the negotiations between the Allied powers. After the liberation of Belgium Pierlot returned to Brussels, where he headed a government of national unity until February 1945.
Charles of Belgium, brother of King Leopold III, was Regent of Belgium from September 1944 to July 1950. Nine governments followed one after the other during this regency, which was marked by the Royal Question and the post war restoration of the country’s economic activity.
The Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History, located in the Jubelpark (Jubileepark) in Brussels, presents thousands of unique and amazing objects, stemming from ten ages of military history. Not only uniforms and prestigious distinctions, but also works of art, musical instruments and an exceptional collection of planes, guns and tanks. One gallery is dedicated to the Second World War.
Edouard Gérard managed to reach Britain after the German invasion of his home country of Belgium. He joined the Belgian army in Britain and took part in the invasion of Normandy where he died at the age of 20. He was the first Belgian soldier to die in the Battle of Normandy.
On 2 September 1944 allied troops crossed the Belgian border at diverse places. The process of liberation went fast: in ten days a large majority of the country was liberated. But it did not put an end to the German occupation. Two months later Hitler surprised the Allies with his last offensive: the Battle of the Bulge.
On 13 July 1944, the military administration which had been in place since 28 May 1940 and headed by General von Falkenhausen was replaced by a civilian administration under the authority of the SS. This change came about at the behest of the Führer, who considered the military administration too lax in its fight against the resistance.
Brussels. 7 September 1944. On the way to his headquarters, the Field Marshal Montgomery made a short, unexpected stopover in Brussels. The visit was not announced in the newspapers, which had begun to circulate again since 5 September. But news of his arrival travelled quickly by word of mouth and a large crowd gathered on the Grande Place.