Welcome to the Brussels Branch of The Royal British Legion
Happy New Year to the Brussels Branch and friends
Dear branch members, friends and visitors to our website,
We enter 2021 with a renewed sense of hope and positivity. This message promises not to mention the dreaded C***D word, but I cannot help but jump for joy at my keyboard noting the incredible work from our medical and scientific communities. Making incredible advances towards a safer, brighter future for us all. I look forward to us all being able to meet again soon as a community together.
The big news from my household is the addition of another four paws in front of the fire in the form of Monty-Dog, our latest rescue greyhound. A gentle soul he has settled in quickly with the other two hounds who welcome another set of pleading eyes near the fridge to extract food!
Something else that brings a smile to my face is the final count for the 2020 Poppy Appeal. We knew it would be a tough year however the indomitable spirit of Ann Morley, Dave and her Poppy Appeal team lead us to adopt different ways of raising awareness and funds for the Legion. Steve Grant launched a virtual physical challenge that covered enough distance to get from Brussels to London and back - great support from the three UK missions! Stonemanor's customers filled the poppy tins to the brim and astounded all with their generosity. The final total for 2020 was a breathtaking 8774.16 Euros. A testament to the innovation of all involved and the deep pockets and kindness here in Belgium.
For another of our committee members, the winter evenings have also been incredibly busy indeed. While the rest of us have been studiously avoiding a lockdown hobby, Dennis Abbott, our Community Support Officer and resident researcher has dedicated weeks of his time to research the history of the Brussels Branch as we approach both the Legion's 100th birthday and in 2022, our own Brussels Branch centenary celebrations! No copy of Le Soir has been left unscanned and no set of meeting minutes unread as he has investigated the terrific tales of our branch. Book yourself a 'reading-break', stock up on drinks and snacks and take a tour of the people, places and events from 1921 to today. The history is work in progress and if you have any information we haven't covered or if you think you can add to any of the stories with pictures or film, please do contact Dennis. The final version will be launched at a suitable event towards the end of the year so you have some time to read, review and get in touch. Dive in...
For Christmas 2020, the students and teachers of the International School of Belgium in Aartselaar brought joy to many of us with their thoughtfully written letters to our WW2 veterans. Under the guidance and support of Head of School, Wayne Johnson, the pupils researched the lives of our veterans before sending beautifully written and illustrated messages. A wonderful Christmas gift and we look forward to working with the International School of Belgium in the future.
I must also highlight that on 17th of November 2020, Lt Col François Roberti-Lintermans sadly passed away, just before his 96th birthday. This giant of a man risked everything to fight for his country in WW2 and his wartime experiences are sobering and breathtaking in equal measure. We remember his life and times on a dedicated page here. We will remember him.
Finally, please remember that the Legion is here to support our veterans. Times are tough for many and the Legion is here to help in many ways, especially recent veterans who are facing challenges here in Belgium for a variety of reasons. Do contact us in confidence to see how we can support our veteran community.
With that, please accept my warmest wishes to you and your families for a fabulous, safe and healthy 2021.
Zoe White - Brussels Branch Chair
17 Jan 2021
Want to donate to the Royal British Legion in Euros?
You can also set up a regular donation to support the Poppy Appeal all year round. You can download a poster of the iconic Remembrance Poppy to print here.
Every Poppy and every cent counts. Thank you for your donation
Commemoration at Brussels Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery - October 2020
The Royal British Legion, Brussels Branch held its first Act of Remembrance since the start of the COVID pandemic on Saturday 3 October in the immaculately kept Brussels CWGC. We were honoured to be joined by H.E. Mr Martin Shearman CVO British Ambassador to Belgium who delivered a reflection and Group Captain Justin Fowler British Defence Attaché to Belgium. Wreathes were also laid by the Royal Air Force Association and the European Confederation of Veterans (CEAC-ECOS). The cenotaph was flanked by four very smart standard bearers, from: The Royal British Legion, Royal Air Force Association, CEAC and CNPPA (Confederation of Political Prisoners). Lt Col Richard Ovey's bugle skills were pitch perfect as ever. We were joined at the ceremony by a tv crew from Polsat, a popular Polish television channel who were filming for a news story about the British Army's role in the liberation of Belgium in 1944 - especially poignant noting the close British-Polish relationship and that this particularly cemetery is the resting place for over 20 Polish servicemen. Phil Hyde was the master of ceremonies and pulled off a COVID-compliant commemoration that will serve as a great template for our Remembrance Service on 8 November - of which, more to follow.
A warm welcome to both our existing and future friends of the Brussels Branch of the Royal British Legion.
Our branch meets regularly in and around the Brussels area and has been meeting since 1922. Join us to carry on this tradition of help and support to those who have served and their families. Our branch is made up of both British and Belgian members and we would love to meet anybody who would like to join us. Our friendly committee team will be delighted to answer any questions you may have about membership, contact us over phone or email.
Our main fundraising activity is the Poppy Appeal, you can read more about our 2020 appeal and the generosity of the people in Belgium here.
Belgium is a particularly relevant place for an organisation like the Royal British Legion and our members often join commemorative walks or parades across the country, taking time to remember the sacrifices of so many young men and women on Belgian soil. Look up what's coming up in the diary here.
About the Royal British Legion
We provide financial, social and emotional care and support to all members of the British Armed Forces - past and present and their families. The Legion is also the national Custodian of Remembrance and safeguards the Military Covenant between the nation and its Armed Forces and is best known for the annual Poppy Appeal and its emblem the red poppy.
Founded in 1921, the Legion is not just about those who fought in the World Wars of the last century, but also about those involved in the many conflicts since 1945 and those still fighting for the freedom we enjoy today.
If you wish to contact us or to report any inaccuracies or omissions on this site, please email Zoe White at email@example.com