Welcome to the Brussels Branch of The Royal British Legion
A Poppy Appeal Update
Some fabulous news in these less than normal times. The final count is now complete for the 2019 Poppy Appeal and we are delighted to announce that due to the generosity of the people of Belgium and the fundraising skills of the Branch, we surpassed our 2018 total by some margin. A superb 10,866.17 Euros was raised - see more on our dedicated Poppy Appeal page.
A Message from our Chair, Commodore Darren Bone Royal Navy
13 April 2020
Dearest friends of The Royal British Legion, Brussels Branch,
First and foremost, I hope that this message finds you, your friends and family safe and well amidst extraordinary times and that you had a peaceful and healthy Easter weekend.
I wanted to send you a message of support and good wishes in these most challenging of times. Over the last few weeks I have been struck by the immense flexibility, resilience and generosity of friends and strangers, pulling together to make the best of our new circumstances. This is true locally, nationally and now even on a global scale, all of which is quite unprecedented.
It will come as no surprise to you that due to the COVID-19 measures, we have had to cancel all of our events and activities out to June 2020. This is a measure implemented by the Royal British Legion in London and one which we as a Branch will fully support. The health and wellbeing of our members is uppermost in all our considerations. As things currently stand, we shall therefore probably not be seeing our members face-to-face for a little while. But we want to keep in touch, to support each other and to strengthen our Brussels Branch community.
Although a challenge, this is a time to find new ways to connect. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and feel free to either join or even start discussions! Share your photographs of previous Brussels Branch events for others to enjoy: it might just prompt planning for future gatherings. Remember: social distancing should not mean social isolation.
Thinking of future gatherings, our new Events team, led by Phil Hyde with our new Branch member Steve Grant, had got stuck into some serious planning for interesting events for our members in 2020, including a visit to the Road to Dunkirk exhibition being led by Alain Brogniez, which has sadly been postponed. As soon as restrictions are eased, Phil will be back in contact with fresh plans to bring the Branch together. I know this will be something to look forward to!
The current situation is difficult for us all but if there is any way that the Brussels Branch can help make it a little less stressful, please do let us know. We are here to help our members as a community of friends.
Warmest regards and the very best of health and good wishes
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - From Darkness to Light
As reported in The Bulletin
Belgian National Day on 21 July 2020, saw Congress Column, the monument where an unidentified Belgian soldier was laid to rest following the First World War, gently lit for the first time in years. Respectful in tone and elegantly installed, the lighting will illuminate the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from sundown to sunrise.
Lockdown History Lessons?
Looking for something interesting to do while sensibly staying at home in lockdown? Look no further. A British historian called Dan Hill is organising a series of military history webinars during the lockdown. The webinars are in English and free to watch. On 6 May, Major Alex Owen, a former cavalry officer who is Head of Armed Forces Engagement at the Royal British Legion, will give a talk on the Battle of Waterloo.
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 2019 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.
Keep an eye on this page for updates on a fascinating exhibition due to open on 1 April. Titled 'The Road to Dunkirk', it will focus on the British Expeditionary Force in France and Belgium from September 1939 to June 1940. The exhibition will run until 24 May and is led by our branch committee member Alain Brogniez. The image below is from his collection and shows the Welsh Guards training in France during 1939. Don't miss this historical treasure trove, join us at Musee Wellington, Chaussee de Bruxelles 147, 1410 Waterloo. Regrettably, this event has been postponed.
On 5 January, our Branch members took part in a commemorative walk in Bure. This was an incredibly well attended and organised event that raised a fabulous 637 euros for the Royal British Legion. Our heartfelt thanks and applause go to the indomitable Michel Bourland, a fellow Brussels Branch member, who leads on the organisation and execution of the event. This year the event was supported by over 200 people in a mix of 'civil' attire and re-enactors faithfully reproducing the battledress of the day. More pictures of the event are available here. Images kindly provided by Michel Bourland, Dennis Abbott and Alain Brogniez.
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