Welcome to the Brussels Branch of The Royal British Legion
Dear branch members, friends and visitors to our website,
The first of the Belgian long weekends nearly over I hope that the snow/sun balance in the weather tips firmly in the favour of the golden stuff over the next few weeks. I have just punctuated my writing this message with a dash outside to protect acers and cover cars as the snow falls. The dogs are resolutely refusing to budge from their prime spots by the fire…
Anyway, I have some excellent news! Three of our branch members have been recognised in the Legion’s Centenary Awards. They will receive a special commemorative pin and certificate signed by the National President and National Chair recognising the outstanding contribution the winners have made to the Legion’s work. As soon as we can get together, we will make sure we suitably mark their achievements. Until then, please join me in applauding Andrée Ferrant, our Honorary Secretary, Ann Morley, our Poppy Appeal Organiser for nine years and Eric Johnson BEM, a branch member since 1947 and standard bear from 1956 to 2012 (a selfless commitment I find quite remarkable every time I hear it). Well done all of you!
Eric and his daughter Kathleen at Hotton
More outstanding work from Dennis Abbott, our Community Support Officer and resident researcher. Take a look at his latest piece of work, a detailed feature looking at Group Captain Peter Townsend’s life. Most of us are familiar with his name as a Battle of Britain ace and his relationship with Princess Margaret in the 1950s, but are you aware of what happened next? Dennis has dug deep into the archives and contacted Peter’s family to accurately portray his life in Belgium and beyond. Get a brew and enjoy a read here.
Peter Townsend (right) with King George IV at a Royal British Legion rally in Hyde Park 1951
With regret, I must also pass the news that on 27 February 2021, we lost Claire Whitfield aged 95. One of our longest serving members, Claire was a previous committee member who loved her parties, meeting people, making people laugh and sharing the good times. Our thoughts are with her family, including twin daughters Jacqueline and Patricia. We will remember her.
An 18 year old Claire with her future husband Stanley Whitfield after the Liberation of Brussels 1944
As ever, the Legion is here to help our serving and former members of the Armed Forces and their families. If you know anybody who could benefit from our help, get in touch.
With warm wishes
Zoe White - Brussels Branch Chair
05 April 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 firstname.lastname@example.org