Liberation of Brussels

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.

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Commando Kieffer

Commando Kieffer was the common name given to the 1st Battalion Marine Commando Fusiliers, which was created in the spring of 1944. The battalion's first elements joined in Britain under Lieutenant Philippe Kieffer at the turn of the year of 1942. Made up of volunteers from around the globe, an initial muster of some 20 men grew to 80 at the end of 1942. These were selected and trained in British military schools and placed at the disposal of the British army by the Free French authority.

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Executions at Caen prison

From December 1943 on the German repression in Normandy intensified. In six months time over 200 resistance fighters were arrested by the Gestapo, the German secret police. On receiving news of the Allied landings, the German commander of the Caen prison decided to apply standing orders in case of alert. He wanted to send all Gestapo detainees to Germany, to avoid them falling into Allied hands. Other detainees, who were to be judged by Wehrmacht (army) courts, were to be deported to Germany or freed, depending on the gravity of the accusations they faced.

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The battle for Caen

On 6 June 1944 Caen was the main objective for the British 3rd Infantry Division, that had landed on Sword Beach. Firmly positioned to the north and west of the city, two Panzer Divisions prevented the Allies from capturing the city in the first two days. The next few days General Montgomery attempted to take Caen by a pincer movement and attacked the city from the northeast and southwest. On 13 June the offensive was stalled in Villers-Bocage by German Tiger tanks.

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The 51st Highland Division in Normandy

Formed in 1939, the 51st Highland Infantry Division was part of the territorial force; a great number of its men were taken prisoner in May 1940. After it was brought up to strength, the Division was engaged in the campaigns of North Africa in June 1942 and Sicily in July 1943. Highly experienced, the men were repatriated to Britain from November 1943 to prepare for Operation Overlord.

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The 15th Scottish Infantry Division in Normandy

The 15th Scottish Infantry Division served for three years on the Western Front during the First World War. At the start of the Second World War in September 1939 it was remobilised in England. Here it remained until 1943 in training formation.

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Dutch troops in Normandy

The Dutch Brigade landed at the same day as the Belgian 1st Infantry Brigade, on 8 August 1944, in Graye-sur-mer and Arromanches as part of ongoing reinforcements sent to Normandy. 1,200 men attached to the 6th British Airborne division operated under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Albert de Ruyter van Stevenink. The unit was created in February 1941 in England with Dutch soldiers who had escaped after the German Occupation of the Netherlands in 1940. Numbers were subsequently made up with Dutch men from the United Kingdom, the Unites States, Canada and South Africa.

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Belgian troops in Normandy

As the Allies pushed towards the city of Falaise, the front was reinforced in the North with the arrival of the 1st Belgian Infantry Brigade consisting of 2,200 men (including 350 from Luxembourg) and 500 vehicles, who landed on 8 August at Courseulles and Arromanches. The unit was formed in early 1943 in England by the Belgian Prime Minister in exile. It reunited the various Belgian ground force units hither to dispersed within the British Army: survivors from 1940, volunteers from the colonies and Legionnaires from North Africa.

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Loenen Field of Honour

Over 3,900 war victims are buried at Loenen Field of Honour and include those who lost their lives in different places around the world due to various circumstances. There are military personnel, members of the resistance, people who escaped the Netherlands and went to England during the first years of the WWII to join the Allies (‘Engelandvaarders’) and victims of reprisal and forced labour. Those who died during the Indonesian War of Independence, military casualties from New Guinea and victims of peacekeeping missions in Korea, Lebanon, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Mali are also buried here.

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The battle of Woensdrecht

Woensdrecht was an important town for the Allies since it was the only land entrance to South-Beveland and Walcheren. If the Canadians could capture the town the German forces to the west would be cut off from the rest of their army. Woensdrecht was the first key objective for safeguarding the Scheldt estuary.

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