Tenby May 1940 –
Much has been written about the way in which General van Strydonck de Burkel in Temby (GB) began to reorganize the Belgian armed forces. From 28 May 1940, the very day of the Belgian capitulation, he set up a Belgian Military Regrouping Camp there. The ultimate goal was to have the Belgians take part in the liberation of 1944-45 on the side of the victors.
Some argued that the retired general was in England merely by chance… to buy horses. The image of the general, who brilliantly led Burkel’s cavalry charge in 1918, did indeed lend itself to this legend of the “Generaal Koopman”. In this article we show that the general has already been ordered to reorganize the troops in France. He escaped a German machine gun attack north of Abbeville and was able to escape to London. Ambassador Emile de Cartier de Marchienne took advantage of a flash visit from Minister of National Defense Henri Denis to continue Van Strydonck’s assignment in Great Britain.
He worked practically on his own for five months until the government settled in London and appointed him commander-in-chief in October 1940. His patient work led to the establishment of a well-trained and equipped battle group. From 1942 it was led by young active officers, the most famous of which is certainly Jean-Baptiste Piron.
Google translation from the Dutch version
Militaria Belgica 2021
A publication of the Royal Society of Friends of the Army Museum
(Société royale des Amis du Musée de l’Armée) – Brussels
Original article (in French) with a summary (in Dutch).
Autor: Patrice-Emmanuel Schmitz