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Remembered Today:

Who paid Belgian soldiers?


Guest Desmond6
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Guest Desmond6

When I was looking at a Western front map, the thought came to me - who paid those Belgian soldiers who fought to defend the tiny bit of their country which was behind allied lines?

I assume the Belgian government was able to arrange 'credit' of some description from the other allies or did they?

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Yes indeed.

the Belgian gouvernement lended a lot of money to Britain and the USA.

The Belgian soldier was the worst payed soldier of the Western Front!

I will look up his wage (if possible) in shillings.

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Guest Desmond6

Thanks B - And a few more things in relation to the original.

When did they get to spend it and where did they go for 'leave'?

How often were Belgian units circulated out of the trenches?

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When did they get to spend it and where did they go for 'leave'?

They went on leave in villages as Alveringhem, Houthem, sometimes Veurne.

The mostely used the money to drink a beer, bye tobacco.

Then they changed tobbaco with the French or the Brits for food, canteens (a French canteen was much bigger than a Belgian one, and the recieved a ration coffee of 1 canteen each), sometimes even for ammunition (our ace Olieslaghers did for flares to shoot down German balloons).

How often were Belgian units circulated out of the trenches?

This i know for the trench of death: 1 day guard per month, then second lines...

But from a dairy i know also this:

He was on leave for 2 weeks and then he had to defend a trench from january till march, each week they changed 1st and second lines.

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B

Do you know how the Begian Army was equipped? Rifles, artillery, uniforms etc? They must have had to rely on either the British or French for supplies.

Tim

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I am sure Kristof will know far more than I in order to answer your specific questions, but I did read that in 1915 the Belgian Army received lots of khaki material from Britain from which to fashion their new uniforms - to replace their old 19th C. designs - so it was purely chance by that they wore this colour.

Richard

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In 1915 The Belgians still used the special French made dark grey uniform called the Yser tunic.

It is in 1916 that The Belgian army ordered Khaki tunic from the French. BUT the French couldn't (wouldn't?) not deliver them fast enough, so they also bought Brit tunics who were modified, some say it are Canadians, because some Canadian regiments (like the 723nd Seaforth Highlanders of Canada) had the same tunics.

So the colour is really cocidered and chosen, but it is almost like the British khaki.

In the Belgian army they talk of mustard colour.

under this a picture of the Yser tunic.

post-3-1090870237.jpg

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Brit made tunics.

I was lucky to find 2 times the same guy. I bopught them with more than 1 year inbetween and on different spots!!!!

post-3-1090870318.jpg

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again that guy in a British made tunic!

post-3-1090870367.jpg

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another one

post-3-1090870405.jpg

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the French made tunic:

post-3-1090870455.jpg

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Thanks very much for your information B!

Nice old pictures.

Des

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the last model, late 1917 beginning 1918 is the US made tunic (one of my collection):

post-3-1090870808.jpg

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The Belgian army used also a lot of "loan" equipment:

- Brit P08 Webbing (but never found a real proof on a picture)

- Brit canteens (seen on a picture)

- French canteens (for the coffee ration, seen on a picture)

- Brit mess tins (seen on a picture)

- French mess kits (seen on an picture)

- French Lebel rifles

- French Berthier rifles to use as grenade launcher (the VB) with the Tromblon (i forgot the name of the special grenade; seen on pics)

- British Mills grenades (seen on pics)

- Italian / French Besozzi grenades (seen on pics)

- British waders (seen on pics)

- Some say the even used Smle's (never seen on a picture)

- Italian Arditi armour (seen on pics)

- US / belgian made Colt 1910 MG's (on pics)

- German Maxims (on pics)

- British haversack (on pics)

- British and French boots (on pics)

- and a lot of other stuff i forgot...

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can anyone tell what grenades they are charging????

http://photos.groups.yahoo.com/group/belgi...view=t&.hires=t

are it French OF 1 grenades??

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Thanks Kristof

It's great to have someone so knowledgeable about the Belgian Army on this forum - you are a mine of information!

Cheers

Tim

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Is it also possible - did the Belgian Army have one battle which cost more than any other? Did they for example have one particular action which had a national effect on memory which has lasted down through the years?

Put bluntly, was there a Belgian 'Somme'? Or a Belgian 'Verdun'?

Thanks again for info.

Des

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There were 2 big battles:

in 1914 The Battle at Tervate Brug (bridge) 17 - 31 october:

The Germans crossed the Yser river. The Belgians luanch a big counter offensive.

1/4 of all fallen of WW1 die is this battle.

There is even a special medal for it: The Yser medal (see picture attached)

in 1918 The battle of Houthulst forest 28 september till half october:

Fierce battles in the forrest of houthulst.

This end offensive costs again 1/4 of all fallen.

Inbetween there were a lot of smaller battles, but also important.

Mostley it were German attacks: 1915 Steenstraete (gas) is one of them.

post-3-1090880249.jpg

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Once again, thanks for your prompt reply and useful info. Now I must find out more for myself! You have done more than enough!

Best wishes

Des

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I am glad some are interested in poor little Belgium ;)

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Geordie Lad

Yes the forgotten Army the Belgians

Every little bit helped win the war for the Allies

Another forgotten army where the Indians

Regards Geordie Lad

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There are some very interesting facts about the way Belgium continued to conduct the war.

Did you know, for example, that the Belgian government in exile (in France) established munitions factories in England, that built up production and made the Belgian army largely self-sufficient by 1917-18?

Or that many Belgian soldiers, officers in particular, had periods of leave in England?

I give a talk about the experience of the Belgian army. I'll see if I still have the electronic copy of my notes and I'll put them in here.

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