Belgian resistance movement during WW II)
Every year on or about 7th November the British torch is kindled at the flame of the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior by the Dean of Westminster Abbey. The day after the kindling of the torch the pilgrimage proceeds to Belgium where at Oostende, the members of
UK Banch are welcomed by the Belgian Branch of The British Torch of Remembrance, the mayor of Oostende and distinguished members of different local associations. This is followed by a ceremony at the war memorial in Oostende and the laying wreaths by the different
associations and dignitaries that are present.
The day after the ceremony in Oostende, the British delegates take part at the ceremony of the kindling of
the Belgian Torch or Remembrance in front of the town hall of Roeselare and a parade to Roeselare communal cemetery for a ceremony in honour of the British fallen that are buried there. In the afternoon the British delegation travels in the direction of Ieper
where they participate at the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate in the evening. Next day there is a ceremony in Bredene and the pilgrimage ends on 11th November in
Brussels at the Armistice Day ceremony there.
The British Torch of Remembrance is a completely self-supporting association and does not receive aid nor assistance from
any official or government source whatsoever. We finance our expenses thanks to the gifts donated by supporters and the income generated by the organisation of events.
To you from failing hands we throw
The Torch be your to hold it high
If ye break Faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though Poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.
(Extract uit in Flander’s Fields door LtCol John McCrae)
The “Reason to Be”
“The British Torch of Remembrance Belgian Branch (BTBB)“
What started in the past as a kind of ‘friendship service’ across the borders has grown to an association with more
than 350 members. The BTBB has had its “ups and downs” but due to the energy generated by some enthusiasts it has now become a well known concept in Roeselare, Ieper, West Flanders and even throughout Belgium.
BTBB wants to continue to spread the idea of the “Torch” as a symbol of tolerance and peace and to assure that those who fought here for our fatherland will be honoured for ever; that the military and civilian casualties who died in the struggle
for our freedom will be remembered.
That is why, other than the organization of a yearly ceremony to commemorate the British victims of both world wars in our region, our Anlgo-Belgian association is also present
at a large number of other commemoration ceremonies throughout the country.
The BTBB wants to assure that the youth is adverted that, now the veterans of the “Great War” are no longer here, and
the images of those horrible years of that war are fading, that we have to continue to help avoiding that such atrocities, crimes to humanity, no longer will occur in the humane civilization we strive for.
wars and destructions worldwide are “so far away”. The recollections rising at the occasion of visits to the multitude of cemeteries in our own region bring us back ‘so close’ to all that sorrow.
Tomb of the unknown soldier (Brussels)
Grave of the unknown soldier in Brussels
King Albert I attends the funeral, November 11, 1922
The grave of
the unknown soldier is a monument in Brussels where on 11 November 1922 the mortal remains of an unknown soldier were buried. The monument lies at the foot of the Congress Column, which commemorates the National Congress of 1830, which ratified the Belgian
Constitution. Choice of the unknown soldier 
In 1922, a coffin was dug from five fallen military cemeteries of a fallen Belgian soldier whose name and military grade were unknown. At those cemeteries soldiers were buried who had
been killed during the First World War in battles in Antwerp, Liège, Namur, on the Yser Front and in the zone of the liberation offensive in Flanders. The five coffins were transferred and stored in the Bruges railway station.
November 10, 1922, the Bruggeling and war invalid (he was blind from the battle) Raymond Haesebrouck was taken to the station. General de Longueville asked the veteran to appoint one of the five crates. Haesebrouck chose the fourth box. From then on it was
the symbol for all those who sacrificed themselves for the Belgian Fatherland and are buried under an unnamed cross. The remaining cases were reburied in the military cemetery of Bruges
On November 11, 1922, a special train took the precious
freight to the Brussels North Station, where the coffin was placed on a truck. From there it went to the Congress Column. Along the course an honorary hedge was formed by war disabled and deportees. The coffin was buried with all honor and in the presence
of the royal family in the sepulcher just before the Congress Column. King Albert I spoke these words during the ceremony:
It is of no importance to know whether he is a citizen, workman or farmer, Fleming or Waal; we pay tribute to him
because in our eyes he represents the enduring qualities of our race, because he is an inviolable symbol of the defense of our freedom and unity and independence, and a guarantee for the immortal existence of our Fatherland.
visits and during special occasions, flowers are deposited by the king and his high guests