Luxembourg Battery Brigade Piron



More than one hundred Luxembourgers volunteered for the 1st Belgian Infantry Brigade ‘Brigade Piron’. Most of them constituted the ‘Luxembourg Battery’, an artillery unit (troop C) composed of four 25 pounder (artillery guns) which were named after the Luxembourg princesses. Brigade Piron had fought in the Battle of Normandy and took part in the liberation of Belgium and the Netherlands.

As a reaction to the introduction of forced labour service by the Nazis in 1941, the first young men decided to leave Luxembourg to join Great Britain’s forces to fight against Hitler. Many of them were arrested on their way through France and so volunteered for the French Foreign Legion.

From the second half of 1942 onwards, after the introduction of forced military service in the German Army, the number of young men leaving Luxembourg grew further. Deserters and prisoners of war looked to join the Allied forces to participate in the fight for the liberation of Europe.

After the landing of the Allies in North Africa, the French Government allowed young people from Luxembourg to join the 1st Belgian Infantry Brigade, where they formed troop C in the Artillery Unit ‘Luxembourg Battery’. A total of 98 Luxembourgers were integrated into this unit until June 1944. In September 1944, a further 46 volunteers from Luxembourg joined the Brigade and became part of the 3rd Infantry Company.

On 7 August 1944, the 1st Belgian Infantry Brigade set foot on the soil of Normandy. They were under the command of Lieutenant Colonel J.B. Piron. The Brigade Piron’ participated in the battles in Normandy, liberating Trouville, Deauville and Honfleur. From 31 August to 1 September they crossed the River Seine and progressed towards Brussels, which was liberated on 4 September. Pushing North, the ‘Brigade Piron’ eventually liberated the city of Thorn in the Netherlands. In 1945, the Brigade took part in the occupation of the Ruhr area (British sector).

In June 1945, the Luxembourgers were demobilised and finished their service with a military parade in front of thousands of their compatriots in Luxembourg city. Whilst the Brigade lost 80 members during the fighting campaigns, no Luxembourger lost their life.