The Netherlands / Monument
The Monument voor Belgische Militairen was erected in memory of 25 men of the Piron Brigade who fell in the vicinity of Thorn after they liberated the white town on 25 September 1944. On 9 September 1982, the monument was unveiled in the presence of a battalion from Leopoldsburg related to the Piron Brigade.
Like the Princess Irene Brigade, the Piron Brigade had been recruited and trained in England for combat on the European mainland. The men came from Belgium and Luxembourg and were assigned to the 8th British Army. On 25 September 1944, they liberated Thorn without significant resistance. However, that quickly changed. The German troops supplied reinforcements continuously. The Belgians on the other hand, faced a dire shortage of manpower while they, by order of the British, had to guard and protect a relatively large area against German patrols that appeared again and again behind the lines. Morale suffered so much that some 40 soldiers refused to march towards the front on 4 October. It took Commander Jean-Baptiste Piron a great deal of persuasion to get the men back into line. He waived disciplinary action for conscientious objection. A total of 25 men of the Piron Brigade were killed during the battle on the front at Thorn.