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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

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My father was entering the Belgian ' Rijkswacht ' (State Police) afther his military service at 1928 . The Rijkswacht was a police organisation under military command as a part of the Belgian Army . They were not military police but but in service of the Belgian Justice . Detached at Antwerp and Malines (Mechelen) before the outbreak of the war his orders were to protect law and order . This means he have many contacts and fights with smuggler in the vicinity of the Belgian / Dutch frontier ! I write this because it is important for the story during wartime .

By the German invasion on Belgium , Netherland and France at May 10 1940 and the trowback of the Belgian Army direction Schelde defence line the army used his Rijkswacht as a sort of scouts or recce . They stay behind to report the sort of armament the enemy used . On such an action my father lost his first friend by an German artillery expolsion ! Afther the surrender of the Belgian Army on May 28 1940 my father was taken prisoner of war but soon afther the Rijkswacht in total was released in possesion of there small arms to keep law and order on the streets . My father was detached to the military airfield of Melsbroek as a guard . He and his collegaes taked note of the armament of the German bombers , munition loaded , number of planes taking of and make it over to te resistance ! The resistance called London in ! Many times they leased the proper service guns to the resistance members and missing munition was reported as ' fight with smugglers' . Certain moment 2 German ' feldwebel' were killed by an attack on a small German munition transport . From that moment my father and his mate were on the run (1941) . He could not reach my mother or other family so he stays on the move and had many helps from his former enemies the smugglers ! These lawless guys were specialised in undercover movements . They even provide my mother with meat , butter , bread and milk ! 14 days before Malines was liberated by the Brits my fathers friend and mate on the run was captured by the Germans an executed without trial ! 

After the liberation of most of Belgium (the was wasn't over yet) my father was detached as Belgian Rijkswachter to te British C.I.D. (Criminal Investigation Detachment) to coördinate the research on the thefst of military goods . Desertors from allied armies had formed gangs and stolen  everything they need to sale . CID hunted them over all the liberated countries ! Finally my father ended his career as a member of the United States Counter Inteligence Company (the C.I.C.) in helping the search on war criminals (his collaborating nefew was one) .

Father survived all this . But what he have seen and done marked him for the rest of his live . But thats an other story that stays in private spheres . 

Rest me only to apologizes for the bad English writing . Photo's and papers can you find on ABLhistoryforum.be . Scroll to Rijkswacht , scroll to Rijkswacht in moeilijke jaren .

Edited by Leo Stroobants
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Thanks for telling this amazing story, Leo. Another prime example of what life under the Nazi boot was like and how "enemies" can become friends in a heartbeat if you have a common enemy.

 

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Hey Joris , very amazing ! Around 1966 i haved the luck to visit some of the old smugglers with my father . They were still a bunch of irregular oldtimers ! One of them was became blind as the result of drinking his own produced ' ouwe klare ' . Very special to me was the behavior of my father with his old enemies / friends . I knowned him as an old policeman and an correct father , but observing him then , he must be an outlaw during his undercover wartime to ! . 

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It is amazing what a struggle for survival can bring about in people! It must have been pretty cool to meet the people who helped your father in the war. 

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