5th (Merckem) Infantry Brigade in Northern Ireland

In 1945, 5th (Merckem) Infantry Brigade arrived in Co. Armagh and Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland to train as part of what would become the new Belgian Army.

5th (Merckem) Infantry Brigade of the Belgian Army arrived in Northern Ireland to begin training after 4th June 1945. This brigade, raised on 4th May 1945, consisted of volunteers and conscripts already with service in the Second World War.

In Northern Ireland, Brigade Headquarters operated from Stramore House, Gilford, Co. Down. 1st Battalion set up camp at Caledon, Co. Armagh, 2nd Battalion at Tynan Rectory, Co. Armagh, and 3rd Battalion at Tynan Abbey, Co. Armagh. Their commanding officer during this time was Colonel Couvreur until 13th September 1945. His replacement Colonel Vanderhaeghen took over on 14th September 1945.

The brigade remained in Northern Ireland until the winter of 1945. Between 9th December 1945 and 15th December 1945, they left for Britain, where they trained until March 1946. By 3rd March 1946, 5th (Merckem) Infantry Brigade served in occupied Germany. They returned to Belgium on 12th July 1946.

Belgian Army in Northern Ireland

Map showing Alexander House, Caledon, Co. Tyrone

Alexander House, Caledon, Co. Tyrone

37 Main Street, Caledon, Co. Tyrone

Alexander House stands on the main street of Caledon, Co. Tyrone. During the Second World War, it was a home to Officers of 5th (Merckem) Infantry Brigade.

Map showing Caledon Camp, Caledon, Co. Tyrone

Caledon Camp, Caledon, Co. Tyrone

Caledon, Co. Tyrone

Caledon Camp was home to British, American, and Belgian soldiers at various stages of World War Two. The Belgian soldiers arrived for training in 1945.