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wilkokcl

Belgian Agents

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wilkokcl

I've just posted a list of one of the MICs I have in case it can be of help to a fellow member. In doing so I have noticed the following person:

Medal card of Sortet, Ernest

Corps Regiment No Rank

Belgian Agents

Catalogue reference WO 372/18

I'm wondering:

What were the Belgian Agents?

Why does he qualify for a MIC?

Is he Belgian?

Why no regimental number?

Am sure someone will know as always,

Mark.

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greatspywar

Hello Mark,

Belgian Agents were Belgian civilians in British service, but not with a regiment. They were working for the War Office or the British GHQ. Actually they were spies: Belgian Intelligence agents. Together with the French and the Belgian GHQ there were about 7 000 of them. One agent on four was arrested by the Germans (about 27%). This is about 1 900 agents of who 280 were shot by the Germans. This is 15% which is fairly high.

These agents worked together in networks. 60% of the spies who were shot were in British service.

There is a large archive in Brussels on these men and women (1 on 4 was a women)

Kind regards,

Jan

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wilkokcl

Jan,

Many thanks for that information - I had tried searching on google and the reference books I have but couldn't find anything.

Much appreciated,

Mark.

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greatspywar

Hello Mark,

There hasn't been published a lot on the subject. I guess nobody finds it interesting enough. There is one good book. It was published in Jan 2005, but it is written in French. I've read and used in my dissertation, but that is in Dutch. If you need anything in particular, you can always mail me.

If your man was a Belgian intelligence agent, he should be mentioned in the large (25 meters) archives named Archives Services Patriotique (Patriotic Services Archives). It hasn't got an inventory, so looking for one man in particular is a needle in a haystack. It will take a lot of time. But don't let that scare you :ph34r:

You would need the name of the network he was part of, or a place where he lived, or what medals he have received.

Kind regards,

Jan

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greatspywar

Hmm, He has added some new medals to the Resistance section... . I wrote a biographie on Charles Waegenaer.

Kind regards,

Jan

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BatterySergeantMajor

To make things clear: this is very likely 2nd WW?

Erwin

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Guest yve
Hello Mark,

There hasn't been published a lot on the subject. I guess nobody finds it interesting enough. There is one good book. It was published in Jan 2005, but it is written in French. I've read and used in my dissertation, but that is in Dutch. If you need anything in particular, you can always mail me.

If your man was a Belgian intelligence agent, he should be mentioned in the large (25 meters) archives named Archives Services Patriotique (Patriotic Services Archives). It hasn't got an inventory, so looking for one man in particular is a needle in a haystack. It will take a lot of time. But don't let that scare you :ph34r:

You would need the name of the network he was part of, or a place where he lived, or what medals he have received.

Kind regards,

Jan

Hello Jan,

I'm very interesting on your dissertation even if it's in Dutch. Is it possible to have a copy ? I'm looking for informations about connections between french network in the area of Lille (particulary train-watcheurs) and the means of transmitting the informations in Holland trough belgian agents. Have you seen something about this ?

Best regards

Yve

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Jacky Platteeuw

Are there figures available of the number of BWM's presented to the Belgian agents ?

Jacky

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Terry_Reeves

Jackie

451 accordingto the Medal Card Index at the National Archive.

Terry Reeves

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greatspywar
To make things clear: this is very likely 2nd WW?

Erwin

Hello Erwin,

It is WW1!!! You can be sure about that? You can take a look into my dissertation at the Museum.

Kind regards,

Jan

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wilkokcl

Yes it's WWI - I raised this question after see the term 'Belgian Agent' on the WWI Medal Index Cards on the PRO website and not knowing what it was.

Now I know.....

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greatspywar

Hello Yve,

Thé Great War Resistance was train watching and passing the report into neutral Holland. I can tell you dozens of stories of this kind.

Basically:

in Folkstone the British recruited Belgian/French refugies. They went back to their hometown. Theu selected a few people whom they think they can trust and the netwerk is organised. They try to watch different railways or railway junctions 24/7. As soon a report is finished (one, twice, three times a week, they bring it to a courrier, who brings it to another, an another and so on and on and on, till it safely in the offices in neutral Holland.

But: sometimes there are traiters among them who go to the German polcie and tell everything. The network gets arrested, a trail begins, people are condemned to death, others to lifelong sentences, other are being sent to Germany, etc etc etc. The condemned ones are shot by firing squad and buried. After the war they are the heroes! Nowadays, nobody knows... . Their graves and monuments still exsist! I have found plenty. It all in the Dissertation.

I can send you a copy on cd (PDF) (the paper one is over 400 pages, and I only have two left.)

PM me or send me an email on archives@passchendaele.be (write German firing squad in subject line please)

If you have a specific name of the network or men/women involved in the network, I might have some details.

If you have more questions, don't hesitate.

Kind regards,

Jan

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greatspywar

forgot to mention: a lot of these Intelligence Agents have received high decorations: French Legion d'Honneur, British MBE, OBE (some civil, other military). They also go high Belgian decorations.

Kind regards,

Jan

ps. If anyone ever find medals awarded to Belgian Agents... please let me know :ph34r:

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Jacky Platteeuw

Jan I can't attach photos don't know why. Are you coming to documentation centre next wednesday ? I will bring a BWM + mentioned in Haig's Despatches to a Belgian agent with me.

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greatspywar

Hello Jacky,

I'm not coming. I have plenty of werk at the museum. Who was the BWM awarded to?

Kind regards,

Jan

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edwin astill
Hello Jacky,

I'm not coming. I have plenty of werk at the museum. Who was the BWM awarded to?

Kind regards,

Jan

Not all Belgian agents would appear to have worked for the allies. Some work I am doing on the diaries of Alexander Johnston point to Belgians working for the Germans, and of anti-British feelings amongst locals around Ypres. I guess farming communities anywhere would rather not have soldiers of any kind messing up their lives. Spy scares aside, given the tensions between the different liguistics groups in Belgium, what is known about the use of locals (as opposed to Germans left lurking behind lines) as spies by the Germans?

Edwin Astill

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greatspywar

There were Belgian spies in service of the Germans as well. The Germans even had a school for spies in Antwerp.

Some Belgian/French were jaleous for some personal reason and reported the spying activities f their fellow counrtymen to the German Kommandantur. These men and women were trialed after the war.

Kind regards,

Jan

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marc glorieux

Jan,

maybe a difficult or delicate question ...

can you give me any sight about the number of belgian spys & spying activities

1. for the allied and also for the german side;

2 and also for the flemisch and the french part of belgium ? (as result of the "german flamenpolitik"?)

regards

Marc

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green_acorn

Could I also suggest that some may like to read the books published in the 1930's by Henry Landau, he was the British Officer who ran some of the networks from Holland. The books are "All's Fair", Spreading the Spy Net" and Secrets of the White Lady"

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greatspywar

Jacky,

I will be there tomorrow. I have some urgent research to do. Will you bring the medal?

Kind regards,

Jan

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greatspywar
can you give me any sight about the number of belgian spys & spying activities

1. for the allied and also for the german side;

2 and also for the flemisch and the french part of belgium ? (as result of the "german flamenpolitik"?)

Hello Marc,

1. Allied spies: 7 000 in Belgium and occupied France from 1914 till the Armistice in 1918

German spies: n/a, I haven't reserached this.

2. Flemish speaking/French speaking: around 50% was in allied service. I don't have numbers on Flemish/French in German service.

kind regards,

Jan

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Jacky Platteeuw

Jan,

I will bring it with me. Possibly it will be around 11am when I will be there. It is named to F. Tanghe.

Jacky

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speedy_belgium
Hello Mark,

Belgian Agents were Belgian civilians in British service, but not with a regiment. They were working for the War Office or the British GHQ. Actually they were spies: Belgian Intelligence agents. Together with the French and the Belgian GHQ there were about 7 000 of them. One agent on four was arrested by the Germans (about 27%). This is about 1 900 agents of who 280 were shot by the Germans. This is 15% which is fairly high.

These agents worked together in networks. 60% of the spies who were shot were in British service.

There is a large archive in Brussels on these men and women (1 on 4 was a women)

Kind regards,

Jan

Hey,

i'm picking up this old subject because i'm investigating the medals i inherited from my forefather.

He has a British war medal, and surfings the internet i came across this fourm and the British National archives.

Now i have the MIC of my forefather (Joseph Van Hove), i know he was also a Belgian Agent.

This would make sense since he worked for the railroad company in Belgium.

But on the MIC there is also mentioning "P.O.W. Helpers.101"

Anyone knows what this would mean ?

Also on the top of the MIC is mentioned P of W medal. is that another kind of medal ?

Because i have one medal for which i can not find anything of it's meaning.

Do you have an adress for the archive in Brussels ?

Thanks in advance,

Kris.

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