J. J. C. Becquet, 10th August 1941. Born in Brussels on the 5th August 1984, he joined the Belgian Army on the 4th April 1911. He was promoted to Corporal on the 1st June 1911, then to Platoon Sergeant on the 20th April 1913, Company Sergeant on the 5th July 1914, Sergeant Major on the 22nd August 1914, Colour Sergeant on the 19th February 1915, and by 1918 he was a Lieutenant in the 21st Line Regiment.


He received two citations during the Great War, the first simply stating "For the Courage and devotion which he showed during his long period at the front." The second read "An Officer of a calm and cool gallantry, a leader of the highest order, at the front from the beginning of hostilities and outstanding for his imperturbable sangfroid. On 30th September 1918 after a most difficult approach march across soaking, and in some cases flooded, ground and under sustained machine gun fire and artillery fire, he rallied his men and with a superb dash, with himself at their head, rushed an enemy trench; thus showing the greatest contempt of danger." He was once buried alive by a shell burst, and was most impressed that his men returned to dig him out, reasoning that few other officers would have been so fortunate!


When Germany invaded Belgium on the 10th May 1940, Becquet was recalled to the Army, and despite the surrender of his country on the 28th May he continued to fight as part of the Underground Belgian Army, hoping to give the British Army more time to evacuate from Dunkirk. Having destroyed two tanks, Becquet was captured on the 19th June and, branded a troublemaker, was sent directly to Oflag IVC at Colditz. Once the castle began to receive prisoners of other nationalities, he was removed with other Belgians to Oflag VIIB at Eichstatt, and later to Oflag XD at Hamburg. He retired as a Capitaine Commandant of Reserve, equivalent to a Major in British terminology. Copyright: Tim Giddings.