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Baron van Strydonck de Burkel
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General van Strydonck de Burkel in London, 1943
Birth name Victor Jean Clement van Strydonck de Burkel
Born (1876-07-16)16 July 1876
Died 4 August 1961(1961-08-04) (aged 85)
Place of birth Antwerp, Belgium
Place of death Etterbeek, Belgium
Service/branch Belgian Army
Rank General
Commands held Chief of the Belgian Military Mission to Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force
Battles/wars Charge of Burkel

Lieutenant general BEM Victor Jean Clement, Baron van Strydonck de Burkel (van Strijdonck de Burkel in Dutch, born 16 July 1876 Antwerp; died 4 August 1961 Etterbeek)[1][2] was a general of the Belgian Army and the primary architect of the formation of the Free Belgian Forces after Belgium's surrender on May 28, 1940.

First World War[]

In 1918, as an officer in the 1st Regiment of Guides, Victor van Strydonck commanded the last cavalry charge in western Europe, the successful Charge of Burkel. For his role in the charge, van Strydonck was made a baron and given the title "de Burkel" in 1937, the location of the battle.

Service in the 1930s and 1940s[]

A cavalry officer, van Strydonck de Burkel commanded the Cavalry School (1920–1923) and the 1st Cavalry Division (1928–1933), served as the inspector-general of the Belgian Gendarmerie (1933–1939), and was the commander of the Cavalry Corps (1933–1939) prior to World War II. Strydonck received his barony for the now famous cavalry charge he lead along wet cobblestones that ultimately won the Battle of Burkel for the Allies.

During the 1940 invasion of Belgium by Germany, van Strydonck de Burkel commanded the 1st Military Zone. After Belgium's surrender in 1940, he became the Commander in Chief of Belgian ground forces in Great Britain, and presided over the gradual organization of the 1st Belgian Infantry Brigade, a unit that later fought in the campaign in northwestern Europe. In 1941 he became the inspector-general of the Belgian ground forces in Great Britain.

After the Allies re-entered northwestern Europe in 1944, van Strydonck de Burkel became the Chief of the Belgian Military Mission to Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF).[3]

Notes[]

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