[Willerzie, Belgium] Special Air Service (SAS) Commemoration with multiple Belgian Special Forces jumps

Special Air Service (SAS) Commemoration

with multiple Belgian Special Forces jumps

Authors: Benoit Denet & Martin Gillet.

Lest we forget.

Willerzie, Belgium, Monday September 13th.

© Martin Gillet
© Martin Gillet

Willerzie (in Walloon Vierzeye) is a section of the Belgian municipality of Gedinne located in the province of Namur in the Walloon region.

Bounded to the north by Bourseigne-Vieille, to the east by Rienne, to the south and west by France, the town is bathed by the Hulle river which rises to the south of the village.

© Martin Gillet
© Martin Gillet

On Monday, September 13, 2021, the Special Operations Regiment held an exceptional jump exercise on a drop zone that has not been used since World War II.

© Martin Gillet

Local turnout was quite impressive as the villagers and elected representatives gathered in the village party hall for coffee. Briefing was held by the Special Forces, highlighting the agenda to take place. They also announced that a documentary would be shot onsite during this exercise.

© Martin Gillet
© Martin Gillet

Once the briefing concluded, all guests headed the field where Special Forces were already quite active, taking measurements and setting up the secured perimeter.

© Martin Gillet
© Martin Gillet
© Martin Gillet
© Martin Gillet
Capture for ADS Exchange

Operators from the Special Forces Group have performed a free fall jump during a typical special ops exercise, then marked a drop zone for other troops. Once these specialists have explored and marked the drop zone, the paratroopers jumped from a C-130 registered CH-12, which took off from Melsbroek.

© Martin Gillet

Video Source and Credit (c) Special Operations Regiment

© Benoît Denet
© Benoît Denet
© Benoît Denet

Then, the equipment necessary to support the actions to be carried out was also dropped.

© Benoît Denet
© Benoît Denet
© Benoît Denet

In this unique exercise, the Special Operations Regiment paid a tribute to the oldest member of a WWII resistance network, namely Ms. Georgette Fontaine.

© Martin Gillet
© Martin Gillet
© Martin Gillet
© Benoît Denet
© Martin Gillet
© Martin Gillet

Last pass of C-130 CH-12 was a low pass to greet and take leave from Georgette Fontaine and local guests.

© Benoît Denet
© Benoît Denet

Video Source and Credit (c) Special Operations Regiment

© Benoît Denet

More about these historical facts:

At the time, this resistance network supported the clandestine operations carried out in the region by the Belgian Special Air Service (Belgian SAS).

These Belgian SAS, under the command of Colonel Blondeel, were historically the first troops to enter occupied Belgium.

© Martin Gillet
Colonel Edouard Blondeel – Source Communiqué Special Forces

Operation-SAS “NOAH”

This is a British special forces operation carried out by the Belgian Independent Parachute Company (5th Special Air Service) to establish a base in the Ardennes region occupied by the Germans, and collect information on the forces and positions Germans in the region (August 16 / September 13, 1944).

On the night of August 28th to 29th, 1944, Edouard “Eddy” Blondeel, alias “Captain Blunt”, was parachuted into Operation SAS NOAH with his men: G. d’Oultremont, J. Van Broekhuyzen, R. De Neef, Corporal R. Van Haezendonck, J. Bernard and F. Gétry.

© Martin Gillet

The “Advance party” of this operation, led by Lieutenant Paul Renkin and Claude de Villermont, had already been, during the night of August 15 to 16, 1944, the first allies in uniform to set foot on Belgian territory.

After making contact with the local resistance fighters, they gathered important information and forwarded them to Allied Headquarters.

Source : Communiqué Special Forces

“The team previously arrived had sent a message advising everyone not to join them for the enemy was present in great numbers. Blondeel, however, insisted on going because of the pace at which the battle was progressing. By its leadership and courage, he inspired both the Maquis and his own group. Through a series very successful ambushes, Blondeel and the men under his command have largely helped delay and disrupt the retreat of German troops into the Ardennes.“*

* Source : Traces of war

The operations of the Resistance and the maquisards on the high plateau of Croix-Scaille during World War II.

Georgette Fontaine carried out with the help of her father, her mother and her brothers many missions in benefit of the Resistance since the beginning of the Second World War. They allowed the exfiltration of Allied pilots, whose planes had been shot down in occupied territory, and helped them reach England via France.

From 1943, the Fontaine family became one of the pillars of confidence in the Resistance for the carrying out secret operations, including Operation Citronella during which Marguerite and her daughter Georgette were responsible for receiving clandestine parachutes including packages of weapons and various supplies intended for the Maquis de Manises (FRA) and Croix-Scaille (BEL). Their task was to mark the drop zone using lights.

These jump zones were identified by code words such as “Astrology” (Les vieux Moulins de Thilay), “Bohémiens” (Les Hauts de Buttés) and “Grand Buffle” (Bourseigne / Willerzie). Then followed the destruction of the parachutes, the transport and storage of equipment within of the different maquis.

The family also carried out liaison missions between the maquis of Croix-Scaille and the Manises in order to transmit the last orders and secret information. This maquis were ruled by Belgian, French and English SAS instructors who should travel constantly to avoid German encirclement. The participation of the Fontaine family in this secret operation is described in detail in Marguerite Fontaine’s diary: “Les Vieux Moulins de Thilay, Mecca of la resistance Ardennaise, journal of Marguerite Fontaine ”.

Marguerite Fontaine was decorated as Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur by the French State in 1967 for her extraordinary commitment and assistance to the Resistance.”**

Georgette Fontaine – Source Communiqué Special Forces

**(Source Director Pieter-Jan De Pue)

Source: https://www.aviation24.be/military-aircraft/belgian-defence/willerzie-belgium-special-air-service-sas-commemoration-with-multiple-belgian-special-forces-jumps/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=willerzie-belgium-special-air-service-sas-commemoration-with-multiple-belgian-special-forces-jumps

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