Marcel-Henri Jaspar left his colleagues, who remained in Vichy France, in the summer of 1940 to go to London and form a government in exile. He declared a pro-British government on July 5, 1940.
The colonial minister, Albert De Vleeschauwer, left Lisbon and went to London in the hopes of preventing the British government from recognizing Jaspar. He persuaded the British by promising the resources in the Belgian Congo.
Military In Exile
In October 1941 a battalion was formed and based at Tenby, Wales. They grew to 3,000 soldiers but only a little over half were armed. The Pierlot government chose Major Jean Piron to form the new Belgian Army. In 1943 the Piron Brigade was formed and had strength of 2,000 by 1944. It was moved to France in August 1944 and participated in the battle of Arnhem.
There were also about 300 men in commando and Special Air Service (SAS) units. The RAF created a Belgian unit in 1942 with 1,200 men, of which 200 were killed. The Royal Navy had a Section Belge with 300 men. The warships Bodetia and Buttercup were manned by Belgian officers and men.
About 40,000 in the Belgian Congo participated in the East African campaign.
Once Belgium was liberated about 75,000 men joined the Belgian Army and served the remainder of the war.
The Pierlot government regained power and installed Prince Charles as regent. Shortly after an unpopular policy to unarm resistance fighters, Pierlot resigned. The Socialist Archille Van Acker replaced him.