|National shooting range|
|Town or city||B-1030 Schaerbeek, Brussels-Capital Region|
The National shooting range (French : Tir national, Dutch : Nationale Schietbaan) was a firing range and military training complex of 20 hectares (49 acres) situated in the municipality of Schaerbeek in Brussels, Belgium. During World Wars I and II the site was used for the executions of civilians, prisoners and captured members of the Belgian Resistance.
The first range was started in 1859 by then-Prime Minister Charles Rogier, and mayor of Schaerbeek, Eugene Dailly, at the Prince Baudouin barracks at the Place Dailly/Daillyplein.This first range was abandoned in 1886 by the Government due to obsolescence. Modernisation of weapons meant that longer ranges were required.
The Shooting Commission (Commission du Tir) decided to build a larger venue to permit members of the Garde Civique to practise over longer distances. In 1886, work was begun on a plateau at Linthout on the modern Boulevard Reyers/Reyerslaan. The centre opened in 1889. The building included a 600-metre (660 yd) indoor range which was used by the Garde Civique and army until 1945. In 1963, the centre was demolished. The site is now occupied by a media complex for the Belgian public broadcasters RTBF and VRT.
The centre had become a focus of Belgian patriotism. During both world wars, it had been under the control of the occupying German forces and was used for executions. Amongst those executed at the site were the English nurse Edith Cavell (on 12 October 1915) and Gabrielle Petit (on 1 April 1916). In World War II, prisoners held at Saint-Gilles Prison were taken to the Tir national to be executed. The only remaining building is dedicated to Edith Cavell. There is a small cemetery, close to the present television centre, known as the Enclos des fusillés ("Enclosure of the executed"). There are 365 tombs, and a pillar among the graves marks the location of the urn containing the remains of victims of the concentration camps in 1940–1945.
Edith Louisa Cavell was a British nurse and member of La Dame Blanche. She is celebrated for treating wounded soldiers from both sides without discrimination and for covertly helping some 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium and return to active service during the First World War, which in wartime was a death penalty offence under the German military law of the Second Reich. Cavell was arrested and court-martialed for that offence as an act of Kriegsverrat, found guilty, and sentenced to death by firing squad. Despite international pressure for mercy, the German Government ruled that Cavell knew that her acts were punishable; they thus refused to commute her sentence, and she was shot. Her execution, however, received worldwide condemnation and extensive global press coverage arranged by Wellington House.
Execution by firing squad, in the past sometimes called fusillading, is a method of capital punishment, particularly common in the military and in times of war. Some reasons for its use are that firearms are usually readily available and a gunshot to a vital organ, such as the brain or heart, most often will kill relatively quickly.
Schaerbeek or Schaarbeek is one of the 19 municipalities of the Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium. Located in the north-eastern part of the region, it is bordered by the City of Brussels, Etterbeek, Evere and Saint-Josse-ten-Noode. In common with all of Brussels' municipalities, it is legally bilingual (French–Dutch).
Countess Andrée Eugénie Adrienne de Jongh, called Dédée and Postman, was a member of the Belgian Resistance during the Second World War. She organised and led the Comet Line to assist Allied soldiers and airmen to escape from Nazi-occupied Belgium. The airmen were survivors of military airplanes shot down over Belgium or other European countries. Between August 1941 and December 1942, she escorted 118 people, including more than 80 airmen, from Belgium to neutral Spain from where they were transported to the United Kingdom. Arrested by the Nazis in January 1943, she was incarcerated for the remainder of World War II. After the war, she worked in leper hospitals in Africa.
Mount Edith Cavell is a mountain in the Athabasca River and Astoria River valleys of Jasper National Park, and the most prominent peak entirely within Alberta.
Dominique Edgard Antoine Potier was a Belgian airforce officer during World War II who organised an MI9 escape and evasion network, known as Mission Martin in Belgium and the Possum Line in France. Captured and tortured by the Germans, Potier committed suicide.
On 19 April 1943, members of the Belgian Resistance stopped a Holocaust train and freed a number of Jews who were being transported to Auschwitz concentration camp from Mechelen transit camp in Belgium, on the twentieth convoy from the camp. In the aftermath of the attack, a number of others were able to jump from the train too. In all, 233 people managed to escape, of whom 118 ultimately survived. The remainder were either killed during the escape or were recaptured soon afterwards. The attack was unusual as an attempt by the resistance to free Jewish deportees and marks the only mass breakout by deportees on a Holocaust train.
The Comet Line was a Resistance organization in occupied Belgium and France in the Second World War. The Comet Line helped Allied soldiers and airmen shot down over occupied Belgium evade capture by Germans and return to Great Britain. The Comet Line began in Brussels where the airmen were fed, clothed, given false identity papers, and hidden in attics, cellars, and people's homes. A network of volunteers then escorted them south through occupied France into neutral Spain and home via British-controlled Gibraltar. The motto of the Comet Line was "Pugna Quin Percutias", which means "fight without arms", as the organization did not undertake armed or violent resistance to the German occupation.
German military law has a long history.
Gabrielle Alina Eugenia Maria Petit was a Belgian woman who spied for the British Secret Service in German-occupied Belgium during World War I. She was executed in 1916, and was widely celebrated as a Belgian national heroine after the war's end.
The Cavell Van is the prototype Parcels and Miscellaneous Van built by the South Eastern and Chatham Railway in 1919. It is so named because it was the van which carried the body of Edith Cavell when it was repatriated to the United Kingdom following the end of the First World War. The van also carried the bodies of Charles Fryatt and The Unknown Warrior. The three were the only sets of British remains repatriated following the end of World War I. The van served with the South Eastern and Chatham Railway, the Southern Railway and British Railways before entering into preservation at the Kent and East Sussex Railway. The van was fully restored in 2010.
Nurse Cavell is a 1916 Australian feature-length film directed by W. J. Lincoln about the execution of Edith Cavell during World War I. It was also known as Edith Cavell.
Jean-Marie Eugène Derscheid was a Belgian zoologist who focused much of his professional interest on Africa. He was a world expert on breeding exotic waterfowl in captivity, authored scientific articles on a wide range of wildlife species, became the initial director of Africa's first national park and gathered an important historical manuscript collection on Rwandan history
The Edith Cavell Memorial is an outdoor memorial to Edith Cavell by Sir George Frampton, in London, United Kingdom. The memorial is sited in St Martin's Place, beside the A400, just outside the northeast corner of Trafalgar Square, north of St Martin-in-the-Fields, east of the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery, and south of the London Coliseum. The site is adjacent to the first headquarters of the British Red Cross, originally located at 7 St Martin's Place.
Marie Pauline Depage was a Belgian nurse, and wife of Dr Antoine Depage. She was killed in the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, and she is commemorated in Belgium alongside the British nurse Edith Cavell.
Micheline Aline Dumon, , was a member of the Belgian Resistance during World War II with the Comet Line. Her surname often appears misspelled as "Dumont" in historical sources. She was awarded the British George Medal and United States Medal of Freedom for helping allied airmen shot down over Belgium and France evade capture and imprisonment by Nazi Germany. As a member of the Comet Line, founded by Andrée de Jongh, she aided in the escape of more than 250 allied airmen. She guided downed airmen from Belgium and France to the border of neutral Spain from where they could be repatriated to Great Britain.
Mathilde Adrienne Eugénie Verspyck "was a brave woman who was a devoted believer in the cause of freedom, for which she later sacrificed her life," according to her U.S. Medal of Freedom award.
The Enclosure of the executed is a small cemetery, located at the Rue Colonel Bourg in the Brussels municipality of Schaerbeek, where 365 resistance fighters of both world wars are buried.
Arnaud Fraiteur was a Belgian resistance fighter. He was born in Ixelles on 23 May 1924 and died on 10 May 1943 in Fort Breendonk. He was hanged by the Germans for assassinating the Belgian collaborator Paul Colin.
The Edith Cavell Memorial is an outdoor memorial to Edith Cavell located in Kings Domain, Melbourne, Australia. It consists of a marble bust on a granite pedestal; the bust was sculpted by Margaret Baskerville. The memorial was unveiled in November 1926.
Media related to Tir national at Wikimedia Commons