Tir national

Last updated
National shooting range
Tir national.jpg
The Tir national in 1872, etching by Ch. Trumper from L'Illustration européenne
Tir national
General information
Town or cityB-1030 Schaerbeek, Brussels-Capital Region
Country Belgium
Coordinates 50°51′10″N4°24′12″E / 50.852778°N 4.403333°E / 50.852778; 4.403333
Construction started1886
Known forExecutions

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. [1] 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. [1]

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.

People executed at the Tir national

War memorial on Rue Colonel Bourg, Schaerbeek Schaerbeek Rue Colonel Bourg Enclos des fusilles 02.jpg
War memorial on Rue Colonel Bourg, Schaerbeek
The Enclos des fusilles where the people executed at the Tir national are buried Schaerbeek Rue Colonel Bourg Enclos des fusilles 03.jpg
The Enclos des fusillés where the people executed at the Tir national are buried

World War I

World War II

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  1. 1 2 Tir National.
  2. O'Sullivan, Donal (2010). Dealing with the Devil: Anglo-Soviet Intelligence Cooperation in the Second World War. Peter Lang. p. 158. ISBN   978-1-4331-0581-4.


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50°51′11″N4°24′25″E / 50.853°N 4.407°E / 50.853; 4.407