The Evader's Cross 1940-1945
Despite its simple title there's more to this decoration than at first sight meets the eye : it is awarded to those who escaped, during the war, from Belgium, another enemy-occupied country or from Germany itself and subsequently proved their patriotism. This last condition is the one that makes this decoration rather special as the recipient had - after his or her escape - to have either operated within a resistance group, spend a minimum of three months in jail for a patriotic cause, or have travelled clandestinely to take part in a Belgian action which served the continuation of the struggle against the enemy. Escaped POW's could obtain the cross if they fulfilled this last condition too. Later the exigencies for award of the Evader's Cross were extended to those that escaped, even from an unoccupied territory, to Great Britain in order to continue the combat. Thus those escaping from surrounded Dunkirk between 28 May and 2 June 1940 became eligible as did those that joined the Belgian forces in Britain before 1 November 1940 from unoccupied France or French North-Africa.
The Evader's Cross was instituted on 25 February 1944 by the Belgian Government in exile in London. The reverse of the cross is plain.
© Hendrik Meersschaert, 2017