10 April 1896|
4 September 1974 78) (aged|
Free Belgian Forces
|Years of service||1914–1957|
|Commands held||1st Belgian Infantry Brigade|
World War I|
World War II
Lieutenant General Jean-Baptiste Piron DSO (French pronunciation: [ʒɑ̃.ba.tist piʁɔ̃]; 10 April 1896 - 4 September 1974) was a Belgian military officer and noted member of the Free Belgian Forces during World War II. Piron commanded the 1st Belgian Infantry Brigade, also known as the Brigade Piron, which fought on the Allied side in Western Europe in 1944-45.
After joining the army in 1914, he served in the 2nd Line Regiment until being hospitalised for appendicitis in October 1917. Temporarily unfit to serve in the infantry, he was transferred to the air service and became an aerial observer. By the end of the war in 1918, he had been promoted to the temporary rank of Captain (made official in 1933). In 1936 he was promoted to the rank of Major, becoming commander of the 1st Grenadier Regiment.
Second World War
In April 1941, he fled the German occupation of Belgium via France, Spain and Gibraltar, and managed to reach Scotland in January 1942. The following year, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and put in command of the 1st Infantry Brigade (Brigade Piron) by Hubert Pierlot.
After the war he led the Belgian army of occupation in Germany. In 1947 he was promoted to Lieutenant-General in the Belgian army. From 1951 to 1957 he was chief of staff of the army and aide-de-camp to King Baudouin.
Medals and decorations
- Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown with palm
- Grand Officer of the Order of Leopold
- Officer of the Order of Leopold II with crossed swords
- Croix de Guerre 1914–1918, with palm and gilt lion
- Croix de Guerre 1940–1945, with palm
- Military Cross, 1st class
- Victory Medal
- Fire Cross 1914–1918
- Volunteer Combatant's Medal 1914–1918
- 1914–1918 Commemorative War Medal
- Centenary of National Independence Commemorative Medal
- Escapees' Cross 1940–1945
- Commemorative Medal of the War 1940–1945 with crossed sabres
- Grand Officer of the Legion d'honneur
- French Croix de Guerre 1939–1945 with palm
- Grand Cross of the Order of Adolphe of Nassau
- Commander of the Order of the Oak Crown
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Orange-Nassau with crossed swords
- South Korean Order of Military Merit, Taeguk or 1st class
- Companion of the Distinguished Service Order
- 1939–45 Star
- France and Germany Star
- Defence Medal
- "Piron, Jean-Baptiste : Brigade Commander". brigade-piron.be (in French). Retrieved 2 April 2014.
- Georgette Houbion & Jean-Louis Marichal (2015). "History of the Piron Brigade 1940-1945". brigade-piron.be.