#Story - Belgium

The bridges of Ravels during World War II

Bridge 7 dynamited

Bridge 7 over the canal at Ravels was one such strategic bridge. In December 1939, the municipal administration issued rules of conduct to its residents for when the army destroyed the bridge. The population had to open doors and windows and remove mirrors, picture frames, clocks and other breakable objects from the wall.

On 10 May 1940, the German army invaded Belgium. At 11am, the Belgian army dynamited the bridge of Ravels. The intention was to slow down the German advance on the Kempisch Canal. In vain. Right next to the destroyed bridge, the German troops built an emergency bridge.

Liberators build bailey bridge

In September 1944, the Allied armies advanced north to liberate Belgium. The Germans used the same strategy in Ravels as the Belgians four years earlier: their own emergency bridge flew into the air. But the Allies were also able to build emergency bridges, and on 3 October they installed a bailey bridge over the canal. Moments later, British troops drove into the town centre. Ravels had been liberated!