History and goal
Foundation and objective:
On 12 June 1980, Staf Mertens, then Major SBH, took the initiative to found a circle of friends Para-Commando in the Leuven area. He was aware of the fact that there was an important potential of veterans Para-Commando in the Leuven area and that there was a need to bring these people together in an association, using the existing national structures.
The call was published in various regional newspapers with the aim of bringing together all former Parachutists, Commandos and Paracommandos who had obtained an "A" certificate as a Commando and/or "A" certificate as a Parachutist in the bosom of the Belgian Army and had served honourably, into a circle of friends. At a later stage, sympathisers and cadets were also admitted, under strict conditions.
It became a success. From Leuven but also from outside Leuven, Tienen, Aarschot, Vilvoorde, Diest, etc...the call was answered, and soon a core of people presented themselves who, as former or active Para-Commandos, would make the good weather of our circle of friends. The first meeting took place on 12 June 1980 at Café 'Groenveld' on the Tervuurse Poort in Leuven. 25 veterans of the Regiment Para-Commandos were present
First task was to put together a board and apply for recognition at the National Office of the A.N.P.C.V. (Amicale Nationale Para-Commando Vriendenkring) in Brussels, where its headquarters are located.
The National Management Council of the A.N.P.C.V. recognised the new association as, A.N.P.C.V. Regional Leuven and had set itself the goal of doing everything possible in the framework of the A.N.P.C.V. to safeguard and defend the Para-Commando traditions as well as the constitutional freedoms of the Belgian Community.
Its membership evolved from 25 in 1980 to more than 128 in 2022. Every year members sadly dropped out, but new members joined.
Throughout its existence, our Leuven Branch was managed by several boards.
From 12 June 1980 to 25 June 1982
President Maj.Staf Mertens (1), Srt: Lt (Res) Eric de Neeff, Treasurer: Lt (Res) Christian Goidts
From 25 June 1982 to 29 March 1984.
President Lt (Res) Eric de Neeff, (2) Srt. Charles Lamin, Treasurer Lt. (Res) Christian Goidts (3).
From 29 March 1984 to 18 December 1986.
President Charles Lamin (4), Srt. Christian Vandeput, Treasurer Jos Aerts.
From 18 December 1986 to February 1992.
President 1Sgt(Res) Christian Vandeput (5) , Srt. Jacques Grauls, Treasurer Jos Aerts.(1990) from 1990 Willy Deweer.
From February 1992 until December 1992
President Louis Crab (6) until May 1992 resigned, Srt and d.d. Rev Guido Ruppol, Treasurer Willy Deweer.
From December 1992 to December 1998
President Jacques Grauls (7), Srt. François Cuypers, Treasurer Willy Deweer.
From December 1998 to September 2004.
President. Honorary Col SBH bd Staf Mertens (8), Srt. Jozef Van den Eynde, Treasurer. 1Sgt(Res) Willy Van Loo.
From September 2004 to January 2017.
President 1SgtMaj (Res) or Christian Vandeput (9), Srt. Jozef Van den Eynde (until 2003), Frans Claes, Treasurer 1Sgt(Res) Willy Van Loo.
From January 2017 to January 2018.
President Roger Robert, Srt. Jos Aerts, Treasurer Willy Van Loo (10).
From January 2018
President. Roger Robert, Srt. Jos Aerts, Treasurer Dominique (Dompy) De Geest
(1) By the appointment of Major Staf Mertens as CO of the 1st Battalion Parachutists succeeded by Lt(Res) de Neeff.
(2) By the preparation of Lt(Res) Eric de Neeff for examination to Major(Res) succeeded by Charles Lamin.
(3) Due to the preparation of Lt(Res) Christian Goidts for examination to Major (Res) succeeded by Jozef Aerts.
(4) Due to professional obligations, Charles Lamin was succeeded by 1Sgt (Res) Chrstian Vandeput.
(5) Due to his military commitments (B1 course) in the Reserve Framework, 1Sgt (Res) Chrstian Vandeput was succeeded by Louis Crab.
(6) By resignation was succeeded by Jacques Grauls.
(7) Made his place available.
(8) Due to political commitments was succeeded by 1SgtMaj (Res) Chris Vandeput.
(9) After years of effort, more than a deserved rest and was succeeded by Roger ROBERT
(10) Due to death Willy Van Loo
Numerous social and sports activities were arranged and previous events of a patriotic nature are participated in.
Here is a small anthology:
1981: Our very first outing. A trip to the 'Beekse Bergen' and then to the Airborne
Museum in Arhnem.
1982: Participation in the 40th Anniversary Parachute and Commando celebrations at Diest and Namen.
Schaal A.N.P.C.V. Regionale Leuven was awarded to the best platoon that showed itself the best in group sports. (Internal competition among the different platoons).
This had to be unfortunately dropped due to the heavy programme of the 1st Bn Para.
1983: Start of our participation in the "Golden Spike"
1984: Commemoration 20 Years of Operation Stan & Paulis also called" Operation Red & Black Dragon".
First participation in the St Michel celebration by the Union Nationale des Parachutistes (Fr) in Paris.
First participation in the commemoration "Battle of the Bulge" Hoton - Bure
Inauguration of our premises in Vital Decosterstraat in Leuven.
1985: A march was organised for the first time on 23 and 24 November. The Red & Black Dragon March was born. This was in memory of the armed humanitarian operations at Stanleystad and Paulis. First edition with a participant field of 96 and has grown to date to 1250 participants.
Setting up of "Devils Raid" in Meerdaal forest. Discontinued due to lack of participants from other regionals.
1986: First participation in the "Airborne Forces Day" in Aldershot (UK).
In September we dispose of our own banner donated by Garage Gewelt.
1987: Participation in the 45th anniversary of the Regiment ParaCdo and 40 years of TrgC Para
Art exhibition in our premises by Bruno Foltin
Welcoming of British veterans of the Parachute Regiment with reception at the Leuven town hall. Participation in the commemoration at Hoton and Bure "Battle of the Bulge" and to finish a visit to the Artois brewery.
Exhibition of Para badges from all over the world. Property of Jozef Vanden Eynde
1988: Participation in the annual Airborne Forces day in Aldershot UK, Battle of the Bulge and others.
1989: Participation in the annual Airborne Forces day at Aldershot UK, Battle of the Bulge and others.
1990: Commemoration of our 10th anniversary by a two-day celebration at the Captain De Hemptinne Quarter in Heverlee, with participation of the 1st Bn Parachutists, a platoon of Air Commandos and several other regionals.
Visit with our English Paratroopers to the Brewery "De Kluis" in Hoegaarden.
1993: Fraternisation with "Amicale Parachutistes de la Lorraine" Nancy (France), under the honorary chairmanship of the widely known French General Bigeard
1993: First commemoration the death of SAS Lt Charles Mathijs, in the presence of Colonel Blondeel.
Trip to Normandy: Commemoration 50 years of "D DAY".
2006: Our classroom in very poor condition and thanks to the then RSM Chris Lauwers, we were given accommodation in the Quarter 'Captain De Hemptinne' in Heverlee.
2009: First contact with the U.N.P. (Union National des Parachutistes) Section 591 Lille Fr.
2010: A black page in our existence. Due to restructuring of the Belgian Army, we were forced to leave our two small premises.
Our British friends also suffered from the reforms. Regiments stationed at Aldershot were dispersed across the UK.
Resumption of our visit to the Airborne Forces Day and fraternisation with the English Paratroopers from Portsmouth (Pompey Branch).
Fraternisation with the Regional Brabant.
Fraternisation with the Union Nationale des Parachutistes of Lille (Fr) section 591.
2012: First participation in cross-border contacts at the Menin Regional and participation in the 'Special Last Post' in Ypres;
2015: Participation in the 'Battle of Fromelles' Fr where thousands of Australian soldiers lost their lives or were wounded.
2016: Participation in the N.A.V.O. Memorial at Fréthun (Fr). This is the unique 'Memorial' in Europe.
2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 Maintenance of existing contacts
From 1985 onwards, annual B.B.Q. and mussel fests are organised to feed our coffers and we can count on numerous attendance.
Every year we organise our 'Red & Black Dragon March' and participate in 21 July, 11 and 15 November, Breendonck, Secret Army...etc.
Together with the Antwerp and Brabant Branches, we organise the feast of our patron saint St Michael in Brussels.
Previously called "Go or Die" then A.N.P.C.V. Regional Leuven. Started very humbly in monthly issues and today has grown into a full-fledged magazine. It contains up to 40 pages in colour. Our quarterly magazine, printed in 200 copies, is now distributed to members, various regional and all units belonging to the S.O.R. Special Operation Regiment.
The aim is to provide the widest possible information on the ups and downs of our regional Leuven, the National A.N.P.C.V. and the Para and Command units.
We believe it is fair to say that thanks to the various boards, members and not forgetting our sponsors during these 42 years of existence, our regional has managed to make our regional a successful branch
BANDEN A&G Staatsbaan, 4C 3210 - Lubbeek
BLOEMENRIJK Mechelsesteenweg, 182 3020 - Herent.
BOLS Mosselbedrijf Mechelsesteenweg, Kampenhout
BRASERIE PAKENHOF Pakenstraat, 61 3001 - Heverlee
CHRISTENS Marc Zuivel & Dranken, Bevekomsestraat, 5 3360 - Bierbeek.
ELAERTS Glashandel BVBA Naamsesteenweg, 63 3052 - Blanden.
I.T.S. Systems Solutions. Diestsestraat, 183 3270 - Scherpenheuvel
M & N uit sympathie
SIT and SLEEP Tervuursevest, 30 3000 - Leuven.
TARTINNE BAR Geldenaaksebaan, 482 3001 - Heverlee
VAN DER MEERSCH Ramen, deuren, rolluiken en sectionale poorten Rillaarsesteenweg; 134 3390 - Tielt-WingeTielt-Winge.
VELTMANS,Algemene renovatie werken Binnen & Buiten 0485 125 508 / 047407610975