It drew its origins from the Dame Blanche (White Lady) spy network that was created during the First World War and was founded by Dieudonné Lambrecht. After his arrest and execution by the Germans, in 1916, leadership passed on to his cousin Walthère Dewé. At the outbreak of WWII, Dewé reactivated the network, initially as the “Belgian Observation Corps”, before changing its name to the “Clarence network”, derived from the pseudonym of another key leader, Hector Demarque.
The Clarence network was vitally important to the British and it continues to be remembered to this day. "‘Service Clarence’ was one of the most successful SIS networks in Belgium during the war,” boasts the website of the British secret service, MI6. “Throughout the war ‘Service Clarence’ provided valuable information on a wide range of enemy activity including coastal defences, the effects of Allied bombing and the location of German units.”