• History of the base from 1950 to 1955
  • The 350th Squadron is converted on Meteor F.8
  • Establishment of the 11th Night Fighter Squadron (Meteor NF.11)
  • Creation of an aerobatics display team by the Cpn Robert "Bobby" Bladt, CO of the 350th Sqn.
  • The first Meteor NF.11 is taken on charge by the 10th Squadron.
  • The Auxiliary Squadron is converted on Meteor F.4
  • Conversion of the 349th Squadron and 4th Squadron on Meteor F.8
  • The Base of Beauvechain becomes the "Base Lt Col Aviator Charles Roman"

 

 

 Beauvechain : 1950 - 1955

 

 1950

- March 31st 1950: Cpn Jean Mascaux, CO of the 4Sqn is surprised by bad weather. His Meteor F.4 (EF40 - SV-Z) strike the top of a hill during a low level navigation in the region of Bad-Bodendorf, a French occupied zone in allied-occupied Germany.
Captain Aviator Jean Mascaux was born in the town of Ixelles on the 2nd of April 1915.

 

- April 8th 1950: The command of the 4th Squadron is taken over by Cpn A.Van Eeckhoudt.

 

  • Picture 5404-01: Cpn Albert Van Eeckhoudt.
  • Picture 5404-02 & 5402-03: Cpn Van Eeckhoudt engaged in a conversation with the CO of the 350 Squadron, Maj Guy de Patoul and some members of his aerobatic team. (*)

(*) In early 1950, Maj Guy de Patoul recreate within the 350 Squadron an aerobatic display team flying the Meteor F.4.
In fact, back in 1949, the first aerobatic team of the 350 Sqn had been formed on Spitfire XIV under the leading of Guy de Patoul.
The formation gave an exceptionally beautiful performance at Evere, on the 12th June 1949, but also at Auxerre, and Vichy.
The formation is constituted by two sections of three aircraft flying some synchronized maneuvers and by one solo aircraft. 

 - Maj Guy  de Patoul  350 Sqn  CO     
 - Lt Paul  Dewulf  350 Sqn       
 - Lt Tony de Maere d'Aertrijcke  350 Sqn       
 - Lt Yves Bodart  350 Sqn   4 Sqn (June 1950) 
 - Lt Albert  Procureur  350 Sqn   4 Sqn (June 1950)
 - Sgt  Harry Saeys 349 Sqn      
 - Lt  Roger Delelienne (Solo) 4 Sqn      


 The display team will make a strong impression while performing at Orly on the 11th June, and also at Deurne and Ypenburg during the year 1950.

 

  • Picture 500611-01 & 500611-02: Maj Guy de Patoul with his display team.
  • It has to be noted that Lt Albert Procureur and Lt Yves Bodart are wearing both the badge of the 350th and 4th squadron.
    Even if both of them are transferred to the 4th Squadron in June 1950, they're still representing the 350 Sqn during the meetings.
    Lt Yves Bodart for his part will be moving to the 4th Squadron as Flight Commander

  • Picture 5006-01: The Flight CO Yves Bodart in the 4th Squadron hangar. At the left, the Meteor F.4 EF-29 SV-C.
  • Picture 5006-02: CO Albert Van Eeckhout with a few members of his squadron. Behind, the EF-29 SV-C.

 

- 26th June 1950: International airshow at Deurne (Antwerp)

The aerobatic display team of Maj de Patoul is representing the Belgian Air Force.



- August 4th 1950: Cpn Léon Divoy becomes the new CO of the 349th Squadron.

 

- August 24th 1950: Prince Royal Baudouin (*) is invited by Lt.Col. Donnet (Chief of Operation Group) to visit the Air Force which is carrying out an air defense evaluation exercise this 24th of august. The visit starts at Evere with the control center and is followed by the 1Wing of Beauvechain where the Prince is welcomed by its Base CO, Maj Albert Van de Velde.

(*) The King Leopold III and his two sons, Baudouin and Albert come back from captivity on the 22nd of July 1950.
Following the violent riots initiated by the return of the King, on the 1st of August, Leopold III surroundered the power to his son, Prince Baudouin, Duke of Brabant, who becomes Prince Royal.
The King Léopold III will abdicate on the 16th of July 1951.

  • Picture 5008-01: Prince Royal Baudouin, Col Remy Van Lierde, and Maj Albert Van de Velde on the balcony of the Control Tower. On the right of the Prince, Col Remy Van Lierde, former Base CO of the 1Wing (June 1947 – October 1947), currently Head of the Office of Group Operation.
  • Picture 5008-02: From L to R : Lt.Col. Mike Donnet, Gen Maj Lucien Leboutte, Maj Albert Van de Velde, Col Remi Van Lierde, Prince Royal Baudouin inspecting the engine of a Meteor F.4 (EF-24)
  • Picture 5008-03: From L to R: Lt Tony de Maere d'Aertrijcke, Cpn Fernand Piquin, Lt Jan Vandepoel, Cpn ***, Lt Camille Labye, Lt Pierre Denis, Lt Guido Derom, Lt ***, Lt ***, Maj ***.
  • Picture 5008-04: Prince Royal Baudouin is presented to Cpn Fernand Piquin by Maj Guy de Patoul, CO of the 350 Squadron.


- 25th- 26th 27th of August 1950 : Exercise "Cupola

The exercise Cupola's goal is to show that the Western Union Air Forces are able to cope with whatever attacking forces might be sent against them. The fighter pilots of every nations signatory to the Brussels Treaty; England, France, the Netherlands and the United-States should impartialy defend Belgium, France, and the Netherlands.

 

  • Picture 500825-01 to 500825-03: Two Meteor F.4 of the 350 Sqn overflying the belgian ardennes during the Cupola exercise between the 25th and the 27th of August 1950.
    The leader of the formation is Maj Guy de Patoul, CO of the 350th Squadron (MN-M), his wingman is Lt Yves Bodart in the MN-S.
     

- October 14th 1950 : While doing an evening mission during exercise “Emperor”, the Mosquito NF.30 MB-18 (ND-I) of the 10th Night Fighter Squadron collides with a Wellington T.10 (RP320) of the No.2 Air Navigation School, near Birchington (Kent) and crashes into the sea 5 miles North of Margate.
Cpn Christian Henrard and his navigator, Sgt Jozef Tytgat are killed in the accident.
The Wellington crashes nor far away from Reculver, and kills everybody onboard. 

Sgt  Allan  Warboys 
F/Sgt Arthur Gordon  Goodfellow 
Off/Cdt Alan Frederick George Marshall 
Off/Cdt  Alister Mac Intosh  Dougall 
Sgt George Stanley Stansby 

 

- November 1950: Delivery of the first Meteor F.8 (EG201) to the 350 Squadron.

The 350 Squadron is the first Belgian squadron equipped with the new version of the Jet Fighter aircraft. The Mk.8 version is more powerful that the Mk.4 and is now equipped with a Martin Baker MK-2E ejection seat.
The first Meteors are directly issued from R.A.F, serials are from EG-201 to EG-223.
Note the serial number applied on the aft fuselage, the same way the Meteor F.4. The serial numbers will be relocated later on the vertical stabilizer fin.


- November 17th 1950: The 4th Squadron celebrates its first birthday.

  • Picture 501117-01 : Cpn A. Van Eeckhoudt with some members of the 4th Squadron at the back of the hangar C3.
    The Meteor F.4 in the background is the EF42 SV-K
    The Meteor F.4 in the center of the group is the EF46 SV-M christened “Mascaux”.
    Lt Roger Delelienne, crouching next to the 4th Squadron’s flag, will crash this aircraft onto a house at La Bruyère on the 15th of February 1951 during a single engine approach.
    (See 15th of February 1951)

  • See the following identification document for details:   4thSqnMeteorF4.pdf

 

- 19th of December 1950: Gen Dwight D.Eisenhower becomes the first SACEUR (Supreme Allied Commander in Europe) of the SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe)
After the outbreak of the Korean war in June 1950, where the North Korean forces supported by the Republic of China and the Soviet Union crossed the 38th parallel and invaded the South Korea, supported by the United States, NATO fears that Europe could face a similar threat over divided Germany.
The nations of the alliance agree to increase their defense efforts and begin working on the creation of an integrated military command structure with an overall commander for NATO in Europe.
The first Supreme Allied Commander in Europe is appointed by the North Atlantic Council on the 19th of December 1950.

 

- December 1950: The 10th Night Fighter Squadron ends the year 1950 with 1,160 flight hours recorded.

 

- Beauvechain Air base in 1950.

  • Picture 500408-01 : An aerial picture of the base taken on the 8th of April 1950.
    On this High Resolution version, we can see the Meteor’s of the 349 and 350 Squadrons on their respective flight line.
    The hangar C7, allocated to both the 349 Sqn & Aux Sqn, and the hangar C3, allocated to the 350th Sqn & 4th Sqn, are in the lower left of the picture, between the two runways.

 

  1951

 

- 15th of February 1951 : Lt Roger Delelienne, of the 4th Squadron, is coming back from a training mission with the right engine down.

The airspeed of his Meteor F.4 (EF46 SV-M) drops below the stall speed during the landing pattern and crash onto a house at La Bruyère.

- 25th April 1951: Cpn Robert Bladt replace Guy de Patoul at the command of 350 Sqn.

- 8th of May 1951: General Dwight D.Eisenhower visits the 1st Fighter Wing.

Following his appointment as Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) on the 19th of December 1950, Gen Eisenhower takes up his duties in Paris on 1st January 1951.

The temporary SHAPE's headquarter is located in the Hotel Astoria downtown, while permanent facilities are being built in Rocquencourt.
From April, Gen Eisenhower starts a tour of inspection of the Allied Forces in Europe. It begins on April 12, with a visit to the 86th Fighter-Bomber Wing stationed at Neubiberg Air Base in Bavaria.
This May 8, 1951, sixth anniversary of the surrender of Germany (V-E Day), General Eisenhower visits both 1st Wing and 2nd Wing of the Belgian Air Force.
At Beauvechain, he's welcomed by Lt Col Joseph Renier, the 1Wing Commander.

  • Picture 5105-01 : Gen Dwight D.Eisenhower with :
  • - Maj Charles Roman                   10th Night-Fighter Squadron
  • - Col Joseph Renier                      Base Commander
  • - Lt Col Michel "Mike" Donnet.     Chief of Operation Group

 

- July 1951: Delivery of a second batch of four Meteor T.7

The serial numbers start with ED4 and end with ED7 
A third batch of five aircraft (ED8 - ED12) will be delivered in early 1953.

The arrival of the more advanced Meteor F.8 also means that the Meteor F.4 is becoming obsolete.
From 1952, twenty Meteors F.4 are converted by Avion Fairey to Meteor T.7 standards. The forward fuselage and the center fuselage sections are provided by Gloster.
The serials numbers start with ED13 and end with ED32.

 

  • Picture 5107-02: A Meteor T.7 allocated to the 4th Squadron in February 1956. (ED15 - former EF9)
    In the background, the 4th Squadron's dispersal located at the back of the H5 hangar.
  • Picture 5107-03: Note the excellent accessibility to the Meteor's Rolls-Royce Derwent engine.
    Cpl Marcel Peeren is actually replacing the two igniters.
    Note also one of the two 24VDC generators located on the front spar of the wing, the second being located on the #1 engine.

 

11th Night Fighter Squadron 

- 1st of July 1951: Creation of the 11th Night Fighter Squadron.

  • Initially equipped with De Havilland Mosquito NF.30, then Gloster Meteor NF.11
  • Squadron Code : KT
  • Emblem : The Bat¨

The Meteors NF.30 are divided between the 10th and 11th Squadrons.

Insigne 11eme Escadrille02

 A black winged Bat flying in front of a yellow triangle

 

  • Picture 510701-04: A picture presented by Gloster to the Belgian Air Force showing one of our new Meteor NF.11
  • Picture 510701-05: This aircraft is actually a RAF Meteor (WD597)
    This air to air picture has been taken by Gloster's Chief Photographer Russel Adams in 1952.

 

- 13th of Octobre 1951: The 350 Squadron is practicing the gun shooting at Koksijde.

  • Picture 511013-01: The 350Sqn Flight Line at Koksijde on the 13.Oct.1951.
  • In the foreground, the Meteor F8 EG211 MN-R

 

- 20th of December 1951: Sgt Herman Meys and Adj Paul Dechamps, both 349 Sqn pilots, collide in the sky of Namur during a break.
Both Meteor F4, EF35, belonging to the 350th Squadron (MN-A) and EF2 (GE-B) crash between Namur and St-Gérard.
Unfortunately, none of the pilots have the time to jump out.

 

1952

- 24th of February 1952: The Spitfire XIV of Jean Rigole (RM764 - SG-38), crashes shortly after takeoff in the forest of Beausart.  Jean was second in command of the Auxiliary Squadron. A technical reason is suspected as the aircraft was coming out of maintenance.

 

- 2nd of March 1952: Cpn Jan Mathijs takes over Cpn Léon Divoy at the head of the 349 Squadron.

 

- 10th of April 1952: Second hard blow for the Aux Squadron.
André de Bie, also second in command of the Squadron loses control of his Spitfire XIV during a flight at high altitude.
A problem in the oxygen supply system is suspected.

 

- 28th of April 1952: Lt Jacques Lauwers of 349 Squadron, runs off the runway with the first Meteor F.4 of the 1Wing. (EF1 GE-S)
The aircraft is sent to Fairey, Gosselies for repair in early May, but it will be written off.

 

The Acrobobs

 

- 18th of May 1952 : Cpn Robert "Bobby" Bladt, CO of the 350 Squadron since the 25th of April 1951, formally presents the first Belgian Air Force display team to the Belgian public during the Gosselies Air Show.
The formation of four Meteor F.8 is called "Acrobobs" (*)

(*) Acrobobs stands for Acro (from acrobatie/aerobatics) and Bob's (From Bobby)
Initially, the team is named Acrobob-Boys, but it will be quickly shorted to Acrobobs.

Initially, the pilots are : Cpn Robert Bladt (Leader), Lt Bill Ongena (Left Wingman), Cpn Paul Dewulf (Right Wingman) and Lt Ivan Deprins (Slot)
Lt Pierre Tonet will replace Cpn Dewulf from 1954 onwards. 

The formation is very quickly recognized as one of the best in Europe.
The 6th of July, the formation is awarded first place in an international contest for aerobatic team at Lyon, being on this occasion ahead of the 3rd Fighter Squadron of Reims, flying the F-84G Thunderjet, the 2nd Fighter Squadron of Dijon, flying the Vampire FB.5, a Royal Air Force team, and the famous US Air Force Skyblazers flying the F-84E Thunderjet.

  • Picture 5205-02: From L to R : Lt Bill Ongena - Cpn Bobby Bladt - Lt Ivan Deprins - Cpn Paul Dewulf.
  • Picture 5205-04: The Acrobobs during takeoff. The aircraft of Bobby Bladt (leader) is at the far right.
  • Picture 5205-05: The Acrobobs over Brussels, and the Courthouse.
  • Picture 5205-06 :The Acrobobs overflying the village of Bas-Oha not far away from Huy.
     

In October 1952, Cpn Bobby Bladt must leave his teammates of 350 Squadron to join Koksijde as flight instructor.
At that time, the Belgian Air Force urgently needs instructor pilots, and Bobby is a former RAF instructor.

However, in the spring of 1953, one by one, the former wingmen of the formation, who in turn, became instructors, have the pleasure to join the Cpn Bladt at Koksijde.
Meanwhile, The Netherlands invites the Belgian Air Force to present an aerobatic team to the NATO air show organized by the RNLAF at Soesterberg on the 18th of July 1953.
Therefore, it’s decided to re-establish the formation at Koksijde, and the training resumes at mid-May.
It's at this time that Sgt Pierre Tonet joins up the team as back-up pilot. 

  • Picture 5210-01: Bobby Bladt is leading the formation in a Meteor T.7
    The back-seat is the Koksijde Base CO, Lt Col Avi Vandercruyssen. (Base CO 1954 – 1957)
  • Picture 5210-02 to 5210-05: From mid-May 1953, the Acrobobs resume their spring-training with the Meteors of the Koksijde Fighter school.

The Acrobobs will be performing for the last time during the Brustem air show of the 11th October 1956, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Belgian Air Force, in the presence of HM the King Baudouin.

In 1957, Bobby Bladt will create a second aerobatic team: The Red Devils.

 

- 30th of June 1952: Bad landing for the EF-22 (GE-A) of 349 Squadron.
The pilot lands before the runway threshold, damaging the landing gear and the rear part of the fuselage.
The subsequent fire which start in the RH engine completely destroy the aircraft.

 

- 06th of July 1952: Meeting National de l'Air at Lyon-Bron.

 

Meeting Lyon 19520706

 

The Bobby Bladt’s formation is awarded first place in an international contest for aerobatic team at Lyon, being on this occasion ahead of the 3rd Fighter Squadron of Reims, flying the F-84G Thunderjet, the 2nd Fighter Squadron of Dijon, flying the Vampire FB.5, a Royal Air Force team, and the famous US Air Force Skyblazers flying the F-84E Thunderjet.

 

- 11th- 12th - 13th of July 1952: First international NATO air show at Melsbroek.

Meeting Melsbroek 19520712

The first signatory members of the treaty (*) participate fully to the event, but some delegations coming from Italy, Denmark, and Norway are also present. They’ve been invited to join NATO as far back as 1949.

(*) England, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, United-States, Canada.

In 1952, the Spitfire is still used for the operational flight training of our young pilots, but the attrition rate of the aircraft is so high, that the press reports on this in details and requests an explanation.
In consequence, the Air Force Military Staff decide to open the air show with an acrobatic display on Spitfire, to demonstrate the ability of the aircraft to execute a whole set of aerobatic manoeuvres without any difficulty.
The display pilot is Cpn Tony de Maere d’Aertrijcke (350 Sqn), whom flies a 31 Sqn Spitfire; the SG-103 coded 8S-E. 

Cpn Yves Bodart from the 1Wing's 4th Sqn, is in charge of showing the possibilities offered by the Meteor F.8
The presentation is constituted of a series of daisy-cutting passes followed by some tight turns and other loops.
The more frightening will be the moment when he'll wipe the Meteor into a vertical bank on the very steps of the royal tribune.

One of the fastest fighter aircraft of the world is presented to the Belgian public during this meeting. The Hawker Hunter is presenter by the Squadron Leader Neville Duke, test pilot of Hawker Aircraft Ltd.
During the show, two loud bangs are heard for the first time in Belgium; in fact these are the sonic booms generated by the Hunter which shows the ability of the aircraft to fly beyond the speed of sound.

 

  • Picture 5207-01: Cpn Tony de Maere d’Aertrijcke during a low pass.
  • See the appendices to read the full story of this acrobatic display narrated by Tony de Maere d’Aertrijcke.
    (Article is extracted from the book: “Haute Passion – Mémoires d’un pilote de Chasse – Tony de Maere d’Aertrijcke”
  • Pictures 5207-02 > 5207-04: Cpn Yves Bodart and Meteor F.8 EF42 SV-K from 1Wing's 4th Squadron.

25th of July 1952: The first Gloster (Armstrong Whitworth) (*) Meteor NF.11, of a twelve aircraft order is delivered to the 10th Night Fighter Squadron.
The EN1 (RAF Serial: WD726) is followed by the EN2 (WD775) and EN3 (WD777) which are delivered on the 30th of July.

  • Picture 520730-01 to 520730-03: 
    The three first Meteors NF.11 of the 1Wing stationed in front of the former "Siemens Halle", where they'll be officially taken in charge on the 1st of August. 
    The WD726, is the only aircraft already bearing a squadron code specific to the 10th Night Fighter Squadron, (ND-L) while the other two aircraft, taken on charge on the 30th of July are still bearing their R.A.F. serial.
    WD775 will be soon registered EN2, while WD777 will become EN3.
    In the background of the Meteors, the wind sock of the RWY 22, which is located near the threshold of the main runway, facing the maintenance facilities in the south of the base. 


Initially, the first aircraft are used by the 10th Night Fighter Squadron, and are bearing the ND squadron code.
However, shortly afterwards, all the Meteors are allocated to the 11th Night Fighter Squadron (Squadron Code KT) and the surviving Mosquitos are regrouped with the 10th Night Fighter Squadron.
The serial are going from EN1 to EN12.

From that moment, the life of the Mossie slows down, the survivors are dispatched to the 10th Squadron.
It’s not worth to modify anymore the Squadron codes of the aircraft, some them will fly until the end bearing the KT code from the 11th Squadron.

(*) Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft is a partner company of Gloster Aircraft.
In September 1949, Armstrong Whitworth converts a Gloster Meteor T.7 (VW413) into a Night Fighter aircraft.
The first prototype (WA546) maiden flight is performed on the 31st of May 1950, the first production aircraft (WD599) is delivered to the RAF on the 20th of August 1951.

 

- 05th of August 1952: Official ceremony celebrating the arrival of the Meteor NF.11 

  • Picture 520805-01 & 520805-12: 10th and 11th Night Fighter Squadrons together in front of the “Siemens Halle”.
    The “Siemens Halle” is a 75 meters long hangar built by the Luftwaffe, which was initially intended to repair and overhaul electrical and radio equipment. It was equipped with only light tools.
    In the background the new Maintenance hangar, the place where the heavy maintenance tasks and periodic inspections are performed.
    In the back of the “Periodic Maintenance hangar”, the remains of the “Erla” hangar, also built by the Luftwaffe, but severely damaged by the allied bombing of 1944.
    The hangar was belonging to a German firm named “Erla Mashinenwerk”, but was administrated by the Luftwaffe.
    As the actual Periodic MTC hangar, the Erla building was intended to perform heavy repair and periodic inspections, and was equipped with more large tools than the ones used in the Siemens Halle.
  • Picture 520805-02: Taken between 1958 and 1964, this picture shows the three buildings.
  • Picture 520805-03: Meteor NF.11 EN6 of the 11th Night Fighter Squadron (KT-W) on the rear ramp of the C3 hangar.
    In the background a part of the building that houses the quarters of the Wing Commander.

 

- August 1952: Both 349th and 350th Squadrons move from the south of the airfield to their new installations in the north.
The 350 Sqn leaves the C3 hangar and settles in the brand new H2, while 349 moves from the C7 to the H11.

 

  • Picture 5208-01 & 5208-02: Note the Meteor F.8 EG210 MN-D which will be crashed during the landing on the 28th of May 1954.
    (See the appendices for more details)
  • Picture 5208-03: SLt Hervé Donnet (350 Sqn) and his Meteor F.8  (Hervé Donnet will be within the 350 Sqn from May 1952 to June 1957)

- 22nd of August 1952: The 1Wing is taking three more Meteors NF11 in charge.
The aircraft have the RAF serials WD728 - WD729 - WD730 and are registered EN4 - EN5 - EN6 respectively.
They will receive shortly the 11Sqn code KT-N - KT-S - KT-W.

  • Picture 520822-01: The Meteor NF.11 EN-5 (KT-S) shortly after its arrival at Beauvechain.
    It has to be noted that the typical 11Sqn emblem, the "Bat" is not yet applied on the forward side of the fuselage.

 

- September 1952: The Auxiliary Squadron is leaving the Spitfire XIV and is converted to the Meteor F.4, actually the 4th Squadron’s aircraft.
 

- 18th of October 1952: Cpn Herman Kreps is the new commander of the 350th Squadron.

Cpn Kreps replace "Bobby" Bladt who has been transferred to the Fighter School of Koksijde to reinforce the instructor pilot staff.

 

  • Picture 521018-01: Note the typical RAF Wing Commander pennant, on the side of the cockpit.
  • Note also that Cpn Kreps (*) is bearing the typical British shoulder ranks.

The 350 Squadron is composed of the following people (May 1953) 

Capt DFC Herman Kreps CO 350 SQN
Capt Jan Vandepoel  
1Lt Hervé Donnet  
SLt Eudore Rousseau  
SLt Res Philippe de Vaucleroy  
SLt Res Pierre Nauss  
1Sgt Jacques de Jambline de Meux  
Sgt Jacques Baeckelandt  
Sgt Jan Govaerts  
Sgt Res André Litt  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 (*) Herman Kreps is one the many pilots who escaped towards England at the beginning of the conflict.

He will receive the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) in recognition of his service.
He’ll fly the first Belgian Fouga Magister (MT-1) on the 23rd of January 1960 at Kamina. (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Due to a combination of circumstances, he’ll be killed on the 20th of June 1963 in the crash of his C-119 (CP-45), during a paratroop dropping mission over Germany.

- 05th of December 1952: Heavy Landing for a Mosquito of the 10th Squadron. (MB-19)

Due to a lack of hydraulic pressure in the brakes system, the left-hand main landing gear collapses during the landing roll. The MB-19 is finally coming to a rest at the end of Runway 04.
Cpn Avi Albert Van Hamme and his navigator Sgt Nav Richard Van de Kelder are unharmed.

  • Picture 521205-01 & 521205-02: The Mosquito MB-19 after landing. In the background of picture 521205-02, the Siemens Halle.

 

1953

 

- 2nd of February 1953: SLt Jean “Mathi” Dirckx (349 Sqn) and SLt Robert Janssens (350 Sqn) are caught in the midst of a thunderstorm near Beauvechain and collide.
The Meteor F4 (EF26 GE-Q) of Mathi enters in a spin and crashes at Opvelp, while the Meteor F8 (EG203 MN-I) of Robert crashes in the close proximity of the airfield.
Mathi had joined the 349 Sqn six month earlier !

- February 1953: 349 Squadron receives its first Meteor F.8

Most of the aircraft received by the 349th Squadron and 4th Squadron are built by Avions Fairey at Gosselies plant.
Avions Fairey SA initial order concerns an order for 67 Meteors F.8 which will be assembled in two steps, from sub-assemblies provided by Fokker (Serials from EG-151 to EG-180) and by Gloster (Serial EG-224 to EG-260)
The post assembly testing will be performed at Gosselies.
Many buildings at Gosselies have been badly damaged during the war, and in early 1953, Fairey does not own assembly halls large enough.
For this reason, the final assembly and the testing will be done at Beauvechain from the serial EG-234 to EG-260.
The transfer from Gosselies to Beauvechain of the fuselage equipped with the inboard sections of the wings is done by road during the night. Each aircraft is towed by a military tow-truck till Beauvechain, where Fairey personnel proceed to the final assembly in the 350th Squadron maintenance
hangar. 


Some aircraft intended to provide the 7Wing at Chièvres and the 13Wing at Brustem are built by Fokker at Amsterdam or by Avions Fairey with parts provided by Fokker.
The Rolls-Royce Derwent VIII engines are built under license from Rolls-Royce of England by the Fabrique Nationale. (FN

  • Picture 5302-03: The Meteor F.8 production at Avions Fairey (Gosselies) in 1953.

    In the background, a Meteor F.4 belonging to the 349th Squadron, the EF17 (GE-E) being repaired following an incident which happened at Beauvechain in September 1951.

    Facing the Meteor F.4, a Spitfire XIV belonging to the Koksijde’s Fighter School. The SG85 (IQ-X), has been damaged in early 1952 in an accident, and is also under repair.

- April 1953:  The 4th Squadron start to be converted on Meteor VIII. 

 

- 27th of April 1953: The Meteor NF.11 EN7 (KT-X) is badly damaged during a forced landing at Wevelgem.
The crew, composed of Willy Van de Perre (Pilot) and Marcel Lemaire (Navigator) is unharmed.
A problem with the fuel transfer system will be determined to be at the origin of the accident.

(See the appendices for the whole story of this accident)

 

- 4th of September 1953: The 10th Squadron receives its last Mosquito NF.30.
After a complete overhaul performed by Fairey Aviation at Ringway (Manchester), the MB-24 is taken on charge by the 10th Night Fighter Squadron, who’s now installed in the hangar C3, recently vacated by 4th and 350th Squadrons.

  • Picture 530904-01 & 530904-02: Mosquito NF.30 MB24 (ND-N) from the 10th Night Fighter Squadron and ground crew.
    In the background the hangar C3.
    Here after the identification files of both pictures.

pdf10SqnGroundCrew01.pdf
pdf10SqnGroundCrew02.pdf

 

- 15th of December 1953: Sgt Mathieu Penders (349Sqn), leading a formation of two Meteors suddenly make a violent maneuvre and
collides with his wingman Slt Marc Desender (349 Sqn)
SLt Marc Desender eject from his Meteor F.8 (EG231), while Sgt Penders crashes the EG232 (GE-Y) at Rève, not far away from Houtain-le-Val.


- December 1953: The 1Wing ends the year 1953 with a Flight Log Book recording at total flight time being between 12,000 and 13,000 flight hours. Some of the pilots have accumulated more than 250 FH, while the average flight time of a mission rarely exceeds 60 minutes.


- 1953: The wolf becomes the emblem of the 1st Fighter-Day Wing.

The badge resulting of this represents a light blue Wolf’s head showing a red tongue. The head is surrounded by two white wings, the whole motif being
printed on a dark blue background edged with a red border.

 

Insigne1wingLeLoup02

 

 1954

 

 

- 28th of May 1954: The Meteor F.8 MN-D (EG-210) of Sgt François “Sus” Hoes (350 Sqn) is damaged beyond repair after landing during his solo flight. (See appendices for more details)

 

- 1954: An agreement is made with the British authorities. This agreement grants Belgian Air Force to use the RAF Sylt facilities as well as the gunnery range located offshore of the island to practice live firing.
Royal Air Force Sylt Station is established on the Island of Sylt (North Frisian Islands - Germany), near the city of Westerland.
Until then, the firing exercises have taken place (from 1947) at Koksijde or Leeuwarden.

  • Picture 5404-01: The 4th Squadron during a shooting period at Sylt in April 1954.
    The Meteor in the foreground is the SV-Q EG254. The red flag attached to the nose of the aircraft shows that the guns are loaded with live ammunitions.
  • Picture 5404-02: Pictures taken in June 1956. The Target Towing Flight is equipped with Meteor F.8 (24th Squadron - 5Wing)

 

- 1954: The Hawker Hunter is the winner of an evaluation process designed to find a successor to the Gloster Meteor F.8.
A contract is placed for 48 Hunter F.4s and 144 Hunter F6s.

Previously, a team consisting of Maj Remi Van Lierde, Cpn Yves Bodart and Col Marcel Mullenders has evaluated several new designs of aircraft, including the Canadair Sabre, Dassault Mystère IVA and the Hawker F.1
On the 19th of November 1953, during their initial training course at Dunsfold, Maj Van Lierde and Cpn Bodart flew beyond Mach 1 for the first time, becoming the two first sonic Belgian pilots.

Two thirds of the order concerns Avions Fairey, which organization will assemble major units supplied by the Dutch Fokker industry, while SABCA will
assemble one-third of the total and will also manufacture wings and undercarriages.
The Rolls-Royce Avond turbojets for the Belgian and Dutch Hunters are to be built under license by the Fabrique Nationale.

 

- 12th of July 1954: Forced landing for the Meteor NF.11 EN4 KT-N (11 Sqn)

During a shooting period at Sylt, a navigation mistake from the radar station leads the pilot of the EN4, in a short of fuel situation, to proceed to a forced landing at Døstrup in the south of Denmark (Syddanmark)
The crew, composed of 1Sgt Georges Thirion and SLt Nav Georges Thiry is unharmed, but the aircraft is a total loss.

  • Picture 540712-01: The EN4 after the forced landing.
    Note the CO's pennant (*) at the back of the 11th Sqn's badge.
    (*) Maj Jacques Legrand

 

- 20th of September 1954: Adj Henri du Roi de Blicquy (4 Sqn) loses control of his Meteor F.8 SV-E (EG251) and struck the ground at Kumtich during a Tail-Chase exercise.

 

- 25th of November 1954: During a night flight mission on Meteor NF.11 (EN9 KT-Z) the Commander of the 1Wing, Lt Col Charles Roman and his navigator, Cpn Jean-Louis de Norman et d’Audenhove (10 Sqn) are killed by the loss of their canopy.

The accident is reported in the local newspapers:

“On Thursday night at around 09:15 PM, a Meteor NF.11 night fighter from Beauvechain Air Base crashed into a farm at La Houssière, near Braine-le-Comte.
The farm caught fire instantly, the son of the farmer and the two aviators died in the accident.
The pilot of the aircraft was Lt Col Avi Roman, 45 years old, Commander of the Beauvechain Air Base.
His passenger, radar-navigator was Cpn Avi de Norman et d’Audenhove, 29 years old, originally from Schaerbeek.

Both victims were highly qualified aviators:

- Lt Col Roman, is born at Lessine on the 28th of September 1909.

He joins the military aviation on the 28th of December 1928 as student pilot. He's graduated at Wevelghem in November 1930 and is assigned to 3rd Observation Squadron stationed at Goetsenhoven as sergeant-pilot on Fairey Fox.
He leaves Goetsenhoven and apply first to the Aeronautical School, then to the instructor course. He's graduated instructor in March 1940.
The German invasion takes place a couple of months after its graduation. He's seriously injured during an emergency landing on the 11th of May 1940, and is evacuated to France. The armistice is signed at the end of its convalescence.
He managed to escape, and arrive in Britain on the 18th of June 1940. The following 5th of August, he's assigned to the 236th Squadron of the Coastal Command, a unit specialized in surveillance and protection of the British coasts. He takes part to the Battle of Britain on Blenheim IV.
Employed by R.A.F. as Pilot Officer, Roman is nominated Flying Officer on the 12th of July 1941, and is assigned to the defense of Middle-East. The Beaufighter's from its squadron, the No.272 Sqn, take part in operation in Crete and Egypt but also in the protection of the convoys in the Mediterranean area.
In March 1942, he ends its first tour of duty and is awarded "Distinguished Flying Cross" for his bravery as Commander of the Belgian detachment at Malta in 1942.
On the 22nd of July 1944, its second tour of duty is over, he's awarded "Distinguished Service Order" for the greatest service rendered to the cause of the allies during the numerous operations he took part.
After being promoted "Squadron Leader", he'll be promoted "Knight of the Order with Palms".
At the end of the war, he comes back in Belgium credited with a Messerchmitt 109, a Messerschmitt 110, a Dornier flying boat, and a Junkers Ju52 trimotor transport aircraft.
The newly reorganized Belgian Air Force give him the direction of the Operation Control of the Minister of Defense.
On the 1st of October 1949, he's appointed in command of the 10th Night Fighter Squadron recently formed at Beauvechain, and flying the Mosquito NF.30.
In 1953, he's promoted Lieutenant-Colonel, and on the 15th of February 1954, he become the 8th Commander of the base.

 

- Cpn de Norman et d’Audenhove is born in Ghent on the 26th of January 1925.

Shortly after the German invasion, he was able to escape from Belgium and joined the Belgian section of the RAF in 1942.
As a gunner in bomber aircraft, he takes part in fifty-two war missions. In 1944, he's promoted Lieutenant in the RAF.

Back in Belgium, he's quickly graduated as navigator first, then Radar-Operator-Navigator after a period of training in the United-States.
He's then appointed to a Night Fighter Squadron.
In 1954, having already passed the exams at the Belgian War College, he’s in the preparation phase to become a member of the senior officers.

 

The funeral took place at Beauvechain Air Base on the Wednesday 1st of December 1954.

 

-1st of December 1954: In tribute to its Base Commander killed in mission on the 25th of November, the Beauvechain Air Base is named:
 “Base Lieutenant Colonel Aviator Charles Roman

 

 

1955

 

- 20th of January 1955Sgt Theo Blomme from the 350 Sqn is the victim of his enthusiasm.
During a low pass over his home village at Biervliet (NL), his Meteor F8 (EG76 MN-B) hits a dike and crashes.

 

- 2nd of February 1955: Maj Robert Remacle takes command of the 350th Squadron.

  • Picture 5502-01: Maj Robert Remacle and the 350th Sqn at Sylt in January 1956.
  • Here after the identification file:
  • pdf350SqnSylMeteorF8.pdf

 

- 18th of February 1955 : Cpn Yves Bodart is promoted Commander a.i (*) of the 4th Squadron.
(*) Ad interim.

 

- 18th of February 1955: The 1Wing receives the visit of the Secretary of State for Air, Lord De L’Isle and Dudley V.C.

Lord De L’Isle and Dudley V.C. is the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Air. He’s in charge of the administration of the Air Ministry (*)
He’s accompanied by the British defense attaché, the Group Captain Peter Townsend CVO DSO DFC and Bar.

A part of the time is used to visit the 4th Squadron, where pilots and aircraft are reviewed in the company of Cpn Yves Bodart.

(*) On the 1st of April 1964, the Air Ministry will merge with the Admiralty and the War Office to form the Ministry of Defense.

 

- 5th of April 1955: Handing-over of the 1st Regiment of Aeronautics flag to the 1st Fighter Wing.

HM the King designed the 1st Fighter Wing to maintain the tradition of the 1st Regiment of Aeronautics, and assigned the banner of the former regiment to it.
Lt Gen Avi Lucien Deboutte, Belgian Air Force Commander, gives the glorious banner to the Lieutenant Colonel Remy, who succeeded Lieutenant Colonel Roman.

The ceremony reflects a prestigious character. After the handing-over of the flag to the Lt Col Remy, the Lt Gen Deboutte reviews the military exploits of the former regiment during WWII, as well as its ancestors, the observation squadrons who gained fame and honour during WWI.

The parade of the troops precedes the review of the 1St Fighter Wing’s aircraft on the ground, followed by the execution of a high-quality air show.
The show starts with the take-off of 45 Meteors, followed by a fly pass in “Dart” formation. Then, the CO of the 4th Sqn, Cpn Yves Bodart, one of our best aerobatic pilots, executes the complete range of aerobatic figures with great mastery during more than 30 minutes.
To top this impressive demonstration, the Florennes Air Base Aerobatic Team, flying on Thunderjets F-84E, presents a complete set of aerial maneuvres in tight formation. The daring and the precision of these figures will attract the admiration of the public.
This impressive ceremony ends with several fly passes of 44 Meteors of the 1st Fighter Wing in tight formation.

 

The Meteor VIII belonging to the 349 Sqn parading under the command of CO Jan Mathijs and its personal aircraft, the EG-242 GE-J.

 

The Meteor NF.11 belonging to the 11th Night Fighter Squadron are taxiing while the 2Wing's Thunderjet are overflying the parade.

 

The presentation of Cpn Yves Bodart and the fly-over which ends the ceremony.



 

- 10th of May 1955: Cpn Yves Bodart takes effective command of the 4th Squadron.

 

- August 1955: The Mosquitos are struck off strength. 
 

 

- 21st of August 1955: Maj Leopold Mouzon (Reserve Military Aviator DFC), CO of the Auxiliary Squadron, collides with his wingman during a tight formation flight and crashes. 

 

-September – December 1955: The 11th Night Fighter Squadron hosts some Meteor F.8

During this period, some young pilots recently graduated in the USAF training schools (*) are coming back from the US to Beauvechain, to be qualified on Meteor F8.
Those pilots were initially designed to join the F-84F Fighter-Bomber squadrons of Kleine-Brogel, Florennes and Bierset, but the delays in the delivery of the aircraft added to the lack of availability, leaded to redirect them toward the Fighter squadrons.
Within those months, the Night Fighter squadrons of the 1st Wing being reorganized, it is decided to use the 11th Squadrons facilities to convert those young pilots.
A few Meteors F8 and Meteor T7 are transferred to the 11 Sqn and are recoded “KT-“.
This conversion flight will only be operational from September to December 1955.

(*) In the early fifties, the NATO Agreement and the Korean War initiate the training of thousands of “Cold War” pilots in the entire world.
Belgium use to train pilots at home and later at Kamina (Belgian Congo). However, this is not sufficient to fulfil the huge requirements in terms of bases, squadrons and pilots.
The United States offer to train hundreds of students in the USAF schools under the MDAP (Mutual Defense Assistance Program).
From 1951 to 1955 our country send 731 candidates to the US of which 382 cadets and student officers earned their “Silver Wings” in classes 52-A to 55-Z.

 

- 15th September 1955: Sgt Van Der Velden Alfred (USAF – Class 55K) stalls his Meteor F8 during landing in bad weather.

The Meteor’s tail hits violently the ground hundred meters before the runway’s threshold and is separated from the fuselage.
Sgt Van Der Velden escapes unhurt from the accident, but the EG-150 KT-D is written-off.

  • Pictures 550915-01 to 550915-03: The wreckage of the Meteor F8 EG-250 KT-D (11 Sqn)

 


- 29th of October 1955: Maj Marcel Desmet takes the command of the 349 Sqn.

 

 

 

 Next : 1st Wing : 1960 - 1964  

 

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