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Airfields in Belgium during WWII

Wevelgem RAF Air Base - B55

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Last update: 25/06/23

Elegy to
the Heroes of Silence

airfields in Belgium

First period

It was during WWI, in 1916, when the Germans took possession of the fields located alongside the road Kortrijk – Menen, on the parishes of Wevelgem and Bissegem. During the fitting out of these fields, a new Jasta, the Jasta 6, was created at Sivry (France). At this time, units never stayed long at one location, their moves being dictated by the influences of the batllefront and the moves of the army corps.
Jasta 6 took its quarters on the airfield of Bissegem on June 10, 1917, under the command of Staffelführer Oberleutnant Eduard Dostler. This latter was shot down some days later over Flanders Fields on August 21, 1917. Then the Jasta 6 moved on to Marckebeke a few kilometers further (this field was for some time also the home base of Manfred Von Richthofen) before moving on to fields in French territory.
From october 1918, the airfield of Bissegem passed into the hands of the British and several suqadrons of the Royal Flying Corp (RFC) were deployed:
22-10-1918 to 01-11-1918 : 7 Squadron (RE.8)
24-10-1918 to 16-11-1918 : 108 Squadron (DH.9)
22-10-1918 to 06-11-1918 : 82 Squadron (F.K.8)
25-10-1918 to 12-02-1919 : 65 Squadron (Sopwith Camel)
11-12-1918 to 12-02-1919 : 24 Squadron (S.E.5.A)
15-11-1918 to 26-11-1918 : 43 Squadron (Sopwith Snipe)

WWII: Germans's use

After the war, the Belgian military authorities took possession of the airfield and, thanks to the help of German aircraft, taken as war damages, created the well-known aviation school at Wevelgem. Numerous pilots of the Military Aeronautics were trained on this field.
Twenty years later World War II broke out and as the Belgian authorities did not learn from their former errors, they surrendered to the German troops after eight days.
From May 1940 on, the Luftwaffe took possession of the facilities and began the enlargements works. Wevelgem – Bissgem became one of the major Luftwaffe base insuring the defence of northern France and Flanders. Various Luftwaffe units were stationed there until June 1944:
02-07-1940 to 12-07-1940 : KG53 (He 111)
00-08-1940 to 00-08-1940 : I/KG26 (He 111)
20-03-1941 to 00-05-1941 : Erprobungsgruppe 210 (Bf 110)
21-04-1941 to 24-04-1941 : II/JG52 (Bf 109E)
00-06-1941 to 00-08-1941 : EJG26 (Bf 109E)
15-10-1941 to 22-12-1940 : II/JG26 (FW-190A)
07-04-1943 to 14-05-1943 : III/JG26 (FW-190A)
01-10-1943 to 25-11-1943 : I/JG26 (FW-190A)
18-05-1943 to 23-05-1943 : 4&9/JG54 (FW-190A)
01-01-1944 to 07-06-1944 : 4/JG26 (FW-190A)
The III/JG53 also transitioned through Wevelgem, but dates are doubtful.

WWII: Allied's use

Following the landing in Normandy and the progress of the allies in occupied territory, the Royal Air Force took over Wevelgem from September 1944 on. Within the structure of the RAF, the airfield of Wevelgem was given the code B-55. During about three months, various British units were stationed here:
17-09-1944 to 25-11-1944 : 74 Squadron (Spitfire LF IXe)
17-09-1944 to 01-11-2014 : 340 Squadron (Spitfire Mk IXb)
17-09-1944 to 25-11-1944 : 329 Squadron (Spitfire Mk IXb)
19-09-1944 to 25-11-1944 : 341 Squadron (Spitfire Mk IXb)
01-11-1944 to 25-11-1944 : 345 Squadron (Spitfire HF IX)

Post War

WWII had ended and the allies had left the place, the airport was taken over by the military and given back to the civil authorities.
Little by little the airfield evolved and extended and bit by bit modernization works made this countryside airfield of the Jasta 6 grow into an airport with international class...


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