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The Early Years
A commission to study the establishment of a Belgian Military Aviation is constituted by Ministerial Decision (D.M.)
Major-General Van Sprang (chairman), Major-General Ceulemans, Capt-Commandant chevalier Le Clément de Saint-Marcq, Capt-Commandant adjoint d'Etat Major Fayaux et Capt-Commandant Sohier.
The first military Farman (Henri Farman type école N° 1 with c/n 93) is accepted by Lt Georges Nélis, assisted by chevalier Jules de Laminne et mechanic Guillaume Deguel at Mourmelon (France).
Henri Farman N° 1 has been transferred to Belgium by rail and road and makes its fist flight still owned exclusively by chevalier Jules de Laminne.
Later that month the aircraft suffered a minor mishap at Kiewit and is repaired locally while the inscription "ARMEE BELGE" was applied on the intrados of the wings.
Henri Farman N° 1 sporting the inscription "AR-MEE BEL-GE".(© Mike Terlinden Coll.)
Baron Pierre de Caters offers his Aviator nr 2 (which has been transformed into "Type Militaire") to HrH King Albert I who immediately transferred it to the "Compagnie des Ouvriers et Aérostiers du Génie".
This machine theoretically becomes Belgium's the first military aircraft although it only made some short flights before being grounded as being unsafe.
Official inauguration of the "Ecole D'Aviation Militaire" at Brasschaat
Farman N° 1 is flown from Kiewit to Brasschaat (via Wilrijk) by Laminne and Nélis to become the first equipment of the "Ecole d'Aviaton Militaire".
09/09 > 12/09/1912
First ever European air-to-ground firing experiment with a Lewis machine gun mounted on the rear seat of a Farman HF.16 by Lt. Stellingwerff and his pilot Lt. Nélis.
Lt Stellingwerff (rear) and Lt Nélis in their Lewis machine gun equipped Farman HF.16
(© Guy Van de Merckt Coll.)
The "Compagnie des Aviateurs " is established at Brasschaat through Royal Decree N° 1546.
First Commander is Cpn-Cdt Emile Mathieu.
Cpn-Cdt Emile Mathieu
(© Daniel Brackx Coll.)
Civil chief-instructor Fernand Verschaeve is killed at St. Job while testing a new Farman type MF23bis powered by a Gnôme Monosoupape "lambda" of 80hp.
Slt Félix Liedel makes a fatal crash at Martelange due to structural problems with his Farman HF20. The seriously injured pilot dies two day later, becoming the first military pilot to die in service.
The remains of Lt Félix Liedel's Farman HF20 at Martelange.
(© Guy Destrebecq Coll.)
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