Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields in Europe

Belgium - province: West Flanders

This collection of airfields is © 2010-2012 by RonaldV
(Disclaimer).


Knokke-LeZoute (B83) - Stene-Ostend updated 27 Jun 2012

Flugplatz Vlamertinge (B59) updated 27 Jun 2012 - Flugplatz Peselhoek (Poperinge) updated 20 Feb 2012

Flugplatz Rumbeke - Koolkerke

Zuienkerke updated 7 May 2011 - Nieuwmunster

Abeele Aerodrome updated 20 Feb 2012 - Flugplatz Abele updated 20 Feb 2012

Moorsele updated 20 Feb 2012

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Knokke-'t Zwin (B-83)

51°21'20"N003°21'00"E

Runway 12/30 - 3600feet - SMT

Runway 18/36 - 4500feet - SMT

Airfield Knokke-'t Zwin (also known as Knokke-Le Zoute or ALG B-83) was an airfield officially opened in 1929 between Knokke and the "t Zwin" nature area.

By the late 1930s it was used regularly by the Belgian Air Force


Early May 1940 it was home to 6e Escadrille (Squadron) of 3rd Group flying Fairy Foxes tasked with firing exercises over the North Sea.

On 10 May 1940 the squadron was ordered to Vissenaeken, leaving behind two unserviceable Fairy Foxes.

At 5am that day the airfield was attacked by German bombers.

When it was attacked again two days later the Belgian military command ordered the field to be destroyed, which occurred on 18 May.

Several weeks later the Germans ordered local farmers to fill the holes in the field, so they could use it to hold firing training for FLAK units.

6 hangars were built also, but they were never used.

In 1942 the airfield was attacked by RAF Typhoons, killling 5 belgian civilians.

Early in 1944 the Germans ordered the airfield destroyed by digging trenches and mining it.



In the middle of October the area was liberated by the Canadian Army.

British engineers tasked with repairing the site reported in late november:

"Repair of the airfield (B83) has begun by filling the trenches and demining.

Demining task is enormous, as 5000 mines have been fout to date."

In total the British engineers found 12.000 mines at the site.

The airfield got two SMT runways, and construction was finally complete by march 1945.



After the war the aifield quickly returned to it's pre-war civilian role.

It was closed by 1960 however.

all constructions on the site were demolished.

The area now has an agricultural destination.


Former airfield Knokke-'t Zwin (B-83) (Knokke-Le Zoute)


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Stene-Ostend


51°12'31"N 002°53'47"E


During World War I a field near Stene (close to Ostend) in West-Flanders, Belgium was used as a military airfield.

On 23 May 1923, along with the founding of Sabena (the belgian national airway) a DeHavilland DH9 of Sabena made a landing at Stene airfield, before crossing the English Channel for London.


The occasion marked the first mail flight between Brussels and London, and the establishment of the first connection to England.

Over the years the airfield would grow into a proper airport, called Stene-Ostend (Dutch: Stene-Oostende).

From 1936 the management of the airport recognised the field would soon outgrow their need for more space.

It therefore began looking for an alternative site, which they found 5 kilometers (ca. 3 miles) southwest of Ostend, a mere 2 miles from Stene-Ostend

It was not until World War II that the Luftwaffe built the proposed new airfield.

Stene-Ostend did not reopen after the war.


Ostend Station Building after conversion to a tavern in 1996.

The text on the face of the bulding spells "Aèro-gare Ostende" (source)


Only two buildings of the former airfield remains: a hangar, now converted into a leasure center, and the former station building, which is now abandoned.

A nearby city street following the contours of the former airfield is called 'Oud Vliegveld' (English: Old Airfield).

All are located only 800meters (2400feet) from the eastern tip of the runway of the present day airport Bruges-Ostend.


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Flugplatz Vlamertinge (B-59)


50°49'57"N 002°49'25"E


During the early months of World War II a German aircraft landed in a field near Vlamertinge (close to Ieper) in West-Flanders, Belgium in order to find a field suitable for use as a military airfield.

The next day a similar landing occurred a little further, followed by more in August, leading to the impression with the locals that not one, but two airfields were to be built.


In any case, only one airfield was built in Vlamertinge, although some 30 per cent was built on land of neighbouring Dikkebus.

Initially the construction of the airfield was of a very temporary character, most 'buildings' were built from wood and straw, covered with mesh.

Later on more permanent buildings were erected.

During 1941-1942 a ring road was constructed of about 4000meters length, and a concrete runway of 607x51meters was laid out in 1941.

The ring road had branches to hangars and workshops, and small shelters were erected around the entire air field.

On 10 June 1944 the Germans blew up the runway, followed by the hangars and workshops on 2 September 1944.

The entire infrastructure was further demolished by ploughing up the landing field, and removal of all electrical wiring.

Only the ring road and the roads leading to the hangars and workshops remained intact.

In one of the burned out hangars the remains of a V-1 launch stand was found, but no V-1s are known to have been launched from Vlamertinge.


Map of Vlamertinge airfield (source).


Within days of being liberated English engineers began repairing the runway of the airfield, which they called B-59, while English fighters operated from the grass next to it.

A few weeks later the fighters moved north, following the front line.

Engineers stayed behind to repair or dismantle aircraft for spares.

When they ultimately left too the local population got their first glance on site.

They found a lot of metal aircraft parts, and a damaged four engine aircraft which remained for quite some time.


By March of 1945 farmers were allowed back on their lands, and they immediately began working the soil.

When harvest time came most of the airfield had already disappeared.

It is not hard to find remains of the old airfield.

Many remains of the old hangars, shelters and workshops were converted into stables and sheds associated with farm life, and they are still scattered all over the area..

Converted hangar of Vlamertinge airfield (source).


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Flugplatz Rumbeke

50°56'N 003°09'E


Flugplatz Rumbeke (Dutch: vliegveld Rumbeke) was a German airfield built during World War I in Rumbeke in West-Flanders (Dutch: West-Vlaanderen) in Belgium.

Flugplatz Rumbeke was moved several times: the first one was operational in 1914, the second one in 1915, and finally it moved to location #3 in 1917.

The second Flugplatz was built southwest of the castle of Rumbeke, near the present day Bergstraat


No image available at this time.


Thanks to Cnock at ForumEersteWereldoorlog.nl for pointing out this airfield.


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Marine Flugpark Koolkerke

50°56'N 003°09'E


Marine Flugpark Koolkerke (Dutch: Marine vliegveld Koolkerke) was a German airfield built during World War I in Koolkerke (near Bruges and Dudzele) in West-Flanders (Dutch: West-Vlaanderen) in Belgium.

It had 4 wooden hangars on the south side of the Flugpark, another 10 on the north side, and it's headquarters were at Chateau Ten Berghe just outside Bruges

The Flugpark was built ca. 1917 to protect the harbours of Bruges and Zeebrugge, where U-boats of the Kriegsmarine were stationed.

The location of the Flugpark was chosen because it was the only place in the area where the soil was several feet higher than the rest of the area, a critical advantage in the Low Countries if you want to keep your feet dry when it rains.


Koolkerke ca.1917.


Albatross fighter aircraft, presumably at Koolkerke ca1917.


Detail of Koolkerke ca1917.


The north side of the Flugplatz was home of Marine-Feldjagdstaffel 1 (MFJ-1) and MFJ-2, which later merged into the Marine-Jagdgruppe (English: Navy Fighter Group).

The 4 wooden hangars on the south side belonged with the Marinekorps Flandern (English: Navy Corps Flanders), tasked with supplying the nearby floatplane unit at Zeebrugge with new or repaired aircraft

Because of it's geographical location the airfield also served as a refuellling stop for German bombers flying to England


Today nothing remains of the old Flugplatz.


Thanks to Filip Vlaminck and Yvonne at ForumEersteWereldoorlog.nl for pointing out this airfield and a wonderful article about it at Aeropedia.be.

All images about this airfield were taken from the Aeropedia article about this airfield, and used with permission


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Seeflugstation Nieuwmunster

 

latlong


 

Seeflugstation Nieuwmunster (Dutch: vliegveld Nieuwmunster) was a German airfield built during World War I near Nieuwmunster in West-Flanders (Dutch: West-Vlaanderen) in Belgium.

It was operational from 1915 until it was abandoned by retreating German forces in 1918.

Besides functioning as a base for the German navy, it also served as an intermediate and diversion field for German Gotha heavy bombers on their missions to England.

It had a wooden runway at some time, to prevent the aircraft of the German Marine from sinkiing in the muddy soil.


See ForumEersteWereldoorlog.nl for photos taken at this airfield.

 

No image available at this time.

 

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ULM field Zuienkerke

 

51°15'40"N 003°08'43"E

 

Aeronautical map of Zuienkerke in 2010.

 

Runway 17/35 - 400x18meters - grass

 

ULM airfield Zuienkerke (Dutch: vliegveld Zuienkerke) is a small ULM airfield near Bruges in West-Flanders (Dutch: West-Vlaanderen) in Belgium.

The airfield is a private airfield going by the unofficial ICAO abbreviation EBZU, and movements are only allowed after permission of the owner is given in advance.

More about this airfield can be found at the owners webpage

 

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Flugplatz Peselhoek

 

50°52'15"N 002°44'38"E


 

Runway n/a

 

Flugplatz Peselhoek (Dutch: vliegveld Peselhoek) was a Luftwaffe airfield near Ypres and Poperinge in West-Flanders (Dutch: West-Vlaanderen) in Belgium.

It was built between 1940 and 1941, but hardly saw use after being completed: it is estimated that only 5 aircraft ever used it.

The germans left the facility in 1941 already, but nobody really knows why.

It has been suggested that Peselhoek may have been a fake airfield, but the facilities are generally deemed to be too solid to support that theory.

Today only the shell of a tower (a protected monument under Flemish law), remains of a water treatment facility and the front of a hangar remain of the former Flugplatz Peselhoek (source in dutch>).

 

Tower of Flugplatz Peselhoek near Poperinge.

 

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Abeele Aerodrome

 

50°49'00"N 002°39'20"E


 

Runway n/a

 

Airfield Abeele (Dutch: vliegveld Abeele) was a British airfield near Ypres and Poperinge in West-Flanders (Dutch: West-Vlaanderen) in Belgium.

The airfield should not be confused with Flugplatz Abele, which was located some 35 kilometers to its northeast.

During World War I it was home to 4, 5, 6, 8, 29, 32 and 41Sqn RAF.

Many famous pilots flew from Abeele, the most well-known names would be Major Lanoe Hawker (6 Squadron; VC and DSO) and Major James McCudden (29 Squadron; VC, DSO&Bar, MC&Bar and MM) but also famous Belgian pilot Jan Olieslaagers.

The airfield consisted of a converted farm complex with hangars and living quarters on the north side.

Some of the officers had their quarters in the farm.

The southernmost barn and yard was used for maintenance, testing engines, vehicle parking, etc.

The road that bisected the airfield was used for the parking of vehicles along the full length.

In the early days of the war, both sides on the southern half of the airfield were used for take off and landing.

However, from March 1916, only the western half was used as a runway.

A base log entry made on 18 August 1917 states "Bombed by a couple of Huns (Germans) at 10:30pm".

 

The airfield laid out on a present day aerial photo, kindly provided by Mr. Steve Johnson of forgodenglandethel.com

 

Abeele in 1916 and almost 100 years later (forgodenglandethel.com).

 

The geography of the land where Abeele aerodrome once stood has not changed much since the time of World War I.

Most of the field boundaries are the same and even the two ponds are still there, albeit smaller.

The present day Abeele Aerodrome Military Cemetry occupies the land where where at some point the officers tents and huts were located.

The only significant difference is the road on the southern border of the aerodrome, which has been diverted away from the dividing laneway.

On the property of the farm remains a single bunker/shelter, in reasonably good shape (source in dutch).

 

"Thank you!" to Mr. Steve Johnson for providing additional information about this airfield!

 

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Flugplatz Abele

 

approx. 50°54'31"N 003°10'45"E


 

Runway: grass flying field

 

Flugplatz Abele (Dutch: vliegveld Abele, also spelled as Flugplatz Abeele) was a German airfield near Ypres and Poperinge in West-Flanders (Dutch: West-Vlaanderen) in Belgium.

The airfield should not be confused with Abeele Aerodrome (above), which was located some 35 kilometers to its southwest.

During World War I it was built near Chateau Wolvenhof of industrialist Gaspard Vanden Bogaerde in 1917.

The Flugplatz was virtually completely merged with the Flugplatz at Rumbeke.

 

No image available

 

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Moorsele

 

50°51'10"N 003°08'55"E


 

Runway 04/22 - 700x25m - grass

 

Airfield Moorsele (Dutch: vliegveld Moorsele) is a Belgian military airfield west of Kortijk in West-Flanders (Dutch: West-Vlaanderen) in Belgium.

Although the military still use the airfield to train their Paras, it is mostly used by the local aeroclub Moorsele (founded in 2004) and Paracentrum Vlaanderen.

The airfield consists of a single grass runway and 7 hangars.

It is open to ultralight and general aviation aircraft and helicopters.

As it is a military domain access to the field is prohibited, and landings are strictly PPR.

 

Moorsele airfield on an aeronautical chart in 2008

 

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ForumEersteWereldoorlog.nl has an excellent topic (in English!) on WW-I airfields in WestFlanders.

 

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If you have any information about airfields (listed and unlisted) in the province of West Flanders, email RonaldV
(Disclaimer)

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