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Mark Hone

Location of 29 Squadron Airfield, Poperinge, September 1917

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Mark Hone

I am trying to find the exact location from which 19 year old Lt. Jack Binns, an old boy of Bury Grammar School, made his final flight on 4th September 1917. He was shot down by German ace Kurt Wusthoff over Zonnebeke and is now buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery. I found that a Forum Pal kindly posted a link to a map showing the location years ago but this no longer works. 

Incidentally, I have discovered during research for the online Roll of Honour that Jack Bins is part of the only known uncle/nephew pairing on our Great War memorial. His uncle, 2/Lt. William Houghton, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, a quite well known magazine cartoonist before the war, was killed during the attempted relief of Kut in Mesopotamia in 1916. 

Any help as always would be much appreciated. 

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Frank_East

A liitle insight relating to No 29 Squadron but no further detail as the exact location where Lt Binns was shot down....perhaps in No 29 Squadron operational details.Did he fall within the British lines?.

 

No 29 Squadron was based at Poperinghe from 5 July 1917 with the Nieuport  17 and Nieuport 24 on charge....one of those squadrons that has seen almost continuous service in the RFC/RAF from its formation on 17 November 1915 at Fort Grange,Gosport.

 

 Disbanded in December 1919,it was reformed at Duxford on 1 April 1923 as part of the protection screen around London in the 1923 "expansion".During the Second World War, it  became a renowned night fighter squadron.....Guy Gibson cut his teeth as a night fighter pilot on this squadron in October 1940 when posted to Digby.

 

i think it is now serving as a Typhoon OCU at Coningsby. 

Edited by Frank_East
Additional material

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Mark Hone

Thanks, it's mainly the location of the airfield I'm trying to track down. He was shot down over Zonnebeke and the plane crashed behind enemy lines. The Germans originally buried him at De Router Cemetery but he was moved to Tyne Cot after the war.

 

Edited by Mark Hone

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IanA

I'm sure an expert will step in soon but the only rough sketch map I've seen has the aerodrome halfway between Pop and Proven. They are only around three and a half miles apart so not a huge area to consider.

 

Ian

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Frank_East

Here it is from a discussion raised by Mark 12 years ago....its on the road to Krombeke and before the airfield site at La Lovie...apparently Poperinghe airfield was also known as Poperinghe Kerkhof.....cannot pick up Kerkhof on a 1-200000 scaled map.

 

 

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MikeMeech
13 hours ago, Mark Hone said:

I am trying to find the exact location from which 19 year old Lt. Jack Binns, an old boy of Bury Grammar School, made his final flight on 4th September 1917. He was shot down by German ace Kurt Wusthoff over Zonnebeke and is now buried in Tyne Cot Cemetery. I found that a Forum Pal kindly posted a link to a map showing the location years ago but this no longer works. 

Incidentally, I have discovered during research for the online Roll of Honour that Jack Bins is part of the only known uncle/nephew pairing on our Great War memorial. His uncle, 2/Lt. William Houghton, Royal Welsh Fusiliers, a quite well known magazine cartoonist before the war, was killed during the attempted relief of Kut in Mesopotamia in 1916. 

Any help as always would be much appreciated. 

Hi

I am not sure this will help, and you may already looked at it.  The Official History 'War in the Air' Volume IV, opposite page 212, has the Battle of Ypres, 1917 map showing locations of RFC/RNAS units (these volumes are available as free downloads so you may already have them), extract below.  Then I suppose use Google Earth to see if there is any modern trace of the airfield.

 

Mike

WW11917Poperinghe050.jpg

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Starlight

I asked a researcher friend in Poperinge to see if she could definitively locate the allied aerodromes around Poperinge during WW1 (especially as I wanted to know where 6 Squadron was based before it moved to Abele) and she came up trumps with a 1918 map. Not only does it provide a location of the four aerodromes, it also gives an outline of the exact boundaries.

 

For anyone having difficulty placing the sites on a modern day map, the following should help:

 

Proven - southern quadrant of the intersection of the N308 and Bleckerijweg

La Lovie - on the eastern side of Krombeekseweg

Eikhoek (Poperinge) - north eastern side of N308, just north of the intersection with Watousewg. This would have been the airfield Jack Bins would have flown from the day he was killed as 29 Squadron was based there at the time (and incidentally 6 Squadron during Mar/Apr 1915) 

Abele - northern side of the intersection between the N333 and D948 (Dodemanstraat intersects the airfield with the Abele Military cemetery where once officers huts stood during WW1).

 

I hope this helps

Steve

 

PoperingheAirfields.jpg

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Mark Hone

Thank you so much for this. I plan to visit the location on my 2017 tour , prior to visiting Jack's grave at Tyne Cot. Photograph shows Lt. John Houghton Binns, RFC.

binns.jpg

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Filip De Cooman

Is this still an active thread? I have quite some info about these airfields, mainly about La lovie.

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Mark Hone

Filip: yes, indeed. I am planning to feature Jack's story on my next (and possibly last) school battlefields tour in 2020.

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Filip De Cooman

Hi Mark,

I lived 200m from the airfield for several years. I know it's exact location. It is still pretty intact, but has mostly become an agricultural field now.
De roads leading up to it and going in it, are still the same, they just have been paved over a bit. Now a very silent, serene place in comparisson with the roar of days long gone by...
It was home to 21, 22, 23, 29, 35, 55, 74 Sqdn during the war.

Many people have long believed the airfield to be within the terrain of the Lovie chateau. The chateau was, as we all know, in use as HQ for many units during the war, but the airfield itself was about 400 metres further on the other side of the road. Coming from Poperinge city driving in the direction of the chateau, you will be on the Krombeekseweg (the road to the village of Krombeke) The chateau domain is surrounded by trees, you can't miss it. You don't have to go into this forrest. If you've passed the entrance of 'De lovie' (now a centre for people with mental issues) You've driven too far.

The following map gives a pretty clear (but colorful!) idea of what buildings stood were and what their purpose was. Also what squadron they belonged to in april 1918 is written down.
Only the big buildings were marked on this Grman 1918 map. The smaller places like huts, storage rooms and small hangars are not on it. There were quite some of these smaller structures on the other side of the road. One small aircraft hangar is still visible, althouh modified. It is being used a shed/garage.

The intersection between the Krombeekseweg and the Pereboomwegel was there in 14-18 and still marks the NW corner of the field. The brick house on the corner stands just in front of the place where the barracks of 23 Squaron would have stood. 6 large wooden barracks and a wooden mess building. The 6 barracks are visible on the map as is the mess in front of them.
This intersection was a gathering point for many lorrys and men. From the barracks point of view, towards the field, a couple of aircraft hangars would have stood just across the small pereboomwegel.
It seemd pretty chaotic, not everything was build at the same time and in nice rows. This is a late war field. It would appear logical, in these circumstances, the RFC just put up buildings when they needed them and where they found the room for them.

All base structures were located on the side and parallel to the Krombeekseweg (orange). 21 squadron had their barracks/huts near a farm house. The farmhouse itself was used for the officers and as storage. All main buildings were connected by telephone wires, some still exist today. In trees and on original poles (green on the map)

More than ones, crash landings happened. I've marked two locations where the Brits had a crash landing for sure. I know because the farmers told me, but I believe to have been many more all around the base.

There used too be a small dirt road going from the farmhouse on the krombeekseweg towards the end of the field, towards the NE on the map. More or less in the direction of that 'missing corner' in the rectangel of the field. This road had some hangars next to it (in the summer when the field is very dry, you can still see the outlining of these hangars. The lenght of this road was a gathering point for fighter aircraft ready to go.

The landing/take off direction was from the south to the north/north-east. Depending on the wind off course. Old people used to tell me, the pilots sometimes landed and took off at the same time, because it was quite a large field.(800-900 metres long, 600 metres wide). The soldiers were friendly to our population and sometimes gave some sweet to the children nearby. These very same children, who had now aged, later told me that the men of 21 and 23 squadrons did not appear to get along all the time; sometimes the mechanics of each unit got into fights, not affraid to use tools at hand. The officers never got into the fight but gathered round, some to encourage their mechanics others to put an end to the fight.

An intresting fact: in june 1917 a damaged SPAD VII of 23 squadron landed on the base (most likely
Lt. Robert Wallace Farquhar )
He had just survived an encounter with M. Von Richthofen and had survived to tell the tale.

I will be posting more info and pictures soon.


1539869430_lalovie.jpg.edefd66224aee80904df9fa05af164bc.jpg

 

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Filip De Cooman

There are actually 4 airfields very close to each other here. 3 are on this map and a 4th is just off the map to the south.
This is a very clear german map, dated april 1918. The propellors showed the location of the fields. A yellow circle was drawn around them.

FYI: Between Proven airfield and La lovie airfield you can read 'canada' that was and still is a dark forest with a rich history. Now mostly famous for the fact that it holds the most complete WW2 V1 launching station in West Flanders, Belgium

 

159166096_3fields.jpg.0a02d1fe2de8d77beb7be89a8d5eae2e.jpg

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Filip De Cooman

0IMG_2533.jpg

966440728_laloviepic.jpg.b8f4a5df7b39bbea41e77892d70726db.jpg

 

The only pictures I have seen that can accuratly be pinpointed to La Lovie. From september 1917.
The top pictures (i apologize for the small scale) shows us some concrete hangars in the background.
1 of these hangars is still there, but has been repainted and modified. Door is not original:

 

hangar.jpg.dead590de7be33cda78f9464787458e3.jpg

(google streetview)

 

Lastly: When it is very dry, you can see the shape of the barracks of squadron 23. The color of the grass changes to. It is more visible in real life, i have tried to draw out the lines for better visual effect. In real life the grass is greener, it is clearly rectangular shaped and has the same shape as on the map.

1333913182_barracks23.jpg.a3185cfb4f777605c6f30826b29a080c.jpg

Edited by Filip De Cooman

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Mark Hone

Thank you so much for this fascinating information. I drove past "Canada' the last time I was in the Poeringe area a few weeks ago and noticed the V1 site signposted. I must pay it and the airfields a visit when I'm next there.

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Simon Birch

Filip,

Just wanted to add my thanks to Mark's. The Sqd. I am interested in, 65, where based there for a time so its nice to see exactly were.

Good Stuff- thanks Again,

 

Simon

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Frederik

Filip,

 

I’m very interested in this topic, because about a year ago we’ve bought the building on the map, on the right of the huts and the mess.

 

The original location of the barracks of squadron 23 is now our garden.

 

If anyone has any pictures or more information about all of this, it’s very welcome.

Also, if I can of be any help, feel free to ask.

 

Frederik

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