Les Zeppelins à Cognelée près de Namur en Belgique

Cognelée est situé sur le périmètre de la ville de Namur et constituait dès lors un maillon important dans le ceinture de forts destinée à la défense de la cité.
Le 22 Août 1914, l'agression allemande désarçonna rapidement cette ligne de défense, le fort de Cognelée fut ébranlé et l'état-major allemand décida quelques semaines plus tard d'ériger 3 hangars pour recevoir des Zeppelins destinés à bombarder Paris et d'autres grandes villes du front…

site to be nam hangars à zeppelins cognelée colormibb

Le Quotidien républicain " L'OUEST ECLAIR" datant du 14 Mars 1916 relate un article concernant 2 Zeppelins provenant du site de Cognelée…

 

Issue du Zeppelin LZ 77

 

site to be nam cogn allemands 1916

Les hangars servent à l'aviation alliée à la fin de la guerre

149 Squadron RFC/RAF

149 Squadron was formed at Ford Junction, near Littlehampton, from an

element of  148 squadron on 1 March 1918. The same month the Squadron

equipped with the RAF FE2b, which it was to operate as a night bomber. Major

GP Greenwood arrived to assume command on 3 March.

Edward Frank Wilson was one of the first pilots posted to 149 Squadron. He

arrived from 38 (HD) Squadron having completed a total of 119 flying hours.

Wilson's first flight with the Squadron was in A6549 on 3 April. He flew

B469 and D9089 also, before 149 moved down to Lympne for the flight across

the Channel on 2 June. By then D9089 had been allocated to Wilson.

19 May 1918 Captain George Robinson MC, attached from the Canadian Mounted

Rifles, was killed when C9792 crashed. The observer, 2Lt CHP Hughes, was

injured. Robinson was buried at Wye in Kent.

2 June 1918 Flew over the Channel to St Omer to join II (Army) Wing, 2nd

Brigade, attached to Second Army for Flanders battle.

(2 June 1918 Marquise ? – first operation was from St Omer, and then various

satellite airfields were used as the Allied troops advanced. These included

Marquise, Alquines, Quelmes and Abeele. Marquise needed a lot of hard work

by all ranks to turn it in to a useable airfield.)

'Lighthouses' on wheels were used to guide bombers back to base.

Red flares were used by returning aircraft which were lost. The aerodrome

would answer with flares indicating that it was OK to land. The Germans

discovered this and used it as a navigation aid to help them bomb the

British airfields.

4 June 1918 Quilen

16 June 1918 Alquines, forming part of II Brigade, with detachments to

Abeele and Clairmarais North

16 June 1918 Clairmarais North

23-24 June 1918 first operation flown from St Omer. This resulted in 149

Squadron's  first loss of personnel to enemy action when Lt JW Thompson

(Thomson) and Lt LJW Ingram failed to return on 23 June. The crew, who had

left to bomb Armentieres at 11:36 pm, were confirmed later as prisoners.

They were repatriated on 13 December 1918. During this period the targets

bombed included communications, supplies, ammunition dumps, airfields etc.

Reconnaissance was undertaken also. 18 July 1918 Lt RA Vosper and Lt A Smith

failed to return in FE2b D3779, having left Clairmarais North on a bombing

raid at 10:30 pm. They were confirmed as prisoners and remained so until

repatriation on 13 December 1918.

4 July 1918 Wilson flew on his first operation. He took off at 22:50 hours

with Lt Sturgies as observer. The targets were Merville and Armentieres, on

which Sturgies dropped eight 20lb bombs.

9 July 1918 Wilson flew a night reconnaissance patrol over Armentieres and

Bailleul, during the course of which he dropped six Cooper bombs.

18 July 1918 Merville, Armentieres, Lille and Ypres were reconnoitred. Four

bombs were dropped.

During August three or four short distance bombing sorties were flown each

night. These included, for Wilson, a sortie against Cambrai railway station

on 6 August, 112lb bombs on Lille and Bac St Mair on 11 and 13 August and a

forced return with a dud engine on 24 August.

Engine problems were not unusual. In September Wilson, flying with Cuffe as

observer, heard the engine cut out while they were over Lille. Wilson was

able to get the engine started again by putting the FE2 in to a dive.

On 25 September Wilson dropped eight 25lb and one 112 lb bombs on Roulers.

28 September was particularly busy, with 149 Squadron dropping a total of 42

x 112lb and 326 x 25lb bombs on Menin, Courtrai and Lille. Eight aircraft

made four sorties each that night, while Lt Haldiman and 2Lt Jones made five

trips between 19L50 hours and 04:50  hours.

4 October 1918 Wilson made his last successful operational sortie, to Menin.

13 October 1918  Wilson forced to return due to bad weather. His FE2 had

lost a wheel, which was not apparent until the aircraft was coming in to

land. Wilson jettisoned his bombs over the Lines and managed to land the FE2

with only minor damage to the aircraft.

25 October 1918 Ste Marguerite, attached from IX Brigade

Two very successful tactical attacks were carried out at the end of October,

followed by raids on the roads to Ypres in the driving rain with the cloud

base as low as 1 000 feet. Up to nine sorties were flown each night. Over

two nights 12 tons of bombs were dropped, in addition to ground strafing.

15 September 1918 Lt Alexander John Gavin King, a 24-year-old pilot from

East Griqualand, South Africa and 2Lt John William Hogan, an observer, was

killed while flying in FE2b D9106. They are both buried at Longuenesse.

3-4 November 1918 Lt Frank H Marsh and Lt Cuffe failed to return from a

sortie against railway sidings at Renaix, and force landed in the mist

behind Allied Lines. They arrived back with 149 Squadron 24 hours later.

Captain CES Russell developed a 'flame reducer' to obscure flame from engine

exhausts. This became standard a fitting for night bomber squadrons.

Chief Mechanic Latham modified bomb carriers to take either bombs or

Michelin flares so that the FE2 could be used as both a bomber and a

reconnaissance aircraft.

10-11 November 1918 Last operational sortie completed.

11 November 1918 By the Armistice 149 Squadron had dropped 80 tons of bombs

and completed 161 reconnaissance flights. Seven of the original 11 FE2bs

were still operational and only two crews were lost.

26 November 1918 Fort Cognelee (north of Namur). Aircraft hangared in a

former Zeppelin shed.

24 December 1918 Bickendach airfield, Bickendorf, as part of the British

Army of Occupation.

26 March 919 England

26 March 1919 to Tallaght, Ireland, as a cadre where the Squadron disbanded

on 1 August.

site me be nam cognelée avion craché devant hang zep

site me be nam cogn ballon près hang

En 2004, lors de l'abattage d' arbres sur un terrain de Cognelée, découverte des vestiges des fondations des hangars de Zeppelins.


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