Airship "Belgique" which after several upgrades became known as the "Belgique II" and later "Belgique III"
Observation and Training Airships
In 1909 the Belgian Government acquired the first military trainer-airship "Zodiac" for military use which was intended to form personnel for the "Compagnie des Ouvrier et Aérostatiers du Génie". Commanded by Commandant G. le Clément de Saint Marcq this unit was subordinate to the "Compagnie d'Ouvrier de 1er Régiment du Génie and in 1910 became the "Compagnie d'Aérostiers du Génie". In 1910 the unit received a second airship named "Belgique" as a donation from its owners Mrs. Goldschmidt and Solvay. after two major upgrades the Belgique III as it became known was operational Wilrijk, at the start of World War I. That same year a third airship was acquired called "Ville de Bruxelles" constructed by the Société Avia and initially intended for commercial use. Unfortunately, these airships played a minor role during the opening days of World War I with only the "Belgique II" being fully operational. Belgique III was transported to France where it served as coastal guard at La Rochelle while the fate of the t wo other airships remains a mystery.