Single engine, single or two seat observation aircraft
In the weeks leading to the German invasion of Belgium on August 4th, 1914, the Belgian Compagnie des Aviateurs (which could boost four squadrons of Farman (Jero) HF.20 and HF.23bis observation aircraft) was reinforce by a fifth squadron (called Escadrilles de monoplanes) composed of several civilian aircraft and their pilots. Of these, three machines were Blériot IX single seaters (two owned by Jan Olieslagers and the single Blériot IX of Jules Tyck, both famous pre-war Belgian aviators). Because attrition was very high during the siege of Antwerp, the French Government dispatched two Blériot XI-2 twin seat aircraft to Wilrijk aerodrome on August 20th, 1914 to reinforce the hard hit Belgian air arm. After the retreat from Antwerp the Escadrille Monoplan or at least what was left of it, moved via Ghent and the Ostend Wellington Hippodrome to Saint-Pol-sur-Mer (near Dunkirk) in France. Here at least two more Blériot XI-2 aircraft were delivered by the French, so that 4 machines of this type were available in December 1914. By March 1st 1915 the unit was renamed Escadrille “Blériot” and operated very briefly from the famous “Ten Bogaerde” airfield near today’s Koksijde (Coxyde). One new Blériot XI-2 made a force landing near the Zeebrugge-Brugge canal in early 1915 and is said to have been used at Zeebrugge by the Germans. (Info Cnock). After that, the few remaining Blériots were used for pilot training at Calais-Beaumarais and later Etampes. The last Belgian Air Service Blériot XI was destroyed in an accident at Etampes on April 26th, 1916. (Daniel Brackx)
Bleriot XI - Aircraft privately owned by Jan Olieslagers and incorporated in the Compagnie de Aviateurs, Crashed on 2 Mar 1915, Jan Olieslagers injured, aircraft repaired and delivered to Flying School at Etampes. Crashed and written of at Etampes on 26 April 1916. This was the last operational use of a Bleriot with the Belgian Air Service.