Who's Who - Andre de Meulemeester

Andre de Meulemeester Andre Emile Alfons de Meulemeester (1894-1973) was Belgium's second highest-scoring air ace of the First World War, with his eleven victories bested only by Willy Coppens' 37.

De Meulemeester was born in Bruges on 28 December 1894 the son of a brewer.  He enlisted with the Belgian Air Service in January 1915 and was trained at the air school at Etampes.  April 1917 brought him an appointment to the 1st Escadrille, chiefly flying Farman aircraft.

His first confirmed 'kill' came on 30 April 1917 in the skies above Lecke when he downed a German two-seater.  This was followed by a second victory a month and a half later on 11 June.  De Meulemeester was subsequently tagged 'The Eagle of Flanders' for his success in bringing down a German Albatross above the Yser on the Belgian national holiday of 21 July 1917, although he himself was seriously wounded during the dogfight, requiring hospitalisation for a month.

Thereafter the bold de Meulemeester daubed his Hanriot HD1 aircraft bright yellow; he joined 9me in the Spring of 1918.  By the close of the war he had amassed a total of eleven air successes, a figure which included one observation balloon, and suffered a further wound in action.

Following the armistice de Meulemeester left the Belgian air force and returned home to his family's brewing business.  He died on 7 March 1973 in Bruges aged 78.

By 1918 the percentage of women to men working in Britain had risen to 37% from 24% at the start of the war.

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