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Olham

"Ten Bogaerde Ferme" and the Great War Airfield at Koksijde

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If you ever come to Koksijde...

The history of the abbey farm, or the farming property "Ten Bogaerde" is closely connected
with the Abbey of the Dunes. Dune Lord Walter gave the "Bongart" as the property was called
in original documents, to the monks in 1148. Due to its proximity to the Abbey the estate was
an ideal campsite. Under Nikolaas Van Belle (Abt 1233-1253) they built the Cistercian abbey
here; it was therefore the largest barn in Flanders.

In the 16th Century the much reduced community of monks moved from the abbey into the
property "Ten Bogaerde". They added some buildings; so they built the chapel to a church that
was used in 1712 as a barn. 1627, the men finally moved into the dunes 'retreat' of "Ter Doest"
near Bruges.

After the seizure by the French in 1796 and the repurchase by the expelled monks, the last dune
Lord gave all of the remaining possession in 1833 to the Diocese of Bruges.
Ten Bogaerde remained until 1948, a simple farm house.

Ten years later the congregation purchased the farm of the Abbey of Koksijde.
Following the successful restoration of the 13th century in Romanesque style, the estate is the
ideal venue for numerous events, concerts and exhibitions to lectures and receptions.
Since 2005, a restaurant is located in the former home.


This info I found in the web. Unfortunately they did not mention the airfield at all.
I found in another site, that the field was first used under the name "Ten Bogaerde" by the Belgians.
But it was still used in 1915 and 1916 at least, and perhaps someone else can contribute here, which
squadrons and/or Escadrilles were stationed here, and when.

 

Ten Bogaarde - Koksijde.jpg





 

Edited by Olham

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It would have been an interesting place to have been stationed. OT1H, perhaps there was easy access to the excellent beer that all Belgian momks make. But OTOH, LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT SPIDER IN THE YARD!!! If the spider is that big, the mosquitos must be capable of flying off with small children :yikes:

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Furnes 1916-12-03 - 1917-02-14 No. 201 Squadron, RFC (No. 1 (Naval) Squadron, RNAS)

Furnes 1917-02-07 - 1917-03-27 No. 208 Squadron, RFC (No. 8 (Naval) Squadron, RNAS)

Furnes 1917-03-25 - 1917-05-14 No. 210 Squadron, RFC (No. 10 (Naval) Squadron, RNAS)

Furnes 1917-05-15 - 1917-06-14 No. 209 Squadron, RFC (No. 9 (Naval) Squadron, RNAS)

Furnes 1917-06-15 - 1917-09-05 No. 203 Squadron, RAF (No. 3 (Naval) Squadron, RNAS)

Koksijde 1916-04-05 - 1916-06-05 Escadrille 26

 

Plus Escadrilles I, II and III of the Belgian airforce, which I haven't complete dates for yet but I know the 1ére Escadrille moved there on 17th October 1914 and was followed shortly by the 2éme and 3éme.

 

Furnes was the name the British gave to the aerodrome

 

It was from here that Rex Warneford took off on 7 June 1915 to shoot down the airship LZ37, thus earning himself a VC.

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Thanks for the info, Dej. You're absolutely sure, Koksijde and Furnes is the same field?

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Checked it, and you must be correct, Dej - Veurne is the next bigger town down the road.

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.

 

Koksijde and Furnes are not the same aerodrome, and in fact both can be found in OFF. But Dej has provided a very nice outline for the one.

 

.

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According to Martin O'Connor in Airfields and Airmen of the Channel Coast, Coxyde (British spelling) or Koksijde and Furnes are the same aerodrome. It's the endemic problem in locating WW1 aerodromes with confidence, in that many went by at least two names, plus the larger 'dromes often had satellite landing grounds, e.g. Marcke and Marckebeke, which were physically two but are often thought to be one and the same.

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.

 

Quite right Dej about the problems of accurately locating all the airfields in WWI. However, according to my map, these are two separate dromes and are located as shown below:

 

 

Koksijde_and_Furnes_Aerodromes.jpg

 

 

I seem to remember reading that the Belgians established the Koksijde aerodrome, while the French established Furnes. But then, I've been known to be wrong. :smile:

 

Lou

 

.

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It gets more focusing. Quite often you get two named dromes using the same field, but if you park your machine at the sheds on one side of the field, you are on this drome, and if you park at those sheds over there, then you are at that drome

Cheers

Shredward

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.

 

Quite right Dej about the problems of accurately locating all the airfields in WWI. However, according to my map, these are two separate dromes and are located as shown below:

 

I seem to remember reading that the Belgians established the Koksijde aerodrome, while the French established Furnes. But then, I've been known to be wrong. :smile:

 

Lou

 

.

 

Actually Lou, I'd prefer to agree with your view. Indeed in my Google Earth Mapping project I have them as separate entities, which is why in my post above I listed Furnes for the RNAS squadrons and Koksijde for Escadrille 26. I haven't mapped Belgian squadrons on to it yet, I'm struggling with the Austro-Hungarians at present!

 

My original source for mapping was information that Ted (Shredward) passed me which is based on Wynne's Aerodrome Project in OTF 6.1.

 

I hesitate to disagree with Martin O'Connor though, and it is his entry the aforementioned Airfields and Airmen... that inclined me to give both and to provide his asertion that they are the same..

 

C. G. Jefford in 'RAF Squadrons: A Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of All RAF Squadrons and Their Antecedents Since 1912..'

also has both Coxyde and Furnes listed in the index, further pointing towards their being separate.

 

But again, I don't know Martin O'Connor's reason for stating they are the same so I can't argue.

 

[EDIT] I should note that O'Connoer has Coxyde/Furnes at the location of Coxyde, i.e. Ten Bogaerde, for those as haven't his book[/EDIT]

Edited by Dej

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It would have been an interesting place to have been stationed.

Indeed - a lovely place with probably a good wine cellar!

As an officer, you would have lived in the Chateau-like big building. Oh yes - with style!

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.

 

Rank has its privilages you know. :grin:

 

 

Dej, I also would not want to casually disagree with a scholar such as O'Conner as I am sure he did a large amount of research for his book. However, it does seem that there are two distinct aerodromes in the equation. That being said, there is also a fair amount of ambiguity as to which aerodrome is being referred to when one says 'Furnes'. Even a contemporary writer such as Admiral Sir Reginald Bacon, in his circa 1919 extensive two-volume work 'The Dover Patrol', adds to this when he mentions the Advance Squadron of the RNAS 1st Wing moving up to an airfield established by the French at Furnes. From the squadrons and commanders he lists it is clear he is referring to the airfield at Ten Bogaerde (i.e Koksijde), yet he calls it Furnes and states it was an aerodrome established by the French, (the Ten Bogaerde aerodrome was in fact established by the Belgians). If writings done one year after the Armistice can't clear this up how can we hope to nearly a century removed from the facts.

 

.

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Indeed, Lou.

 

The sheer number of 'landing grounds' of whatever description, their size, their 'volatility' and their proximity to each other seems to have confused their contemporary users as much as it does us.

 

There's a very illustrative situation on the German side, where, following the road from St.-Remy-le-Petit to Juniville, a distance of approx. 11 kilometers (7.5ish miles) there are seemingly, by name anyway, six aerodromes. Now they were not used all at the same time but according to the data I have at least four were in occupation contemporaneously from June thru September '18. It must have been pretty much one big aeropark.

 

Ditto with that contentious trio of Bray Dunes, Middle and Frontier

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I noticed exactly that - six German airfields on such a short bit of road - when doing my last maps for download, Dej.

 

And then, they may not even have had a sign, a painted panel saying "Koksijde" or "La Jolie Ferme" - they may have

been named by the fliers. One might have called it Koksijde airfield, the next said "the field south of Koksijde", and

the third thought, it was called Furnes.

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