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About Galand

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    Long Island, NY USA


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  1. OT Message to the Tornado Crew

    As a 4 year old boy living in Flandersin 1945, I distinctly remember one day a large groups of airplanes coming over in late morning. Everything in the house was vibrating like ConradB describes. I guess it must have been a large day-raid by American bombers. My mother made us kids take shelter in the basement, which I felt was grossly unfair since my elder brothers were allowed to stay outside to watch. The rumbling vibration made a strong impression on me.
  2. Great War Historical Archive

    The attached aerial photograph from the family archives shows the German airfield (50°54'55.88"N 3°14'36.91"E) to the west of Ingelmunster (Flanders-Belgium) during WW1. Ingelmunster is located in western Flanders, within easy airplane striking distance (less than 20 km) from the front. There was another German airfield about 3 km away to the NE of Ingelmunster along the road to Meulebeke. North on the photograph is approx. at 10.00 o'clock. The diagonal main road (from Ingelmunster station to Izegem) and the parallel canal across the picture run east-west. My grandparents owned the property outlined in yellow and when the Germans created the field, they basically found themselves with their 9 children in the middle of a German airfield. Three aircraft hangars are visible against the eastern edge of my grandparent's property and another building (Starthaus?) at the southeast corner. Take-off would have been mostly to the SW from the field portion to the south of the property. That is why I think the building on the SE corner was the "Starthaus". Some 300 meters to the west of the property and also bordering on the main road there is a whole system of trenches and shell holes. Ingelmunster was never part of the front line, so these were not "fighting" trenches. Maybe this was dug to take shelter against Allied attacks on the field (not probable because too far from the field and too extensive) or it was created as a practice ground for strafing trenches. I do not know when the picture was taken, (nor do I know if the source is German or Allied) but there are no airplanes visible and the trees have leaves, the sun is low in the west, the field shows clear traces of usage in front of the hangars. So maybe it was taken after the Germans started pulling back in early autumn 1918, or maybe even the following year in the summer (this is not likely because the trench system looks rather freshly dug) When the Germans decided to create the airfield, the rather large size of my grandparent's house must have been one of the deciding factors. The family with its nine children was ordered to live in the servant quarters in the basement and the German pilots took over the 3 upper floors, so that they were immediately next to the aircraft hangars. The German orderlies shared the kitchen in the basement to prepare food for the pilots. This was not without its positive aspects, because the Germans military had a lot more and better food than the civilians and they would occasionally share. With such a large family this must have been a welcome supplement to the food rations. My two eldest uncles were then around 10-12 years old and were the favorites of the German's cook, who was actually a Frenchman and who would very often give them some extra snacks. One day they had pilfered the Chief Mechanic's "Spritzkanne" (Oilier), when he found out he gave them both a good spanking. The relationship with the occupiers in general seems to have been quite correct On a more macabre note, when an English pilot crashed in flames at the back of the field while strafing, the two boys explored the wreck and noticed grease from the pilot that had "cooked off" and dripped into the fuselage. They collected it and made an "English pilot candle" out of it. My mother told us that Goering as a pilot was billeted there for while and that during WWII he came back to visit and say hello.

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