André de Meulemeester: The Eagle of Flanders
Andre de Meulemeester dubbed 'The Eagle of Flanders' joined the Belgian Air Service on January 26, 1915 and was assigned to 1ère Escadrille de Chasse on April 8, 1917.
While flying a Nieuport 17, de Meulemeester scored six victories before his unit was re-equipped with the Hanriot HD.1. In the spring of 1918, he was joined 9me, scoring four more victories by the end of the war.
During 511 sorties, de Meulemeester engaged the enemy in aerial combat 185 times, was wounded in action twice and was attacked by British D.H.4s on two occasions.
He was awarded Order of Leopold II, Belgian and French Croix de Guerre, Silver Award of Italian Medal for Military Valor
André De Meulemeester joined the Belgian Air Service in January 1915. In October 1916, he was assigned to 1ère Escadrille de Chasse as a Nieuport 17 pilot dubbed Sergeant Mystère. He had a victory claim unconfirmed on 1 February 1917, and scored his first official one on 30 April. By the time he scored his sixth and last Nieuport-borne win, on 4 November 1917, he had also accrued nine unconfirmed claims. He then changed up to a Hanriot HD.1. Using his new craft, he managed to score one more confirmed and three more unconfirmed victories before changing squadrons. On 17 March 1918, he scored the first of four confirmed and five unconfirmed victories with 9me Escadrille de Chasse. His eleventh undisputed triumph was as a balloon buster; he destroyed an observation balloon on 5 October 1918.
During the war, he had flown 511 combat sorties, engaged in 185 aerial fights, and been wounded twice.
| ||01 Feb 1917||1515||1ère||Nieuport||Rumpler C (FTL)||Lombartzyde|
|1||30 Apr 1917||0900 -1115||1ère||Nieuport||C (DES)||Leke|
| ||02 May 1917||0710||1ère||Nieuport||C (FTL)||Schoore|
|2||12 Jun 1917||1540||1ère||Nieuport||C (DES)||Vladsloo|
| ||15 Jun 1917||1115||1ère||Nieuport||D (DES)||Keyem|
|3||10 Jul 1917||2000||1ère||Nieuport||C (DES)||Ramscapelle|
|4||20 Jul 1917||0620||1ère||Nieuport||C (DES)||Yser River|
| ||23 Jul 1917||1550||1ère||Nieuport||D (OOC)||Kortewilde|
| ||05 Aug 1917||1600-1630||1ère||Nieuport||D (OOC)||S of Dixmude|
|5||21 Aug 1917||1ère||Nieuport||Albatros C (DES)||Yser Front|
| ||30 Sep 1917||1040||1ère||Nieuport||C (FTL)|| |
| ||01 Oct 1917||1545||1ère||Nieuport||C (OOC)|| |
| ||18 Oct 1917||0915||1ère||Nieuport||Albatros (OOC)||Tervaete|
| ||28 Oct 1917||1545||1ère||Nieuport||D (OOC)|| |
|6||04 Nov 1917||0745||1ère||Nieuport||Albatros D.III (DES)||Kloosterhoek|
| ||17 Nov 1917||1130-1135||1ère||Hanriot HD.1||Albatros (OOC)||Leke|
| ||16 Feb 1918||1104||1ère||Hanriot HD.1||C (OOC)||Pervyse|
| ||21 Feb 1918||0850||1ère||Hanriot HD.1||C (OOC)||Clercken|
|7||21 Feb 1918||1450||1ère||Hanriot HD.1||Albatros D.V (DES) 1||Dixmude|
|8||17 Mar 1918||1100||9me||Hanriot HD.1||C (DES)||Dixmude|
| ||26 Mar 1918||1700||9me||Hanriot HD.1||Pfalz D.III (CAP)||Dixmude|
| ||11 Apr 1918||1815||9me||Hanriot HD.1||C (OOC)||Schoore|
|9||03 May 1918||1135||9me||Hanriot HD.1||C (DES)||Schoorbakke|
| ||09 May 1918||1315||9me||Hanriot HD.1||C (OOC)||Fort Knocke|
|10||17 May 1918||1030||9me||Hanriot HD.1||C (DES)||Houthulst|
| ||25 Aug 1918||0930||9me||Hanriot HD.1||C (OOC/FTL)||Houthulst|
| ||02 Oct 1918||1825||9me||Hanriot HD.1||Halberstadt C (OOC)||Beveren/Lys|
|11||05 Oct 1918||0705||9me||Hanriot HD.1||Balloon (DES)||Thourout|
Until a few years before his death, De Meulemeester kept alive the comradeship with the Belgian pilots of the Great War. Regularly he invited them at his house for dinners which he offered under the name of 'Club Mystère'. Each time he invited a prominent personality as a guest of honour. They always wrote at length in his Guestbook.
Amongst the guests of honour were Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians, Belgian Prime Ministers Achiel Van Acker, Paul van Zeeland, Paul-Henri Spaak, Joseph Pholien, Jean Van Houtte, papal nuntii Fernando Cento and Efrem Forni, Cabinet Ministers Camille Gutt, Arthur Gilson, high ranking civil servants, generals, presidents of banks, etc.
In 1919, de Meulemeester left the army, gave up flying and went to work in his family's brewery business.