St.Pol-du-Mer

Validation date: 17 09 2013
Updated on: Never
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51°02'37"N 002°20'05"E

runway: 400x400m air field

Air field St.Pol-du-Mer (french: Aérodrome de St.Pol-du-Mer, dutch: vliegveld St.Pols or vliegveld Sint-Pols-aan-Zee) was an airfield an airfield in of Dunkirk, France.
The airfield was opened on 28 September 1913, although its history began as early as 1920, when the political and military authorities of Dunkirk (dutch: Duinkerken) recognised the importance of aviation. The airfield was shaped as a 400x400m square, and had all the modern facilities and comforts of its time. The site used for the airfield had been an old abandoned sanatorium in the town of St.Pol-du-Mer and was designed as an extension of the port of Dunkirk. Various donors sponsored the airfield, amongst others the local philantropic (and creator of the old sanatorium) consul-general of Nord George Wancauwenbergue and the society of Dunkirk veterans. It had used 2 or 3 buildings of the old sanatorium connected by a large tent for about 20 aircraft.
During the opening an airshow was held, which attracted some 50,000 spectators. Various civilian and millitary aircraft flew in the presence of various military and civilian dignitaries. Henry Terquem, Mayor of Dunkirk and General Can, military governor of the city, then performed their first flight.
From the beginning both military and civilian aviators did not have to pay fees for the use of the airfield. The military got it's first glimpse of monitoring traffic in the English Channel/Pas de Calais, which would become a major interest months later.


No photos have been located

Right from the outbreak of World War I the airfield was of prime importance. In September a British aircraft with an emergency landed at the base, the first ever under operational circumstances. In the weeks that followed the French and the British Naval Air Service took poseesion of the airfield. They would perform two tasks: Protection of Dunkirk from German incursions by attacks and bombing missions on German airfields in Belgium. The other mission was to attack and bomb German mililtary installations in Belgium.
French units stationed at the base throughout the war were Escadrilles (Squadrons) 3, 6, 15, 16, 26, 33, 35, 36, 65, 73, 84, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 109, 116, 124 (LF) and BLC5. It is also worth noting that the airfield was home base to Captain George Guynemer, a fighter pilot with 53 victories, decorated many times for his many actions, and a member of Escadrille des Cigognes. In September 1915, Captain Guynemer was based at St.Pol-sur-Mer and involved in the fighting in Flanders. On 11 September he departed the field on a mission that would end tragically above the village of Poelkapelle during a battle with the German pilot Wisseman. He is remembered with statues in Malo Les Bains, Poelkapelle and St.Pol-du-Mer.

It is not known when the airfield closed. It was however no longer an active airfield at the outbreak of World War II. The whole area is unrecognisable now, with the former airfield being in the middle of the port of Dunkirk.


No maps of the airfield could be found