Monument Guynemer. ©Annie Malfoy
The Guynemer monument in Poelkapelle
From the Carrefour des Roses, you need to drive through Pilkem to get to Langemark and Poelkapelle. Langemark is the site of a large military cemetery in remembrance to 44,500 German soldiers.
In the centre of Poelkapelle stands the monument dedicated to the France "Ace of Aces" Captain Georges Guynemer, one of the most victorious pilots of World War I.
Between June 1915 and September 1917, he won 53 victories in air combat, the final five over the Front of Flanders. Guynemer led the fighter squadron No. 3 (the “Storks”) based in St Pol sur Mer, near Dunkirk, when on 11 September 1917 he was shot down over Poelkapelle by German lieutenant Wisseman.
The body of the French officer of the Legion of Honour was never found.
Before him, another famous French pilot was in active service in Flanders. Roland Garros notched up five victories in April 1915 from Poperinge, when on 19 April, flying over Courtrai, he had the misfortune of being forced to land behind enemy lines and was taken prisoner.
Langemark-Poelkapelle Tourist Information Service: Tel: +32 57 49 09 14