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Today in History

Name: Jan Olieslagers
Order of Leopold II
Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur
Order of St. Stanislas
Jan Olieslagers Croix de Guerre
Croix de Guerre
Country: Belgium
Rank: Lieutenant
Units: 1ère, 2me, 5me, 9me
Victories: 6
Born: 04 May 1883
Place of Birth: Antwerp, Belgium
Died: 23 March 1942
Place of Death: Antwerp, Belgium
The "Antwerp Devil" was the first man to achieve a speed of 100 km/h on a motorcycle. Olieslagers fascination with racing motorcycles led to a world championship in 1902. As his interest shifted to aircraft, he purchased a plane in 1909 and within four years, he'd set seven world records. When the Germans invaded Belgium, he and his two brothers joined the army and donated their three Blériot XI monoplanes to the war effort. In his first aerial combat, Olieslagers attacked an enemy aircraft armed only with a pistol. Throughout the war, he seldom bothered to claim the enemy aircraft he destroyed. Despite a modest score of six confirmed victories, Olieslagers flew 491 sorties and engaged in 97 dogfights. Returning to Antwerp at the end of the war, Olieslagers was responsible for the development of the Antwerp Airport in 1923.
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 12 Sep 1915 1011 2me Nieuport 10 Aviatik C (FTL) Oudstuyvekenskerke
2 17 Jun 1916 1515 1ère Nieuport 11 Fokker D.II (DES) Pypegaele
3 14 Jun 1917 1800 1ère Nieuport C (DES) Schoore
4 15 Jun 1917 1115 1ère Nieuport Fokker D.II (DES) Keyem
5 03 May 1918 1750 9me Hanriot Fokker D.VII (DES) Westende
6 19 May 1918 1740 9me Hanriot Albatros D.V (DES) Woumen
Above Flanders' Field
by Walter M. Pieters / Hardcover / Grub Street (May 1998)
Above the War Fronts
by Norman L. R. Franks, Russell Guest, Gregory Alegi / Hardcover / Grub Street (September 1997)
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