Willy Coppens (6 July 1892 - 21 December 1986) was Belgium's leading fighter ace and the champion "balloon buster" of World War I. Events 1044 - The Battle of Ménfő takes place 1189 - Richard the Lionheart is crowned King of England Year 1892 ( MDCCCXCII) was a Leap year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian Calendar (or a Leap year Events 69 - The end of the Year of the four emperors: Following Galba, Otho and Vitellius, Vespasian Year 1986 ( MCMLXXXVI) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link displays 1986 Gregorian calendar) The Kingdom of Belgium is a Country in northwest Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts its headquarters as well as those A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down several enemy Aircraft during aerial combat Balloon busters were military pilots known for destroying enemy Observation balloons. World War I (abbreviated WWI; also known as the First World War, the Great War, and the War to End All
Coppens was born in Watermaal-Bosvoorde and joined the army in 1912 serving with Belgium's 2nd Grenadiers. Watermaal-Bosvoorde ( Dutch) or Watermael-Boitsfort ( French) is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region In 1914, he transferred to Compagnie des Aviateurs and trained to fly on his own expense (including 39 other Belgians) in Britain. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom from 1 January 1801 until 12 April 1927 After training in Britain he had further training in France so he it took until 1916 to fly observation aircraft. Year 1916 ( MCMXVI) was a Leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Leap year
Once transferred to fighters, Coppens made a spectacular record. Between April and October 1918 he was credited with destroying 34 German observation balloons and three airplanes, nearly as many victories as Belgium's other five aces combined. Year 1918 ( MCMXVIII) was a Common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common The German Empire is the name commonly used in English to describe Germany from 1871 to 1918 when it was a semi- Constitutional monarchy: beginning with the Unification World War I Observation Balloon HD-SN-99-02269JPEG|200px|thumb|right|Close-up view of an American major in the basket of an observation balloon flying over territory near front lines during World
On his last mission, 14 October, Coppens was severely wounded and had a leg amputated. For his wartime service he was knighted, becoming Willy Omer Francois Jean Coppens de Houthulst, for a forest in his squadron's operating area. He was decorated by Belgium, France, Britain, and Serbia. This article is about the country For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic France topics. Serbia (Србија Srbija) officially the Republic of Serbia (Република Србија Republika Srbija) is a Landlocked Country
Between the two World Wars Coppens was Belgian air attaché to four nations. An air attaché is an Air force officer who is part of a Diplomatic mission; this post is normally filled by a high-ranking officer He retired to Switzerland in 1940. Switzerland (English pronunciation; Schweiz Swiss German: Schwyz or Schwiiz Suisse Svizzera Svizra officially the Swiss Confederation Year 1940 ( MCMXL) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. His memoirs, Days on the Wing, were published in 1931 and reissued in the 1970s as Flying in Flanders. Year 1931 ( MCMXXXI) was a Common year starting on Thursday (link will display full 1931 calendar of the Gregorian calendar.