The Airmen's Stories - P/O W Van Lierde
Willi van Lierde was born in Laeken, a suburb of Brussels, Belgium on 23rd May 1903. He entered the Belgian Air Force and gained his wings on 25th September 1924.
At the time of the German attack on 10th May 1940 he was serving with 5/III/1 at Goetsenhoven, operating the Fairey Fox.
His unit was withdrawn to France to continue the fight but with the French collapse imminent van Lierde and several other pilots reached Port Vendres where with the help of a British destroyer and the support of the Belgian Embassy in London they embarked on the SS Apapa on the 24th June 1940. They arrived in Liverpool on 7th July.
After processing through the reception centre for Belgians and a refresher course at an OTU van Lierde was posted to 87 Squadron at Church Fenton on 12th August.
Above: P/O FXE de Spirlet, van Lierde.
On 7th April 1941 he was posted to 609 Squadron at Biggin Hill.
It is believed that his remaining war service was as an instructor.
Van Lierde died in 1960.