During the First World War, the headquarters of the British army was based in Saint-Omer, that is, near the front line but in an area spared by the fighting. The first squadrons of the Royal Flying Corps (the predecessors to the RAF) made Bruyères aerodrome their home in 1914. Three squadrons of the RAF even have very strong links with our region. In this way, Squadron 9 was created in December 1914, Squadron 16 was born in February 1915, while Squadron 41 carries the twin-bar cross of Saint-Omer.

On 20 September 1918, Squadron 41 left Bruyères aerodrome, ending the RAF’s four-year presence in Saint-Omer.

But the links have never been broken between the British Air Force and the “city of the cauliflower”. That’s why Henry Allingham, the last surviving veteran of the First World War, went to Saint-Omer every year until his death in 2009 at the age of 113 years.

In 2018, the Saint-Omer agglomeration commemorates one hundred years of the RAF.

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