Conteville, France 03 May 1918 - 02 Jun 1918
Conteville, Somme, Picardy, France
The site of the airfield is SW of the village and was served by a railway link visible in the photograph below.
The line has long gone but the route is preserved as a footpath.
Conteville was first used in the first quarter of 1916 by the French 40th Ballooning Company and then by seven squadrons of the RFC/RAF including 49Sqn.
After World War I the airfield was abandoned and returned to agricultural use.
In 1940 the fields were prepared for use by Air Groups of the British Expeditionary Force in France. However, it is not clear if they ever got to use it!
German troops found the airfield (which they renamed Flugplatz Yvrench) and used it as a fighter base for Me109s from June 1940 onwards.
A long stretch of the German runway still remains.
We puzzled the local farmer by driving up and down the runway and taxiways as fast as we dared!
Click the play button to "take off" down the WW2 Luftwaffe runway.
49Sqn and Conteville
03 May 1918 - 02 Jun 1918
Casualties: 10 x DH9. 8 x killed, 4 x wounded, 2 x injured After the squadron's arrival from Petite Synthe the first two weeks of their stay saw their operations much curtailed by heavy rain and low cloud.
The picture below shows Lt Allan Harper Curtis in the cockpit of DH.9 C6114 ‘M’ at Conteville with a 112 lb bomb slung under the aircraft.
It was in this aircraft that Lt Curtis and Observer Sgt A W Davies received damage from both AA fire and fighter attack.
Despite a faltering engine, the pilot managed to regain the allied lines and as his engine failed, Lt Allan Curtis carried out a skilful forced landing in which both crew members walked away unharmed.
On May 27th 1918 the Third Battle of the Aisne began with a German artillery bombardment which fired two million shells in four hours. This was the final large-scale attempt by the Germans to win the war before the complete arrival of the U.S. Army in France. The Allied forces were taken entirely by surprise and the rapid progress of the German troops was a reminder of the earlier days of the war. The Germans were well on their way towards Paris when 49Sqn was moved to further south to Fourneuil.