Hanriot HD-1

 

 

Hanriot HD-1 H-D 1

 

 

 

Hanriot HD-1

Single engine, single seat fighter aircraft

 

     In 1917 the Belgian Air Service, which started off the Great War with only a handful of observation aircraft already had developed into a well-trained and efficient force which was more than a match for the German forces operating along the IJzer river on the Western front.  A Fighter group was created (No’s 1 and 5 Squadrons) and small numbers of modern fighter aircraft such as the Nieuport 17/23 and the Spad VII were starting to be delivered to the Belgians.  However, French and British aircraft production was still essentially needed for domestic use so that deliveries to Belgium were slow and in limited numbers. To be able to rely on yet another source for fighter aircraft procurement, the Belgian authorities turned to the French constructor Hanriot which produced the nimble but very maneuverable Hanriot HD-1 designed by the company’s chief designer Pierre Dupont.  As the French government preferred the Nieuport and Spad fighters for its armed forces, Hanriot HD-1 aircraft were available and large numbers were even produced under license agreement in Italy by the Società Nieuport-Macchi. The Hanriot HD-1 was powered by the Le Rhône 9J rotary engine of 110hp and had made its first flight in the summer of 1916.

     A first order of twenty HD-1 fighters for the Belgian Air Service was placed in July 1917 and was essentially aimed at replacing the Nieuport Ni 10’s converted into single seat fighter aircraft and the Nieuport Ni 11. Already on August 22nd, 1917 the first Hanriot (serial H-D 1) was delivered to the 1st Squadron based at De Moeren (Les Moëres) airfield near the French border.  A second order followed but the number of aircraft involved in this order still remains a debate question. Most sources agree that a total of 79 Hanriots were delivered to the Belgian Air Service.  However based on a picture showing H-D 121, some researchers pretend that a total of 125 Hanriots was delivered to the Belgians. This seems an exaggerated number in view of the fact that only No 1 Squadron (renumbered No 9 Squadron) and later No 11 squadron were fully equipped with the French fighter during the war while a number of observation Squadrons used small numbers of these aircraft for protection of their slower reconnaissance aircraft. At first the Hanriot was not much liked by the fighter pilots who hang on to their Nieuports. When one of the first aircraft was passed on to a newly arrived pilot with the name Willy Coppens all that changed. After some modifications were introduced on basis or recommendations by him and pilots such as André “Mystère” De Meulemeester and Jan Olieslagers, the Hanriot became the fighter of the aces. The three aforementioned Belgian fighter aces obtained several aerial victories while flying the Hanriot HD-1 in operations. At the end of the war and after having served for a short period at Bockum (D.) as part of the Belgian occupation force, all Hanriots were regrouped at Schaffen (N°s 9 and 10 Squadrons) and Nivelles (N° 11 squadron). Around that the time the remaining HD-1 ‘s were renumbered with serials starting with H-1, unfortunately not much information and only one tie-up with the previous serial is known. The last operational HD-1’s soldiered on with N° 11 Squadron at Nivelles up to around 1926, while the very last active Hanriot was destroyed in a fatal crash on March 7th, 1929. After that a single Hanriot appeared on the Belgian civil register as OO-APJ and survives to this day at the Royal Air Force Museum in London, while another original Belgian HD-1 (n° H-D 78) has been preserved at the Royal Army Museum in Brussels.

    During its career the Hanriot HD-1 flew with the following units of the Belgian Air Service: No 5 Squadron (Red Cocotte), No 6 Squadron (Blue Cocotte), No 7 Squadron (Green Cocotte), No 8 Squadron (Bulldog), No 9 Squadron (Thistle) (initially designated No 1 Squadron), No 10 Squadron (Comet) and No 11 Squadron (White Cocotte). At the closing months of World War I a number of observation/reconnaissance units also used small numbers of Hanriots as mentioned above. (Daniel Brackx)


Picture  Registration C/N Date In Date Out History
H-D 1 - Aug 1917 - H-D 1, Delivered to No 1 Squadron > No 9 Squadron (Thistle) at De Moeren airfield on 22 Aug 1917 and used by André de Meulemeester and later on Willy Coppens
H-D 5 - - - H-D 5, fate unknown
H-D 8 - 1917 Nov 1917 (?) H-D 8,  No 1 Squadron, personal aircraft of Jan Olieslagers, heavy landing at De Moeren airfield on 4 Nov 1917, possibly not repaired.
H-D 12 - 1917 Apr 1924 H-D 12, No 9 Squadron (Thistle),  fate unknown
H-D 13 - 1917 1918 H-D 13, N° 1 Squadron, damaged in German attack on De Moeren on the night of 6 /7 June 1918.
H-D 17 - - - H-D 17 No 1 Squadron > No 9 Squadron (Thistle) at De Moeren airfield.
H-D 23 - 1917 1918 H-D 23 No 1 Squadron > No 9 Squadron (Thistle) at De Moeren airfield. Aircraft of Willy Coppens specially modified and armed.
H-D 24 - Jun 1918 H-D 24, No 1 Squadron > No 9 Squadron (Thistle) at De Moeren airfield, aircraft used by Wylly Coppens, detsroyed on 13 Jun1918 in German bombing raid.
H-D 28 - - - H-D 28 No 1 Squadron, fate unknown
H-D 30 - - - H-D 30, No 1 Squadron > No 9 Squadron (Thistle), used by André De Meulemeester
H-D 44 - - - H-D 44,  &1 Squadron (White Cocotte), also operational post WWI
H-D 68 - - - H-D 68, "Butterfly", 11 Squadron (White Cocotte), IV Group, V Group, II/2, final fate unknown.
H-D 75 - - - H-D 75, No 1 Squadron > No 9 Squadron (Thistle), used by Willy Coppens as Air Attache in London, Coppens participated at Meeting Nice on 2 Apr 1922 with this aircraft, Not Confirmed: sold as OO-APJ, G-AFDX, Marvin K. Hand (USA), Royal Air Force Museum.
H-D 78 VII/5153 (?) - Sep 1922 H-D 78, IV Group Schaffen, Preserved at the Royal Army Museum, Brussels
Two Hanriot HD-1 fighters being prepared for a demonstration-flight during the "Olympiades" at Antwerpen in 1920.
Unidentified Hanriot HD.1 pictured at Evere airfield next to the "Zeppelin" hangar in July 1919.
Belgian Hanriot HD-1 pilots
Lt. Willy Coppens (de Houthulst)
S/Lt. Pierre "Pétar" de Chestret de Haneffe
Lt. André "Mystère" De Meulemeester
Sergeant Léon Guillon
S/Lt. Alfred "Freddy" Lamarche
Capt. Florent Noirsain
1Sgt. Joseph "Steke" Vuylsteke

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last updated 31/05/17 16:30   Daniel Brackx

brackda@gmail.com