Compagnie Ostendaise de Traveaux et Transport – Aero-Maritimes – Aeromar (1925-1926)

By: Rob Mulder

At the end of the Great War (1914-1918) Belgium was one of the victorious countries. The German aircraft factory Junkers Flugzeugwerk AG (Jfa) saw therefore no interest in selling it German manufactured aircraft to this country. But in the middle of the twenties of the last century an French born Belgian entered the offices of Jfa and asked for an aeroplane…

The author would be interested to know the exact date of foundation of Aeromar and the stock capital and stockholders of the company. If anyone has newspaper articles from that time we would be interested to receive them (even if they are in Dutch or French). Also a picture of the aircraft in Belgium would be of interest.

The first contacts

Belgium was one of the members of the Entente. It had been under German occupancy during the Great War and it was therefore not surprisingly that the country was anti-German. It suffered heavily under this occupancy and after the Great War claimed war compensation from Germany. In 1921 three silver-painted Junkers J 13 Type F (since July 1924 known as F 13) were delivered from Junkers’ storage in Holland: C/n 597 from Amsterdam and c/n 600 and c/n 601 from Nijmegen. They were registered in 1922 (two aircraft) and 1923 (one aircraft) O-BACA (c/n referred to as c/n 4), O-BACC and O-BACD (both constructor’s numbers are unknown), all on the name of C Chaidron in Brussels.

As in so many countries Junkers Flugzeugwerk AG – Jfa investigated the possibilities for the production of the Junkers J 13 in Belgium and at the end of 1920 Dr Walter Schumacher from Aachen (Germany) had been working on this matter. Unfortunately Dr Schumacher died unexpectedly on 27 January 1921 and all work was put on hold.

In March and April 1925 Georges Bobeau, citizen of Oostende, French of birth and aviator from France, visited the office of Jfa in Dessau and asked repeatedly to supply him with a Junkers F 13W to start up joy ride flights under his supervision, but on Jfa’s costs. In the beginning Jfa was not interested, but by Mid April Jfa was convinced that Georges Bobeau could manage this event. Jfa had done some research with regard to Georges Bobeau and he was regarded as a serious representative with good connection with official authorities in both Belgium and France.

Formation of Aeromar

In the mean time, Georges Bobeau had formed in Oostende the Compagnie Ostendaise de Traveaux et Transport Aero-Maritimes – Aeromar (Oostende Company for Travel and Transport Aero-Maritime), which was to operate taxi and joy ride flights. No regular services were planned. Georges Bobeau suggested avoiding using the name of Junkers in Belgium, as the man on the street was still anti-German. Therefore, Jfa delivered one Junkers F 13W (=Wasser) from Germany to its factory in Limhamn, Sweden (AB Flygindustri). The aircraft had in Germany carried the registration D 507 “Girlitz” (c/n 759). It arrived at Limhamn on June 13, after which it received the Swedish registration S-AAAN on July 6. The Swedish Naval pilot Olof Enderlein flew the aircraft on July 7 from Limhamn to Kiel and further to Oostende, where he arrived on the 8th. Originally, the Finnish pilot Gunnar Lihr (employed by Aero O/y in Finland since June 7, 1924 and killed in the crash of the Junkers W 34, SE-AEF on December 1, 1937) was assigned as pilot, but had been withheld by Jfa, as he had to work on a more important job. Thus Olof Enderlein remained in Belgium in stead.

Starting up business

Joy ride flights could not start until 9 August, as there had been delays in the registration of the aircraft in Belgium the formalities with regard to the new Swedish pilot and the finding of suitable port facilities. On 24 July 1925 the aircraft was registered as O-BAFT to H Pijpe and not on the name of Aeromar.

The results were subsequently bad, as half of the bathing season had expired and bad weather had stopped any flying. In fact, flights were only possible during five days in August and 4 ½ days in September. These flights had to cover all expenses. The interest was very good and people were enthusiast about the all-metal aircraft. The name of Junkers on the engine cowling had been painted over, so nobody could see it had originally been a German aircraft. The whole affair in Belgium did not work out. Due to the high sea near the coast, the aircraft suffered a lot of damage. It was decided to convert the aircraft into landplane. The undercarriage arrived too late and was not mounted until the end of October. Aeromar now wanted to make some joy ride flights near Lüttigh, but lack of financial means put a stop to the flights. The pilot had returned to Sweden in September, while the German engineer Müller remained in Oostende to keep an eye on the aircraft.

End of the company

In October Georges Bobeau visited Jfa in Dessau to talk about the possibilities in 1926. He suggested making joyride flights at the Riviera (Cannes), as a lot of wealthy people could be found in this area. But nothing more happened, as Aeromar did not have the money to follow up this matter. The aircraft returned to Germany in November 1925. Georges Bobeau seems to have had a meeting in France at the Ministre d’Air (Air Ministry), but nothing seems to have resulted from this. A negative point of it all was that the Belgium adventure cost Jfa at least RM 2,600 per month.

C/n 759 Junkers F 13W Junkers’ name: Girlitz
Engine: Junkers L 2
Regn. Date Remarks
.24 First flight and subsequently stored (approx from Sept./Oct.)
D 507 .25 Junkers Flugzeugwerk AG, Dessau
S-AAAN 06.07.25 Registered to AB Flygindustri, Malmö
O-BAFT 25.07.25 Chartered to Aeromar, Oostende
D 507 11.25 Returned to Junkers Flugzeugwerk AG, Dessau
I-BATC 09.26 Chartered to SA Italiana di Navigazione Aerea Transadriatica, Venezia
O-BAFT 31.08.26 Belgian registration cancelled
S-AAAN 22.09.26 Swedish registration cancelled
I-BATC 05.28 Sold to SA Italiana di Navigazione Aerea Transadriatica, Venezia
Fate unknown