Willy Coppens “Blue Devil”


PLPCOATINGS is very proud to have been involved in providing the finish for the new replica of Willy Coppens (1892-1986) First World War plane (the “Blue Devil”) as displayed in Waasmunster, Belgium.

Willy Coppens (1892-1986) was Belgium’s highest-scoring fighter pilot during the First World War, scoring 37 victories by the end of the war.

Coppens, who was born on 6 July 1892 in Watermaal-Bosvoorde, joined the army in 1912, serving with the 2nd Grenadiers.  In 1916 Coppens began his active wartime aviation career on the Western Front. He developed special expertise in in the especially hazardous task of shooting down enemy observation balloons.

His wartime career came to an end on 14 October 1918, less than a month prior to the armistice, when he was struck in the leg by an incendiary bullet while achieving victory his final ‘kill’.  This resulted in a severed artery and a crash landing. He survived but his left leg nevertheless had to be amputated. He died aged 94 on 21 December 1986.

This replica is a fitting tribute to Willy Coppens at a time when we are marking the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

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