Unexpected things happen during times of chaos. There could be an enemy ambush, surprise bombing from the sky, or maybe chemical attacks. But perhaps no one was quite expecting a gigantic snake ready to bite off a military aircraft like what Colonel Remy Van Lierde, a World War II flying ace, claimed to have seen.

Prisoner of War

Not much was known about Van Lierde’s life before joining the war, except that he was born in Overboelare, Belgium, on August 14, 1915.

When he entered the Aviation Militaire Belge or Belgian Military Aviation in September 1935, he was originally trained as an observer. However, on May 1, 1937, he began pilot training and became qualified the year after. The Germans invaded in May 1940, and as a sergeant, Van Lierde made several reconnaissance flights in his Fairey Fox III biplane. He didn’t have much chance of fighting as he was shot down and wounded by flak on May 16, 1940. For the next two weeks, he stayed in the hospital and could not take part in any more fighting. The next thing he knew, Belgium had already surrendered on May 28.

Remy Van Lierde. (Wikipedia)

After recovering from his injuries, Van Lierde went to neutral Spain after crossing Nazi-occupied France. He was then arrested for illegally crossing the border. He was taken to different Spanish prisons, including the concentration camp at Miranda de Ebro. For Van Lierde, he could not accept being imprisoned, so he escaped and made it back to England on July 22, 1941.