National Digital Archives

" It was just a simple search, and yet... "


Wednesday, October 14th, 2020.


It is early in the afternoon. Unlike the other days, I do not get to the office between 9.00 a.m. and 9.30 a.m. The previous day, at 8.19 p.m, I received a phone call from my supervisor ( Patricia Henrion ) who asked me to be present around 1.00 p.m. ( because of an appointment in the morning ). So, exceptionally, here I am quietly coming around the desired time.


As usual, I go down to the basement where my office is, hit the switch ( " ..., et facta est lux " ), hang my mask, put my bag down, take my jacket off which I put on the back of the chair and I am going to wash my hands ( one of the rules to follow because of the Coronavirus pandemic ). What next ? I set off to work, of course :


    1. PC tower ? On.
    2. Screen ? On.
    3. Mouse ? On.


And this is my routine, three times per week ( as a general rule ) ! Nevertheless, in addition to my main activity as a cartoonist - illustrator ( one of my passions above all ), my part – time work within the éditions pat.H is anything but routine, far from it ! As an encoder ( Content Officer to be precise ), I have the chance to be able to process books on aviation ( two of my other passions ), as well as magazines, artworks, posters, objects, etc... directly related to the dream of Icarus. The only remaining step would be to have the office moved in the middle of Arizona, and so I could get to it on a horse. Now, that would be a true dream !!!! Well, I digress. Let’s go back to the subject.


When I check the photograph gallery representing the authors ( essential for each biography linked to one or several book presentations ), I come across the one on which a famous Belgian balloon pilot appears : Ernest Demuyter ( 1893 - 1963 ). Although it looks very nice, the photograph resolution is minimal... and I cannot tolerate that ( always think big, never settle for less ) !

 Ernest Demuyter à bord du " Belgica " ( source : Internet )

Ernest Demuyter aboard the " Belgica ".
Photograph cropped pour la fiche auteur.
( source : Internet )


So now I am back in the process of making a search on Google Images, selecting both " Large " and " Black and white " filters. And it does not bother me, on the contrary ! I love to do some research by nature, and when I find a beautiful photograph with an excellent resolution as well, I gloat... while staying calm and stoical.


The first thumbnails are showing views of no importance at all, or having nothing to do with the topic. Never mind, I scroll through pictures... just in case. And then suddenly, BAM, I stare wide - eyed !!! A left click on the thumbnail. The size : 3083 x 3520 !!!! YEEEESSSSSSSS, am I mentally screaming !!!! A right click on the photograph to open it in a new window, followed by a click on the magnifying glass... and this is what appears before my astounded eyes :


Ernest Demuyter ( gauche ) avant la compétition ( juin 1937 )

Logo ( Narodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe )

( source : National Digital Archive, Poland )


Putain, sa mère ( if you will pardon the expression ) !!!! If this photograph does exist, it is like saying that there are some others. I visit the website and then, I end up in a front page in Polish. I had simply landed on the following website :



I have hit the jackpot !!!! There are, indeed, other photographs. With regards to the one that I have just found, here are the most important details :


Tytuł tematu : Międzynarodowe Zawody Balonowe o Puchar Gordona Bennetta w Brukseli
Topic title : The Gordon Bennett Cup International Balloon Competition in Brussels
Opis obrazu : Belgijski pilot balonowy Ernest Demuyter ( z lewej ) przed zawodami.
Photo description : Belgian balloon pilot Ernest Demuyter ( left ) before the competition.
Data wydarzenia : 1937 - 06
Event date : 1937 - 06
Zespół : Koncern Ilustrowany Kurier Codzienny - Archiwum Ilustracji
Group : Illustrated Daily Courier - Illustration Archive
Shortly thereafter, my supervisor goes down to the basement. Proud as a peacock ( even though I do not let my face show that ), I tell her about this new find. Just as pleased as I am, she asked me to add to favorites the site’s address. In addition, she asked me to contact ( in English ) the webmaster( s ) in order to be able to include them in our section The Flying Stuff... and from their part, as an exchange of courtesies, they would promote our website.
It was just a simple search, and yet, this led to an amazing discovery.
If you want to learn more about Ernest Demuyter, the balloon flight, the " Belgica " and the Gordon Bennett Cup as well, we have two books ( in French ) which I highly recommend you read :



These are two authentic pieces of History through which you will discover the daily lives of balloon pilots, at a time when to be lighter - then - air was much more than an adventure. We have got a special offer on the second book, enjoy it !!!
It is with these words that I finish my post, the very first on the blog.
I will meet you there, after mid - November, for a new escape above the clouds.


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1 comment

  • Deuxième belle découverte sur ce blog. Bel article auquel j’ajoute mon gain de sel.
    En effet nos amis polonais (mais les roumains aussi) malgré six années ou l’occupant à tout fait pour faire disparaître l’idée même de Pologne et le régime communiste ont pu sauver quantités de témoignages et de document uniques. Juste un exemple et attendez vous à y passer de nombreuses heures le projet de digitalisation des archives du Musée de l’Air à Crocovie. Une mine d’or. Un bel exemple à suivre.

    Yves Duwelz

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