On Tuesday, 15th March 2022, a ceremony was held on Lewesdon Hill honouring Jean Verdun Marie Aime De Cloedt, the Lost Pilot, whose Spitfire aeroplane crashed into Lewesdon Hill one foggy day 80 years ago.
In the main photograph (L to R) –
- Damien (Benjamine’s partner),
- Benjamine, (Jean de Cloedt’s Great Niece)
- Benjamine’s nephew (currently studying at Bristol University),
- Aldon Ferguson (RAF Historian),
- Heather Bunch (Doug Studley‘s daughter Home Guard),
- Andrew Frampton at the back,
- Rev. Jo Neary.
- Knocker Wilson, representative of Dorset RAF veterans,
- Clive Wakely (son of Jack from Home Guard)
From left to right: Jon Harvey (RAFA Standard Bearer),
Alan Kidson and Knocker White.
Supported by Knocker White, Bugler, Steve Chard changed from his
muddy wellies into his immaculately polished black shoes.
For those who missed it, or couldn’t make it up the hill, here is a 36 minute (amateur) recording of the full ceremony. Unfortunately, the volume quality of the childrens’ poetry is not great as there was no amplification and a helicopter passed overhead:
Following the ceremony –
Several walked a further 500m up the hill with Andrew Frampton to view the actual crash site.
A Tigermoth aeroplance circled Lewesdon hill after the ceremony.
Unfortunately, the planned Spitfire encountered an oil leak and was substituted with this Tigermoth as this would have been the aircraft the pilot would have trained on, before being allowed to fly a Spitfire.
A piece of copper piping from Jean de Cloedt’s Spitfire made the plaque given to Benjamine by Andrew Frampton.
This image shows which part of the aircraft’s engine it would have come from.
Later in the afternoon, Benjamine and her nephew also visited Beaminster Museum where they saw the remains of one the wooden propellors from Jean de Cloedt‘s aeroplane. Beaminster Museum open for their summer season on Good Friday, 15th April.
Thank you and well done to Andrew Frampton who first brought Jean de Cloedt‘s name to a Parish Council meeting in November 2021 after a Covid infection had forced him to remain at home. Then, with the involvement of the National Trust and others, this plaque is now in place for all of us to remember.
The National Trust’s Information memorial to Jean de Cloedt at Lewesdon Hill, Broadwindsor.
Re-titled The Forgotten Pilot, the National Trust have published their article – Click HERE.
The story as it unfolded on Broadwindsor.org.
Click on the date to read the posts and view more historic photographs….