The Lost Pilot Ceremony

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….

  1.  11th November 2021
  2.  10th February 2021

#Broadwindsor,#Burstock,#Blackdown,#Drimpton,#Hursey,#Kittwhistle,#Seaborough,#WestDorset,#Dorset,#Village,#Community,#BGPC,#CllrAndrewFrampton,#FarmerFrampo,#WW1,#WW2,#Belguim,#NationalTrust,#SpitfireMkII,#LestWeForget,#JeanDeCloedt,#HomeGuard,#BeaminsterMuseum,#BeKind,#BeSafe,#StaySafe

The Lost Pilot Event – Wear Your Wellies!

The National Trust’s Coordinator has sent this message regarding tomorrow’s event on Lewesdon Hill:

We are looking forward to seeing the community at Lewesdon Hill tomorrow for the memorial service of the Lost Pilot.
Whilst the weather is looking like its going to be dry please be aware that the ground is still very, very wet and muddy and so for this reason please wear suitable, waterproof boots and wellingtons. Also, if possible please plan to walk from the village as opposed to driving as the field we allocated for parking is very damp and we want to limit (where possible) the number of cars traveling across it.
Thank you for your understanding.

Marshalls will be in attendance and there will be a tractor with a trailer to take people unable to walk up the hill to the memorial site.

Read more about the event HERE.

#Broadwindsor,#Burstock,#Blackdown,#Drimpton,#Hursey,#Kittwhistle,#Seaborough,#WestDorset,#Dorset,#Village,#Community,#BGPC,#CllrAndrewFrampton,#FarmerFrampo,#WW1,#WW2,#Belguim,#NationalTrust,#SpitfireMkII,#LestWeForget,#JeanDeCloedt,#HomeGuard,#BeaminsterMuseum,#BeKind,#BeSafe,#StaySafe

 

 

The Lost Pilot – 1.30pm, Tuesday 15th March

The National Trust have published the location of the memorial site for Jean De Cloedt, the Belgian pilot who fatally crashed his aircraft into the side of Lewesdon Hill in 1942. They have taken the information provided by local farmer and Councillor, Andrew Frampton and the 80th anniversary of this tragic event will be creating quite a stir…

On Tuesday, 15th March at 1.30pm, they plan to put a memorial in his honour in the woodland as you enter the hillside.  The actual crash site is about 500m further up the hill on a protected Iron Age fort.

Spitfire Mk IIa, P7923, No. 411 Squadron, 1941 similar to the Spitfire Mk Vb, BL463 flown by Jean De Cloedt

Site of WWII Spitfire crash, north side, Lewesdon Hill

Record ID: MNA194108 / MNA194108
Record type: Monument
Protected Status: None Recorded
NT Property: Lewesdon Hill; South West
Civil Parish: Broadwindsor; West Dorset; Dorset
Grid Reference: ST 4368 0136

About 100 -200 people are expected to attend and the story will generate a lot of media interest. It is quite possible that local TV and radio will also be covering the story. They are opening up a field on the Bridport road for parking but most villagers and school children will probably walk up. The National Trust will employ signage from the village to the car park. There is then a 5-10 minute walk up across the field into the hill entrance where the memorial service is planned. Wellies advisable!

  • Our Rev. Jo will open the ceremony with reflections and prayers.
  • The children from Broadwindsor Primary school, who have been studying this period of World War 2, will recite a poem they’ve written about the pilot’s story.
  • The National Trust will then give a brief resumé of the history of the Hill from the Iron Age fort to the byway road that used to exist through the hill and woodland species.
  • Andrew will then tell the story of Jean and introduce Jean’s great neice, Benjamine De Cloedt and the children of the Broadwindsor Home Guard who went to help Jean on that day have also been invited to attend.
  • Benjamine will then be invitied to ceremoniously cut the ribbon and say a few words.
Extract from Leonard Studley’s ‘ book – My Story’

People will then be  invited to the top of the hill to visit the crash site where Andrew will explain what they think happened and why Jean was 80 miles east of his destination. He will also talk about the Supermarine Spitfire Mk II plane and attempt to answer any questions about the story.
Part of the propellor was recovered by farmer Dudley Tolley at Wantsly Farm, Stoke Abbott and now hangs in Beaminster Museum.

They will be recording an audio version of the story which will be accessed via a QR code on the memorial which will take you to the National Trust web site.

Jean De Cloedt in the front row.

Andrew added “I would ask all villagers who are free and would like to see the event to please come along and represent our village to show solidarity and compassion for the brave pilot who faced a horrible dilemma in the fog of our landmark hill exactly 80 years to the day this tragedy occurred.”

 

#Broadwindsor,#Burstock,#Blackdown,#Drimpton,#Hursey,#Kittwhistle,#Seaborough,#WestDorset,#Dorset,#Village,#Community,#BGPC,#CllrAndrewFrampton,#FarmerFrampo,#WW1,#WW2,#Belguim,#NationalTrust,#SpitfireMkII,#LestWeForget,#JeanDeCloedt,#HomeGuard,#BeaminsterMuseum,#BeKind,#BeSafe,#StaySafe

 

Armistice Day

On this day in 1918 the First World War ended. The guns were silenced on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.    Today we remember those who lost their lives in both World Wars and all our servicemen, servicewomen and animals killed or injured since 1945.

In Broadwindsor, there is a new name to be remembered – Jean Decloedt.  As told by farmer and Parish Councillor Andrew Frampton at Monday’s Parish Council meeting…

  Jean Decloedt was born in 1916 in London and was the eldest son of two Belgian diplomats. At the breakout of war, Jean joined the RAFVF (Volunteer Force) and was stationed at Burtonwood base near Warrington. His job as a member of the 37th Maintenance Unit was to repair and service allied planes, mainly spitfires and deliver them to squadrons around the country.
On 15 March 1942, Andrew’s late grandfather Jack Frampton, John Studley and Jack Wakely were on Home Guard duty in Broadwindsor. It was a dry, foggy and windy night and they heard the sound of an engine faltering and spluttering. In the cockpit unbeknown to them was Jean Decloedt taking a Super Marine Mk 2 Spitfire BL483 to 317 Squadron, based in Exeter. Sadly, he crashed into Lewesdon Hill on the north side. When the Home Guard reached it they found Jean and he had been killed on impact. Armed with only sticks the Home Guard didn’t know if they would discover a German plane or airman on the run. The following day Dudley Tolley from Wantsley Farm managed to squirrel away one of the wooden propellers which hangs in Beaminster Museum to this day.
Next March is the 80th anniversary of this event. Jean has no surviving family and this story isn’t remembered on Remembrance Sunday.
Councillor Frampton reported that he has set up a meeting with the National Trust Area Officer to discuss the possibility of erecting some form of memorial and information board at Lewesdon, on the site of the crash and will be establishing contact with the Belgian Embassy. The Parish Council expressed its support for a memorial and thanked the Councillor for his efforts in bringing this event to their attention.
Andrew is also liaising with Broadwindsor school and Rev. Jo to become involved.

We are all forgotten after a third generation or 100 years and this poor Pilot has been forgotten much sooner so as a mark of respect and gratitude I would like to honour his sacrifice and memory.” – Andrew Frampton.

Photo: Annie Collins.

#Broadwindsor,#Burstock,#Blackdown,#Drimpton,#Hursey,#Kittwhistle,#Seaborough,#WestDorset,#Dorset,#Village,#RememberanceDay,BGPC,#CllrAndrewFrampton,#WW1,#WW2,##Belguim,#NationalTrust,#Spitfire,#LestWeForget,#BeKind,#BeSafe,#StaySafe