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.”