Jean de Selys Longchamps

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Jean de Selys Longchamps
Baron Jean de Selys-Longchamps.jpg
Born (1912-05-31)31 May 1912
Brussels, Belgium
Died 16 August 1943(1943-08-16) (aged 31)
Manston, Kent, United Kingdom
Allegiance  Belgium
Service/branch Belgian Army (until 1940)
Royal Air Force (1940-1943)
Rank Captain (RAF)
Unit No. 609 Squadron RAF
Awards Distinguished Flying Cross
Knight of the Order of Leopold (Posthumous)

Baron Jean Michel P.M.G. de Selys Longchamps DFC (31 May 1912 – 16 August 1943) was a Belgian aristocrat and RAF fighter pilot during World War II who is chiefly notable for his 1943 attack on the Gestapo headquarters in Brussels in German-occupied Belgium.[1][2][3]

Military career[edit]

A Belgian cavalry officer with the 1er Régiment des Guides, he escaped with the BEF from Dunkirk returning to France before it finally fell. Trying to join the allies again he was interned by the Vichy authorities but escaped to Britain and was accepted for flight training with the RAF. He was posted to No. 609 Squadron RAF and flew Hawker Typhoons

He is best remembered for his airstrike on the Gestapo headquarters located at 453 Avenue Louise[a] in Brussels on 20 January 1943, which led to his demotion (to Pilot Officer) for acting without orders, but he was also awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions.[4]

He was killed 16 August 1943 when his aircraft crashed on landing at RAF Manston after a sortie over Ostend.[1]

He is buried in Minster-in-Thanet. A commemoration of his life was held on 16 August 2013 in conjunction with the Royal British Legion.[5]

References[edit]

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