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Lysander T1655, Wales
F/Lt Douglas Harvey Walker RAFVR was killed when his Westland Lysander crashed on Cadair Berwyn in North Wales on 15th December 1942. He had been searching for and found Spitfire P7295 which had been missing since the day before.
Free French Air Force pilot Sgt Pierre Degail had survived that crash, but was injured. He had also survived the first night on the snow covered mountain ridge. He would probably have cheerfully waved at F/Lt Walker as he flew by, only for the passing Lysander to be caught by a sudden downdraught as he flew out over Cwm-llawenog (visible in the photo above), pulling the aircraft down and into the cwm, killing the pilot.
It is difficult to imagine the second night Sgt Degail had. Alone and a long way from home on a freezing mountain top in winter, with both legs broken and knowing that the plane which came to find him had also crashed and was just metres away… He would probably have called out to the other pilot, but heard no reply. No-one knows exactly what happened or what he went through; by the time the rescue party arrived the day after, Sgt Degail had died of exposure.
This drawing of Sgt Degail in his wrecked Spitfire, waving to the passing Lysander which had come to find him, is by Rob Evans of Borders Historical Aviation Archaeology.
We left the poppy crosses at a fencepost close to where both aircraft crashed.