Spitfire P7295

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Spitfire P7295, Wales

Free French Air Force pilot Sgt Pierre Louis Rene Degail had survived but was injured when his Spitfire crashed on Cadair Berwyn in North Wales on 14 December 1942. He also survived the first night on the snow covered mountain ridge.

The following day F/Lt Douglas Harvey Walker RAFVR in Lysander T1655 was searching for and found Sgt Degail and his wrecked Spitfire. They would probably have waved at each other, but Sgt Degail’s hopes of rescue were dashed when the Lysander appears to have been caught by a sudden downdraught as F/Lt Walker flew out over Cwm-llawenog, pulling the aircraft down and into the cwm and killing the pilot.

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

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It is difficult to imagine the second night Sgt Degail had here. 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.

Below; Overlooking Cwm-llawenog, poppy cross for Fl Lt Walker

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NB the date of death I wrote on the cross in the lead photo is incorrect, the crash was on the 14th but the date of death should read 15 or 16 Dec. Also according to Rob Evans’ site, recent research reveals Pierre Degail held the rank of Sergeant not Pilot Officer.

27 comments on “Spitfire P7295
  1. Gary Shield says:

    Great background for this shot Ian

  2. The_Photo_Boy says:

    Awesome work!!

  3. andyholmfirth says:

    It’s a lovely image.Like the way the poppy jumps out under that grey sky and the slithers of ice too.Good stuff !

  4. mickb6265 says:

    these just get better and better,ian..degail suffered a dreadful death and without these kinda true hero,s,we,d all be speaking german…

  5. GaryJS â„¢ says:

    Terrific research and a great pic.

  6. Keartona says:

    An absolute nightmare experience. What a horrible way to die.

  7. pasujoba says:

    Great work Ian , Sargeant Degail’ s first name has eluded my research efforts too. I cannot find a trace of him on any of the Free French Websites.

  8. rob of rochdale says:

    This is a beauty Ian!

  9. ​favourite waste of time​ says:

    simple and really poignant — gets the message across really well

    and what a tragic story

  10. mick cooke says:

    brilliant photos ian, and the story

  11. Nate Parker Photography says:

    wow, what a strong and moving story, very evocative-

  12. P_H_I_L_L says:

    Superb pictures Ian and as always an in depth and moving story. Can’t decide between the two pictures though, both very good.

  13. het broertje van.. says:

    Such a excellent composed picture man!!!

    Janwillem

  14. SolarScot. says:

    that is really sad Ian,such a lonely way to go

  15. EverydayTuesday says:

    Nice work!

  16. David Hannah says:

    Brilliant tribute, we owe so much to these men

  17. Ian D B says:

    Thanks everyone.

  18. Tech Owl says:

    Nice angle to make the shot Ian – super set as useful.

    Had a great time thanks, hope you did too.
    Have a great 2011 (that still sounds odd!)

  19. Hotpix [LRPS] Hanx for 1.5M Views says:

    Super cool angle mate!

    I like this one my friend!
    … Winding down, weekends nearly here!

    Seen in my contacts photostream……..

    Tone
    Hotpix http://www.hotpix.org.uk

    365-202 Industrial Icicles on pipes, Trent & Mersey Canal near Northwich, Cheshire UK

    Walk a year in my shoes, see a wider view, join me up my street or share my iPod.

  20. stuant63 says:

    Dreadfully sad story. Well researched and presented as always though.

  21. 5DII says:

    I can not improve on what others have said, great shot and better words.

    We shall always remember them, and because of your efforts so will others in the future.

    Best wishes

    Bill

  22. Mustang Koji says:

    They were all so young.

  23. Mike Fleckney says:

    Sgt Pierre Degail is commemorated in his home town of Mareuil-sur-Belle in the Dordogne by the naming of one of the main streets after him.

  24. Chabot says:

    Pierre Degail is my oncle . Merci Merci Merci all, and still Thanks for the photo Ian D B and i hope go to this place .
    Contact me woulb be pleased for me

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Patrice good to have contact with you. I will provide details of the location if you need them?

      Salut Patrice , bon d’avoir un contact avec vous . Je vais donner des détails sur l’emplacement si vous en avez besoin ?

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