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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
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
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.