Flying Officer Leslie Thomas Manser VC
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
50 Squadron. Royal Air Force
common with many other boys who were at Victoria School, I was very impressed
when I saw a Victoria Cross winner, on the Honour Board located on the wall,
on the stage area of the Assembly Hall. I was already interested in flying
and later joined the Royal Air Force myself, serving 12 years in all. Comment
on Sgt J. Wilson...(see his name on the list above).
Who can remember the excitement at Victoria, when one morning before classes, some aircraft were seen to fly up the valley below and disappear from view. What further excitement, when a Spitfire flew up the hillside from Kurseong and right over our school? FANTASTIC! And they did this several mornings in a row. Who they were, or who it was, I have never found out.
I had kept my eye on anything to do with F/Off. Manser and on my earlier web pages there was mention of him. Last year, 2001, I received an email from Warrant Officer Jean Pierre Jegers, of the Belgian Air Force, asking me if I knew anything about him. I sent him my "Manser" folder, (when it came back from Sam Parry, who had it at that time).
JP told me that Manser's aircraft crashed near to where he lived and that he was carrying out research into the men and machine. When the time came to return the folder, I surprised JP by telling him that I would come in person and collect the folder. He didn't know that my wife comes from Eindhoven in the Netherlands. Eindhoven is only 50 Km away from the crash site, or that I was already planning a long trip to India and Europe towards the end of that year.
Shortly after we arrived in the Netherlands I went by car to meet JP. We went to his home first where we togged up in suitable clothing. I believe it was around -9 Deg° C on the day.
We drove in and out of the Netherlands and Belgium several times, before we arrived in Molenbeersel, and then went on to the outskirts of the village where we parked the car. We set off at a comfortable pace walking along a narrow path with drainage canal (the Lossing), on one side and ponds on the other.
When we arrived at the crash site we took some photos and then returned to the car.
You can get some more information about the crash of Manser's aircraft at Jean Pierre Jeger's web site at:
My first visit to the crash site.
And yes, it was cold !
||Jean Pierre Jegers, on our first visit to the crash site together..|
A large scale map of the crash area.
To see this and the next map in a larger scale, click on them. To return, clickon 'Back' on your browser..
|A better view with the track taken by us to the crash site. Sgt. Baveystock, the second pilot, and the last to bail out, left the aircraft at 800 feet. The land where they crashed is 200 feet a.s.l. so he only had 600 feet for his parachute to open. He was very lucky, he landed in a pond, which broke his fall. Some reports claim that his parachute didn't have time to open, but his own statement says that it did. His parachute was recovered later, at the spot marked 'para' on the maps. It is only a short distance away from the crash site.|