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Monument "The Hive" at Zedelgem: A need for every citizen to examine their conscience

* Ceremony of solemn tribute at Rebecq on September 29th 2021 *

RAF aircraft's crash sites in Region of Brussels-Capitale:
Etterbeek

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Elegy to
the Heroes of Silence


* To the 403 Squadron *
* To the crew of SM483 *
* To the monument erected in remembrance *

Crash site of Spitfire SM483
3/02/1945

aircraft
cest raf squadron
Unit:403 Squadron
Aircraft:Spitfire
Code: SM483
Base: Evere (B59)
Mission: Germany
Crew officer: F/O Ronald Morden Tegerdine
Incident: Technical

Location: ()

crash

Facts

The incident occurred on 3 Feb 1945] BY F/L R. G. ANGLIN - An RCAF fighter pilot is possibly the only flier ever to crash-land a Spitfire on the roof of a house and live to climb out of the plane. The cockpit which he stepped out of, plus two battered wings, was all of the aircraft that remained in one piece. The pilot suffered only cuts and bruises.
The pilot was an American, F/O R. M. Tegerdine of Oakland, Cal. He was the fourth man to take off in a Wolf squadron formation which was to escort medium bombers to Germany. Tegerdine's Spitfire was just turning away from the field when his motor cut out. He was only two or three hundred feet up, and ahead lay the outskirts of a Belgian town.
He tried to circle over the buildings and land in a field, but he was already at rooftop level, flying along behind a row of old houses. His left wing clipped off several chimney pots. Next loomed a sloping attic roof, and the wing ploughed right into the slanting brick wall on one side and through the brick wall on the other side, with bricks, slates and rafters exploding in every direction.
The Spitfire slewed around at right angles and found a perch on the very edge of the building beyond, which fortunately had a flat roof. The entire tall end of the fuselage was torn away, two feet behind the cockpit, and dropped between the two houses. The heavy engine ripped loose, shot across the roof and buried itself in the edge of the building, over­hanging the street. Amazingly, both crumpled wings remained attached to the fuselage to balance it, or it might have toppled 40 feet to the ground.

Pilot Merely Dazed
One wing bridged the six-foot gap between the buildings, and although dazed, Tegerdine climbed out of the cockpit and slid down the wing to be received by startled Belgian civilians who had scrambled up their attic stairs to find the entire rear half of the top story sliced away.
Other pilots who visited the scene stared with disbelief. On its precarious perch the center section of the fuselage looked like a Spitfire that had been whittled down to the proportions of a Link trainer. It swayed a little in the breeze. A salvage crew sent to remove the wreckage looked nonplussed.
"Ask that pilot who flew it up here to come back and fly it off," said one. "I don't know how else we'll get it down!"
Tegerdine hasn't been on ops so very long but he's really a hot pilot," said the Wolf Squadron CO, S/L Jim Collier of Portage la Prairie. "His voice sounded completely unconcerned as he came on the R/T to say 'My engine's packed up - I'll have to put her down', and that was all we heard.
Kept His Nose Down

Then one of the lads who took off right behind him called 'Did you see that, chief? He went right into those houses!' We saw a great cloud of dust and rubble and thought it was all up.
"But though he had hardly any height at all, 'Tedge' was smart enough to keep his nose down to hang onto all the flying speed he could. He'd be almost stalling when he was trying to get over those houses, but even at that he must have hit at 70 or 80 miles an hour."
When the Wolf crew returned from their sortie, they made directly for the camp hospital when they heard ‘Tedge’ had escaped. The doctors had him bundled up in blankets but he had a ready grin for them.

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The house of 153, boulevard Reyers on which Ronald Tegerdine "landed", today

Sources:
Flying For Your Live
The International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC)
Aircrew Remembered
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