Soldier who crashed in Burgess Hill to be honoured

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Burgess Hill Town Council are honouring a Belgian soldier who crashed in the town during the Second World War.

The family of Arthur Ghislain-Patiny will attend the service at the remembrance garden on Church Walk, Burgess Hill.

Burgess Hill mayor Anne Jones, said: “The fact that he came and joined the RAF when he was 24 to support us in World War Two is amazing.

“We will be remembering him with a plaque in the remembrance garden.”

Arthur’s body was repatriated in 1948 and in Floreffe, where he lived in Belgium, a thoroughfare has been re-named after him.

Flying officer Arthur Patiny was a schoolmaster.

Original Police files state: “On 12.7.44 at 14.48 Greenlands Field, Burgess Hill. Tempest [Completely wrecked] Pilot [Killed]. Of 349 Squadron 135 Wing RAF. F/O Ghislain –Patiny.”

His aircraft was a Spitfire Vb.

Reports state that above Burgess Hill at 15,000ft in the middle of the afternoon on July 12, 1944, a pair of Spitfires from 349 Squadron dipped and dived in mock dog-fight manoeuvres.

Chasing each other across the summer sky, one of the aircraft emerged fromthe clouds and plummeted direct from 8,000ft.

The pilot failed to pull out - it is thought he was too low to escape properly.

He crashed into Greenlands Field off the Keymer Road to the south of the town, near the then Batchelors Farm House.

Inspector Bob Brown of Haywards Heath Police inspected the wreckage and it was clear that the pilot had not escaped.

It is thought that with the stresses of the dog-fight tactics he became disorientated and lost control of the Spitfire that had previously been based nearby at RAF Friston.

There was slight damage to the properties Parklands and Paddocks in Keymer Road reported.

The RAF Records Book for RAF Friston states on 22nd October 1943 that 349 Belgian Squadron arrived at Friston aerodrome, Suffolk, from Acklington, Northumberland.

The volunteer Belgian airman Arthur Ghislain-Patiny, 153064, was born on September 23, 1919.

A memorial plaque was recently laid at Burgess Hill War Memorial at the rememberance garden.

He is buried in his home town, Floreffe, in Belgium.

He was posthumously awarded the Croix de Guerre.

The grave of Arthur is in the cemetery of Buzet, a district of Floreffe.

The service for the Pilot starts at 11.30 on Wednesday, October 22 at the war memorial on Church Walk, Burgess Hill.

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