I am on the last lap with my book on historical dioramas and would like to show you my latest.
F/Lt Baron Jean de Selys Longchamps’ attack on the Gestapo HQ in Brussels, January 20, 1943.
The short version:
Jean de Selys was a Belgian whose father was tortured and killed by the Gestapo in Brussels. Jean escaped to England and became a Typhoon pilot in the RAF. To no avail, he urged the RAF to attack the Gestapo Headquarters in Brussels, and in the end, he decided to it himself. After a mission to bomb a Belgian railway junction, he asked his wingman to return to base and continued to Brussels on his own.
There, he attacked the Gestapo HQ and killed at least 30 Gestapo officers before returning to England.
Scale: Brussels, about 1/72 the Typhoon: 1/48
The more detailed version:
Baron Jean de Sélys, born in 1912 in Brussels, was part of the Belgian Cavalry when Belgium capitulated in 1940.
He found his way to Great Britain, where he immediately reported as a volunteer.
Being 28 years old, he was too old to be admitted as a fighter pilot, so he forged his papers and was accepted into RAF
He served with 609 Sqn, flying the Typhoon Fighter Bomber.
Here he quickly developed into an aggressive and able pilot, nicknamed the “Baron” by his comrades.
Through his Belgian contacts, Jean de Sélys kept up to date with developments in his country and devised a plan to raid the Gestapo HQ in his hometown of Brussels.
His main motive was that his father had died from brutal torture by the security police in their headquarter in 453 Avenue Louise.
After finalising his plan, he repeatedly asked RAF to carry it out, but his request always fell on deaf ears. However, he secretly continued planning his action.
By 20 January 1943. he still didn’t have an answer from RAF and decided to proceed on his own.
That day, he and his wingman and comrade F/S Blanco took off for Belgium in their Hawker Typhoons to bomb a railway junction in Belgium.
The Baron armed his aircraft to the limit and took along a bag full of small Belgian flags that Belgian schoolchildren in London had made for him.
After bombing the railway junction, Jean de Sélys ordered his wingman to return to England alone and set course for Brussels himself.
Flying as low as possible, he reached the Belgian capital unscathed.
According to reports, he flew low over the city, making it appear as if he was about to crash.
The Gestapo HQ occupants rushed to the windows to see, and it was then that he turned his Typhoon’s four 20mm cannons on the building.
He raked the front of the high-raised Gestapo HQ with 560 explosive rounds, creating havoc and panic among the Gestapo onlookers! He executed his attack so precisely that no other building was hit. He then scattered 1000 small Belgian flags over the city, dropped Belgian and British flags over the Royal Palace, and returned to England.
During the attack, dozens of Gestapo were killed or wounded, including the Chief of the SD, SS-Sturmbannführer Alfred Thomas, and a high-ranking Gestapo officer named Commander Müller.
The building itself had sustained so much damage; it took more than six weeks before it could be used again.
On his return to base, the Baron received a warm welcome from his comrades but not from RAF. Typical British, he was demoted to Pilot Officer for disobeying orders, and then he was awarded the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross)!!
“This Officer shows a great offensive spirit and is eager to engage and destroy the enemy whenever possible. He has shown his great courage and initiative in multiple rail transport and the Gestapo headquarters attack in Brussels. He has also destroyed at least one enemy aircraft and damaged another”.
Unfortunately, the Baron was killed in an accident in August 1943
Number 453 Avenue Louise still stands today, and the Belgian people have erected a statue to their heroic, if disobedient, flying resistance fighter in front of the building.
Gestapo HQ in Brussels
Typhoon Hasegawa Kit 1/48
Brussels, about 1/72 the Typhoon: 1/48
Read the history……….