Eugene Seghers, the Belgian wartime pilot who 'saved Uckfield' as a V1 headed for the town. Photo: from the Facebook page Memorial to Pilot Office Eugene Seghers

Eugene Seghers – the pilot who ‘saved Uckfield’ – forgotten no longer

Eugene Seghers, the “forgotten” pilot who saved Uckfield in the closing months of World War 2, will be forgotten no more.

Flt Lt Seghers died on July 26, 1944, after making a last-ditch bid to divert a V1 flying bomb which was about to fall on to the town.

The “Doodlebug”, as V1s were known, exploded and also destroyed the Belgian pilot’s Spitfire. Wreckage was scattered over a wide area with some being found in the Ridgewood allotments a few years ago.

Fog of war

Seghers’ bravery was lost in the fog of war and afterwards published work referred to a Polish pilot being involved.

The true story has been unearthed by Framfield Road resident, Duncan Bennett, who has campaigned for a memorial to Flt Lt Seghers.

He has brought together a band of people who have researched the story, found relatives and sourced many of the materials needed for the project at no or low cost.

Public subscription

His efforts hark back to Victorian times when monuments were provided in towns across the land, paid for by public subscription.

The memorial will be built in the garden of the Highlands Inn, Uckfield, with townspeople invited to join serving airmen, veterans, cadets and re-enactors to give thanks and remember the courageous action of Flt Lt Seghers on the 70th anniversary of his death this month on July 26.

Belgian Air Component flypast by the Red Devils

The Queen’s representative in East Sussex, Peter Field, will be present along with high-ranking members of the Belgian air service.

A fly-past will be provided by the Belgian Air Component’s world famous aerobatic display team, the Red Devils.

Music will be provided by Uckfield Concert Brass and The Nightingale Trio.

The service will be led by the Rev Sqd Ldr Phil Corrigan, of RAF Northolt.

The service will start at 1.30pm with a period of silence at the exact time Flt Lt Seghers lost his life. Townspeople going to the service are asked to walk or use the bus services which pass the Highlands.

Copying and/or re-writing of any material published on this website is prohibited by copyright law. If you wish to re-use any words, photographs or any material, you will need prior permission in writing. For details of how to do that click here 

Earlier stories:

Help remember Eugene Seghers

Cash needed to complete memorial

Hidden story of heroism becomes clearer

Share this story

Sign up to receive daily news alerts

I'd like to receive updates every: