where two old manor-houses had stood in the Avenue Louise Brussels, a
new building was completed, number 453, it towered above the existing
houses in the avenue. The architect was Stanislas Jasinski, a pupil of
the Belgian master Victor Horta. When the Geramns army occupied
Brussels the following year the Gestapo (Nazi Secret Police) made the
building their main office
On the 20th January 1943
the people of Brussels at last saw some retribution for their
sufferings under the occupation. A Hawker Typhoon fighter piloted by Jean
De Selys Longchamps swooped
low over the Boitsfort horse racing track followed the Avenue de Nation
(now the Avenue Franklin Roosevelt) until it joined the Avenue Louise.
The fighter plane then flew straight at the Gestapo Headquarters
building at number 453 Avenue Louise, as it did so letting rip a stream
of deadly 20mm cannon fire right into heart of their evil organization.
The people of Brussels were cheered and the occupiers were given a
taste of what was to come. Hundreds of Brussels' citizens came to see
the damaged building while angry German sentries tried to drive them
|A view of the avenue E. Demot, in front of the Gestapo building, showing the back of the little monument to Jean de Selys Longchamps. It is easy to understand that he had plenty of room to attack the building at low altitude. On the left is the park of the "Abbaye de la Cambre" (art academy and national geographic institute). The ITT tower on the right was build after the war.||View of the building, left, and the monument.|
|Monument to Jean de Selys de Longchamps, with the building in the background.||Commemorative
plate affixed on the wall of the building. Translation :
In full daylight On January 20th 1943 This building, the Gestapo's haunt during the war 1940-1945, suffered the avenging fire of the plane's guns of Captain Baron Jean-Michel de SELYS LONGCHAMPS of the 1st Regiment of Guides Flying Officer of the Royal Air Force
On his return from the mission De Selys Longchamps was demoted to Pilot Officer and transferred to 3 squadron but at the same time awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
On the 16th of August 1943, when returning from a mission over Ostend, he crashed and was killed on landing at Manston.
De Selys Longchamps is buried in grave 3002A in MINSTER CEMETERY, right next to Manston airport in Thanet, Kent.
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