Thursday, 19 June 2008


The last flight of R1392 started out as a perfectly normal mission for the Polish crew. Their target was the French port of Boulogne where the Germans had assembled a fleet to invade the United Kingdom. The crew knew that the anti-aircraft and night fighter defences were particularly strong but were not deterred from doing their duty. They made the usual pre-mission short flight to test their equipment and then returned for the aircraft to be fuelled and armed before they set off. They went through the routine briefing where they were given details of their target, route, defences etc. It was a clear night with no cloud cover – beneficial to both bombers and defences – and they were due over the target less than half an hour after midnight.

The mission went well and they dropped their bomb load without problems but then they were hit, by flak, in one engine, and made a very significant drop in altitude before the pilot wrestled the aircraft back under control. One crew member had already baled out and was lost forever, with no known grave. Once back over England, the second engine caught fire and the aircraft was doomed but two more crew members baled out and survived with only minor injuries. Sgt Jozefiak crawled half way out and then pulled his ripcord, which dragged him out to safety. A wild gamble which could have seen him severely injured or killed had he been hit by the tail fin or the propellers. Sadly, the plane failed to make it to an airfield and crashed, killing the three remaining members of the crew.

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