This is the first of a series of postings on aircraft lost by 304 Squadron.
R1268 (NZ-T) 14th December 1940
This was a cross country training mission out of RAF Syerston (Newark); the crew were lost and running perilously short of fuel. The aircraft crashed near Edmondsley, 5 Miles west of Durham City. Inexplicably flying with a crew of only 4 instead of the usual 6. This accident was 304 Squadron’s first actual loss, although it fails to get a mention in most accounts. It should be mentioned that this was one of the worst winters of the Twentieth Century and the aircraft, flying at 3500 feet, was heavily iced up.
The pilot had selected an emergency landing ground but lost sight of it because the cockpit windows iced over. An eye witness states that the pilot made a hard turn to avoid the farmhouse and hit trees on higher ground. This undoubtedly saved lives as the farm hands were almost certainly having lunch in the farm buildings.
The pilot, F/O Waroczewski, was later killed on 28th May 1941 after his aircraft, R1392, was seriously hit by flak over Boulogne and crashed near Darwell Hole, Brightlingsea, Sussex. He is buried in the military part of Newark Cemetery. F/O Kostuch suffered injuries which kept him away from the squadron until 17th March 1941. He is believed to have transferred to 301 Squadron and he was later awarded the Order of Virtuti Militari Silver Cross, 5th class and the British DFC. Little is known of his service after that except that he was posted to 300 Squadron on 21st March 1945 from the Polish Depot at Blackpool. F/O Stanczuk was killed in a road accident in 1943 and Sgt Boczkowski does not appear again in available records. However he moved on to 300 Squadron and was serving at RAF Hemswell in 1942 as part of the crew of the “Assam Bomber” BH-T, a Wellington that was bought by subscription by the people of South Africa. He is also known to have been in the crew of BH-W. He was a recipient of the Order of Virtuti Militari on7th September 1942 and is known to have survived the war and emigrated to Canada.