Wednesday, 10 June 2009


Sgt Jozef Nilski (survivor); photo supplied by his son Zygmunt Nilski

R1392 (NZ-N) 28th May 1941

This aircraft was hit in the port engine by flak whilst on its way home from a bombing mission over Boulogne, France, one crewman baled out either over the target or over the sea and his body was never found. The pilot managed to regain control and another two crewman baled out over England and survived, one landing in a tree where he was left suspended by his parachute. At first, the other survivor was mistaken for a German flier then he was assisted and taken to hospital. The plane crashed at Darwell Hole near Brightling in Sussex. P/O Waroczewski, who was killed in this incident was a survivor of the crash of R1268 in December 1940. He is also remembered on Panel 75 of the War Memorial at RAF Northolt The other fatalities were: F/O Cezary Wieczorek, P/O Bronislaw Kuszczynski and Sgt Jozef Drozdz. Sgt Jozefiak and Sgt Nilski survived but suffered serious injuries

The aircraft struck a tree and the remaining crew were very badly burned in the ensuing fireball. F/O Waroczewski was burned beyond recognition. The bodies were taken to RAF Hawkinge and returned to Newark for burial. Amazingly, the tree they hit is still standing today. The event was included in the squadron ORB:

“The funeral of F/O WAROCZEWSKI, F/O KUSZCZYNSKI and P/O WIECZOREK, who were killed when A/c No. R 1392 was destroyed in KENT after an operational flight took place at 10.30 hours in NEWARK CEMETERY and was attended by G/C KARPINSKI of No. 1 Group, G/C WASKEIWICZ of the Polish Inspectorate General, and many Officers and other personnel. F/O KARCZEWSKI was Officer in charge.”

When in his 80’s Sgt (later S/Ldr) Jozefiak returned to the crash site and built a memorial to his dead colleagues.