Thursday, 4 February 2010


He was an air gunner/radio operator born in July 1914 in Tarnow and he was mobilised in 1939.  Shortly afterwards he was evacuated to Romania and from there, via France, to England.  He trained as a radio telegraphist and was assigned to 304 Squadron, with whom he flew two operational missions and was known to be in service on 8th July 1943.  He was promoted to Warrant Officer and transferred to 301 squadron, serving on special duties.  He was killed on 17th August 1944 when Handley Page Halifax JP220 had both starboard engines shot away by flak or fighters over Warsaw and the port engines overheated causing it to crash land, hitting farm buildings at Debina near Bochnia.

They had been dropping supplies to support the Warsaw Uprising.  At least some of the crew survived and were spirited back to England by the Armia Krajowa  (local resistance) via Odessa but Bohanes had baled out and was machine gunned by a night fighter on his descent.  He had already won the Cross of Valour four times but was awarded the  Order of the Virtuti Militari Silver Cross 5th class posthumously for this mission.  He is buried in the British Cemetery at Krakow, Poland.  I have seen several reports saying that local people and family members covered his grave with flowers at the time of the funeral; he died very close to his home.  In an incredibly risky mark of respect, soldiers of the local Armia Krajowa resistance fired a volley over his grave.

On 1st August 2004 a ceremony of remembrance was held at the site of his crash and it was attended by many, including Ludwik Krempa, a former 304 Squadron pilot.

Memorial to Stefan Bohanes, near the scene of the crash

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