This bomber does not appear to be in my immediate field of interest, because it was a 300 Squadron machine, BUT it is causing me some sleepless nights for several reasons:
Firstly, the accompanying photograph shows that it was 'fit and well' so to speak, at RAF Hemswell in 1942 and the aircraft is clearly marked Assam Bomber I in the picture. The crew includes Stanislaw Boczkowski, who was a former 304 Squadron pilot (Co-pilot on R1268). The problem is that the Assam Bomber I was a gift from the people of South Africa.
OH! NO IT WASN'T! Firstly, Assam is in North East India - a very long way from South Africa. Secondly, the real Assam Bomber I WAS a gift from the Assam War Fund in Simla, India. They didn't make a physical presentation, as such, but they did donate the money to buy the aircraft. This aircraft was manned by 300 Squadron aircrew and was shot down in July 1941 under the serial X9639 - BH-E not BH-T as in the above photo (I believe that this is R1211) which is allegedly taken in 1942 - yet it clearly shows the name!
The possibilites are that a second bomber was assigned the name to avoid (political) embarrassment over losing such a valuable gift, so quickly, ridiculous though that seems under wartime conditions - censorship would see to it that this bit of news was not released! Alternatively, the photograph is wrongly dated and/or captioned, although Stanislaw Boczkowski was serving with 300 Squadron from March 1941. His crew names do not match the names of the crew lost with X9639 and I believe that the former possibility is more likely.
I am checking this out with the official historian of the Indian Air Force, but I would value any opinions.
I am a local historian who got involved with the Polish Air Force because one of their aircraft fell out of the sky near the village where I was born. That was in December 1940 and I never even heard of it until September of 2007. It started as a local history project, then snowballed into an obsession as I realised the huge contribution made by Polish exiles who fought for our freedom. I never realised just how big was the Polish contribution, nor how badly the British and Americans treated them at the end of the War - just to appease Joseph Stalin's territorial ambitions - a matter of expediency taking precedence over decency and with no justifiable reason.
Now that all, or almost all, of these Polish heroes are dead, it is not too late to ensure that these brave men are remembered and that those memories are preserved forever. It's time the British showed the Poles that some of us remember and appreciate just how much they did for us. They fought, and very often died, for our freedom - and we owe them a debt of honour.