Tuesday, 10 January 2017


HE304    17th July 1943

Recorded only in the RAF Davidstow Moor Operations Record Book and Dennis Burke’s excellent website on foreign aircraft landings in the Irish Republic.  This Wellington Mk X was returning from an anti-submarine patrol over the Bay of Biscay when it ran out of fuel.  The crew baled out and landed safely in Carlow and the aircraft crashed near Ballickmoylar, Co Laois.  An SOS was picked up at 00.01hrs  and three aircraft were sent out to look for it but found no trace as they did not violate Irish neutrality by searching over the Republic.  All three aircraft were forced to abandon the search because of bad visibility. 

The crew returned to Britain and continued to fight; they were Sgt Stanislaw Kieltyka, Sgt Remigiusz Duszczak, Sgt Karol Stefan Pasieka, Sgt Mieczyslaw Franciszek Salewicz, Sgt Mikolaj Pawluczyk and Sgt Wladyslaw Kaczan.

This crash was the subject of a report by the Chief of Staff of the Department of Defence to Mr Eamon de Valera, president of Ireland a draft copy of which is shown below courtesy of Michael Purcell.



Mr. Eamon de Valera, T.D.

Secret / Confidential

To: Mr de Valera, Taoiseach.
From: Chief of Staff, Dept. of Defence, Dublin.


At 00.45 hours on 17/07/1943, 2 miles east of Ballickmoyler Garda Station in the county Leix.
3 miles west of Carlow town a Wellington Bomber, Service No. 304, Markings H.E. ( the crew of 6 Poles having bailed out over county Wexford - all Sergeants of the Polish Air Force ) crashed in a field, 200 yards off the road, on land owned by George Ovington, Farmer.  Earlier reports by observers on the ground reported the plane was spotted by the military and alert civilians over Waterford, Wexford, Wicklow before heading over Carlow and crashing in Leix.

Engines - 2 Perseus or 2 Hercules. Sleeve valve.The crew baled out over Glen in the county Wexford, and were rounded up and brought to Bawn James, New Ross. 2 of them were slightly injured.   From Wexford the pilotless plane travelled about 20 miles and passed over populated areas until crashing about 3 miles from Carlow town. The local Guards made futile attempts to keep away civilians from the crash site. The fire brigade from Carlow town attended the crash scene.  The plane was completely burnt out. The wings were broken off. The impact created a crater approx. 15' x 20' with several pieces of the machine strewn over an area of 75 yards.  The crater was full of water that had been pumped by the fire brigade to quell the flames.  There was no sign of bombs or guns but a considerable amount of .303 ammo was strewn around.  Subsequently two Browning M.G. .303 were found buried in the ground.  Fuel in tanks- nil.

The fire brigade pumped the crater dry.  A loader and truck was requisitioned from Baldonnel Air Corps  Transport Unit. Men from Baldonnel Air Base Construction /Maintenance Corps loaded the remains and filled in the crater.  A member of the Guards supplied a truck to assist with the removal.
The field was searched for ammo.

It was established that the plane left Cornwall at 16.00 hours on the 16th July on Atlantic training flight. It ran into fog and ran short of petrol.  Machine had been in the air for nearly 8 hours.
The crew were on a night training exercise.  No damage was caused to property on the ground.
Salvaged - Scrap of plane - two helmets - Log Book - Codes- Map - Signal Flares, .303 ammo.
All the Polish officers spoke English and made a statement to the effect that they had lost their bearings.  They received directions but suspecting the message was from a German station ignored the directions as previous to this pilots were lured into enemy air space and shot down.

They became aware they were over Eire.  All were glad they had landed in Eire and were grateful for the hospitality accorded to them.  They stated they had read a lot about Ireland's struggle for freedom and compared it to Poland's fight for freedom.  They spoke of the perfection of the underground organisations in the occupied countries. The pilot said he had escaped from Germany. His brother is a Captain in the Polish Air Force and is at present on a special mission in Poland landing people by air in occupied countries when they like and where they like and take them off again.  The 6 officers were conveyed to Baldonnell, handed over to Commandant Quinn, along with 5 parachutes ( the 6th is missing). The Crew gave the following identification with which we are satisfied as being true

Pilot - Sgt Stanislaw Kieltyka,
Wireless Operator / Air Gunner- Sgt Remigiusz Duszczak,
Co-Pilot - Sgt Karol Stefan Pasieka,
Navigator- Sgt Stanislaw Salewicz,
Wireless Operator / Air Gunner -Sgt Mikolaj Pawluczak
Air Gunner- Sgt Wladyslaw Kaczan.

A special word of thanks and praise to Carlow Fire Brigade, who were quickly on the crash scene and despite explosions of ammunition continued at work until the fire was under control also thanks and
praise to the L.D.F. AT Carlow and Wexford.  They co-operated with the Garda and Military and remained on duty all night.  All personal connected with the above incident displayed a high standard of efficiency and duty under difficult circumstances.  An acknowledgement from your office might be extended to them.

The crash was also subject of a report (too faint to reproduce) which stated that wreckage was scattered over a large area and in a crater six feet deep in which the burning fuselage was embedded.  The crater was full of water which the fire brigade had pumped in to put out the fires.  This was subsequently drained and filled in by the Irish Army.  A low loader and a lorry were filled with scrap metal from the scene.  It was noted that the local sight seers were a nuisance to the Army.

Final Report to the Department of Defence
Thanks to Lukas Gredy for additional information and documents


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