20/21.12.1943 No. 304 Squadron Wellington XIV HF208 Fl/Sgt. Klemens Adamowicz
Operation: U-Boat patrol (Bay of Biscay)
Date: 20/21st December 1943 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: No. 304 Squadron (Coastal Command - Polish)
Type: Wellington XIV
Location: Slieve Glass, above Brandon village, Dingle Penninsula, Irish Republic.
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Klemens Adamowicz 780537 PAF Age 32. Killed
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Stanislaw Czerniawski 794362 PAF Age 25. Killed
Nav: Sgt. Naftali Hirsz Pawel Kuflik 794712 PAF Age 20. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Pawel Kowalewicz 703968 PAF Age 26. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Kazimierz Lugowski 703438 PAF Age 23. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Wincentry Pietrzak 782657 PAF Age 27. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
While returning from U-Boat patrol over the Bay of Biscay, the aircraft is thought to have been caught in a snowstorm and crashed below Mount Brandon in the Irish Republic at 23:22 hrs. Records indicate that their last reported position was over Lismore in County Waterford heading east-south-east presumably to Predannack.
The whole crew were killed, their bodies were given an honour guard by the Irish Army and handed over to the British authorities at the Ulster border. HF208 was seen by several Look Out Posts skirting along the coastlines of Kerry, Cork and Waterford.
It has been reported in various publications, that the crew were killed by the exploding ammunition in the fire that engulfed the aircraft. This is thought to have been originated from locals and incorrect information passed down over the years.
With the assistance from Dennis Burke (1) it is unlikely that this was the scenario and that the crew were killed during the impact. All the bodies were recovered outside the aircraft. A copy of a report by a Captain Pringle stated that he found 4 depth charges and various other ammunition which he destroyed at the site. (copies of these reports available on request) The impact point was on the slopes above Slieveglass, above Brandon village on the Dingle Peninsula.
(1) Dennis runs a website on Aircraft crashes in Ireland during WW2.
Further details supplied by Neville Bougourd in January 2017:
Major JP O'Connell (G2 Southern Command)and addressed to the Chief Staff Officer, Department of Defence, Dublin reported that his staff arrived on the scene at 12:45 hrs and took charge of the wreckage etc until handed over to the military at 03:00 hrs on the 21st December. The coroner was informed of the incident and he decided that no inquest was to be held. The 6 bodies (3 not charred, 2 slightly charred and 1 badly charred) were removed at 21:00 hrs for internment at Cloghan, Ferbane, County Limerick - all were positively identified by the ID discs recovered.
HF 208 crash site - 2008 (Photograph courtesy Dennis Burke)
The bodies of the crew were handed over to Military Authorities at 18:30 hrs. at Middleton, County Armagh, Northern Ireland for burial on the 22nd December 1943.
Fl/Sgt. Klemens Adamowicz. Milltown Cemetery, Belfast. County Antrim. Grave No. LG 45. Born 25th April 1911 in Zamosc, Poland. 4th Air Regiment Torun. 25([P) EFTS 16(P) SFTS, 18 OTU, since March 1943 with 304 Squadron.
Sgt. Stanislaw Czerniawski. Milltown Cemetery, Belfast. County Antrim. Grave No. LG 46. Born 14th February 1918 in Patoki, Poland. 1939 pilot of 51 Eskadra, captured by Soviets, 25(P) EFTS, 16(P) SFTS, 6 OTU, since Sept 1943 with 304 Squadron.
Sgt. Naftali Hirsz Pawel Kuflik. Jewish Cemetery at Carnmoney, North Belfast. Born 4th January 1923, Cologne, Germany. 6 OTU, since Sept 1943 with 304 Squadron.
Sgt. Pawel Kowalewicz. Milltown Cemetery, Belfast. County Antrim. Grave No. LG 47. Born 9th February 1917 in Piaski Stare, Poland. 6 OTU, since Sept 1943 with 304 Squadron.
Sgt. Kazimierz Lugowski. Milltown Cemetery, Belfast. County Antrim. Grave No. LG 64 Born 20th July 1920 in Chromno-Zbuczyn, Poland, captured by Soviets, 6 OTU, since Sept 1943 with 304 Squadron.
Sgt. Wincentry Pietrzak. Milltown Cemetery, Belfast. County Antrim. Grave No. LG 48. Born 25th July 1916 in Swieciniec-Mirzewo, Poland, 6 OTU, since Sept 1943 with 304 Squadron.
Our thanks to Peter Sikora, Neville Bougourd, also to Dennis Burke for their valued assistance with this article. Acknowledgements to: Robert Gretzyngier, Woitek Matusiak, Wadldemar Wojcik and Josef Zielinski for Polish information that we may have used.