18.05.1945 309 Squadron Mustang III KH540 WC-D Flt.Lt. Befinger - Mustang III FB383 WC-X Flt.Lt. Kubica
Date: 16th May 1945 (Wednesday)
Unit: 309 Squadron (Polish)
Type: Mustang P-51b III
Serial: KH540 WC-D (Flt.Lt. Befinger)
Serial: FB383 WC-X (Flt.Lt. Kubica)
Base: Andrews Field, Essex
Location: 45 miles East Bradwell Bay, North Sea
Pilot 1: Flt.Lt. Mieczysław Franciszek Befinger P-1896 PAF Age 29. Killed
Pilot 2: Flt.Lt Franciszek Kubica P-2135 PAF Age 27. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
During a training exercise both pilots were flying at 18,000 ft 45 miles east of Bradwell Bay in Essex England when they collided. It is understood that both pilots managed to bale out of the Mustangs, tragically drowned before they were picked up.
Both tragically killed after war end in a training accident - hundreds more were to be killed in training accidents. Details of many can be found in the publication by Colin Cummings as shown below.
(Above and below photographs courtesy Halinka Chaston)
Flt.Lt. Mieczysław Franciszek Befinger. Epping Cemetery, Essex. Row Z. Grave 9. Born 28th August 1915, Poland. Husband to Mollie (née Adams) Befinger and father to Halinka and Wanda Befinger.
Flt.Lt Franciszek Kubica. Wonseradeel (Makkum) Protestant Churchyard, Friesland, Netherlands. Row O. Grave 40. Born 30th July 1917, Poland. Next of kin details not currently available.
Researched for relatives of the pilots. With thanks to the daughter, Halinka Chaston of Flt.Lt Befinger who contacted us in January 2017 and November 2019. Also to the following for further information supplied, Colin Cummings - 'The Price Of Peace'. Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow, Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii' 1939-1945'.