18.05.1945 No. 309 Squadron Mustang III KH540 WC-D Fl/Lt. Befinger - Mustang III FB383 WC-X Fl/Lt. Kubica
Date: 16th May 1945 (Wednesday)
Unit: No. 309 Squadron (Polish)
Type: Mustang P-51b III
Serial: Fl/Lt. Befinger - KH540 WC-D
Serial: Fl/Lt. Kubica - FB383 WC-X
Base: Andrews Field, Essex
Location: 45 miles East Bradwell Bay, North Sea
Pilot 1: Fl/Lt. Mieczyslan Franciszek Befinger P-1896 PAF Age 29. Killed
Pilot 2: Fl/Lt Franciszek Kubica P-2135 PAF Age 27. Killed
Update February 2017: We have now further information and additional photographs of Fl/Lt. Mieczyslan Franciszek Befinger from a close relative - page will shortly be updated with these.
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)
Fl/Lt. Mieczyslan Franciszek Befinger. Epping Cemetery, Essex. Row Z. Grave 9. Son of Mollie Befinger (née Adams). Father to Halinka and Wanda. Born 28th August 1915, Poland.
Fl/Lt Franciszek Kubica. Wonseradeel (Makkum) Protestant Churchyard, Friesland, Netherlands. Row O. Grave 40. Next of kin details not currently available. Born 30th July 1917, Poland.
Researched for relatives of the pilots. With thanks to the daughter, Halinka Chaston of Fl/Lt Befinger who contacted us in January 2017. 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'.