15.04.1941 304 Squadron (P) Wellington Ic R1212 Fg.Off. Rudolf K. Christmann
Date: 15th April 1941 (Tuesday)
Unit: 304 (Polish) Squadron
Type: Wellington Ic
Base: RAF Syerston
Location: Flintham Woods, Syerston
Pilot: Fg.Off. Rudolf Karol Christmann P-006/76846 PAF Age 35. Killed
Pilot U/T: Sgt. Wiesław Leszek Pietruszewski 793339 PAF Age 22. Killed
Pilot U/T: Sgt. Tadeusz Aranowski 780219 PAF Age 22. Injured
Obs: Plt.Off. Zbigniew Mieczysław Gałczyński P-0023/76863 PAF Age 29. Injured
WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Antoni Berger 793337 PAF Age 26. Killed
Air Gnr: Sgt. Jan Franciszek Jarosz 780960 PAF Age 27. Injured
Above as described - further details here.
Update September 2017: The daughter of Plt.Off. Zbigniew Mieczysław Gałczyński contacted us and hope to visit the area of the crash. Marie advised us that sadly, her father passed away on Tuesday the 8th February 1983 at Hailsham, East Sussex. She has also kindly sent many photos of her father, some of which we have shown on the page.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Not much information on this loss. It seems that the pilot lost control after experiencing engine problems whilst trying to land in a strong cross-wind the Wellington crashed at 17:27 hrs into Flintham Woods, just beyond the airfield at Syerston. 3 of the crew were sadly killed, 3 injured, 2 of which suffered serious injures but all recovered. Sgt Aranowski went on complete his training as a pilot.
This was the first loss from the squadron before they went fully operational on the 25th April 1941.
Anyone with further information is invited to contact us.
Above: P/O. Zbigniew Mieczysław Gałczyński with friends.
Fg.Off. Rudolf Karol ChrIstmann. Born 5th April 1906 in Lwów, Poland.
Marek Wyspianski writes:
Fg.Off. Christmann was my mother's uncle and a pilot in the Polish Air Force (PAF) pre-war and an experienced pilot. She recalls that he was known to her as 'Wujek Rudek' (Uncle Rudi) and as a young girl (she is nearly 95 now) being taken up by him for a ride in a bi-plane , wearing the goggles and leather helmet in Biggles fashion.
He was one of 3 children, his sister, my grandmother, survived the war and came to live in the UK, as did his brother, Eduard Christmann (Wujek Edek) who was also in the PAF, I believe as Engineering Officer in 316 Squadron.
Sgt. Wiesław Leszek Pietruszewski. Born 25th August 1919 in Warsaw, Poland. Next of kin details not available - are you able to assist?
Sgt. Antoni Berger. Born on 5th January 1915 in Poznan, Poland. Next of kin details not available - are you able to assist?
Other crew information - all survived the war: Sgt. Aranowski born on the 27th September 1919 in Szczutow Poland, Plt.Off. Gałczyński born on the 06th August 1912, Sgt. Jan Franciszek Jarosz born on the 15th September 1914 in Łańcut Poland.
For further details our thanks to Ken Ogilvie for information received. Thanks to John Jones for the new information about Sgt Aranowski. The daughter of Plt.Off. Zbigniew Mieczysław Gałczyński contacted us in September 2017 and provided several photographs. Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945’. Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii’. Thanks to Marek Wyspianski for the information on Fg.Off. Christmann. Also the sources as shown below.