No. 300 Squadron P.A.F. Fairey Battle I L5356 BH-R Polish crew killed during training
Date: 29th October 1940 (Friday)
Unit: No. 300 Squadron (Polish)
Type: Fairey Battle I
Base: R.A.F. Swinderby
Location: Girton, Sutton-Upon Trent. Nottinghamshire
Pilot: Sgt. Gerhard Goebel P780040 P.A.F. Age 26. Killed
Obs: F/O. Stanislaw Firlej-Bielański P76828 Age 33. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Tadeusz Jerzy Szmajdowicz P780068 Age 21. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
On a roof-watching training exercise over Leicester racing course when the aircraft entered a dive and a wing detached during the manoeuvre. Other reports are that the aircraft struck a power line. The Battle crashed to the ground, bursting into flames killing all the Polish crew instantly.
Prior to this accident on the 15th October the crew had “shot up” a Colliery at Bestwood ( 9 miles north of Nottingham) – one of the employees at the colliery was a ‘friend’ of the pilot. They dived on the colliery 3 times at a very low altitude and pulling up in a very steep climb.
The result of the Accident Investigation Branch was that the crash was due to a structural failure whilst the aircraft was pulling out of a dive. The possibility that the structure had been strained by a ‘previous flight’ cannot be dismissed.
Sgt. Gerhard Goebel. Newark Cemetery, Nottinghamshire. Plot 1. 299. From Siemianowice Śląskie, Poland. Born 10th May 1914. Previously trained at 15 E.F.T.S. and No. 18 Polish O.T.U. Previous to joing the Royal Air Force he had 450 hours flying experience in single and twin engined aircraft.
F/O. Stanislaw Firlej-Bielański. Newark Cemetery, Nottinghamshire. Plot 1. 298. From Jarosław, Poland. Born 6th October 1907
Sgt. Tadeusz Szmajdowicz. Newark Cemetery, Nottinghamshire. Plot 1. 297. From Grodzisk Mazowiecki, Poland. Born 2nd October 1919
Researched for relatives of the crew with thanks to Tadeusz Krzystek, Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński – “Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945”, Jerzy Bogdan Cynk – “The Polish Airforce At War” Vol’s 1 and 2, and the folks at 300 Squadron Yahoo group.