09/10.10.1943 138 Squadron 'C' Flight Liberator III BZ858 NF-F W/O. Hulas
Operation: Operation Cottage 7
Date: 09/10th October 1943
Unit: No. 138 Squadron 'C' Flight
Type: Liberator III
Base: RAF Tempsford
Location: Semb, Sweden
Pilot: W/O. Bronisław Hułas 780457 PAF Age 30. Interned - safe
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Czech Jerzy Nowacki P-1046 PAF Age 28. Interned - safe
Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. Witold Wacław Rucinski 792655 PAF Age 22. Interned - safe
Obs: Fl/Lt. Mieczysław Malinowski P-0708 PAF Age 26. Interned - safe
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Bolesław Wozniak 792865 PAF Age 32. Interned - safe
Air/Gnr: W/O. Józef Dubiel 792209 PAF Age 27. Interned - safe
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Stefan Miniakowski 782238 PAF Age 27. Interned - safe
REASON FOR LOSS:
Leaving RAF Tempsford at 17:25 hrs on a Special Operations Executive flight on 'Operation Cottage 7' to drop supplied to a zone on Poland codenamed Baran 511.
Prior to take off the Captain of the aircraft, Fl/Lt. Malinowski protested that their was insufficient fuel for an operation of this distance - he was overruled and ordered to take off.
During the flight Fl/Sgt. Rucinski informed the Captain that there would be insufficient fuel left after reaching the target zone to make the return trip to England. The captain decided that they should complete the operation and then decide on the course of action.
They successfully made the drop and turned for home. The decision then had to be made, land in neutral country or ditch in the North Sea - their W/T was fully functional and so they could transmit a fix in order for them to be picked up. Having reached the Danish coast the decision was then made to return to Sweden. The crew set off devices to destroy equipment and then set fire to the instrument panel prior to baling out over Halmstad with the Halifax crashing at Semb - totally destroyed. They had been airborne for over 12 hours.
They were then interned by the Swedish authorities and remained so until the 15th June the following year.
(1) Sadly Fl/Sgt. Witold Wacław Rucinski was killed on the 21st November 1944 whilst with 1662 Heavy Conversion Unit. Halifax V LL126 'G' Flown by F/O. Jerzy Szymon Kisiełewicz P-1989 PAF killed with all 6 other Polish crew when the aircraft crashed Long Ashton near Bristol, England. See here for further details.
None - all crew survived.
W/O. Bronisław Hułas - Born on the 15th February 1913 at Luchów Górny, Poland, passed away on the 04th November 2006 in Warsaw, Poland, age 93. Fl/Lt. Czech Jerzy Nowacki - Born on the 21st March 1915 at Wałków, Poland, passed away on the 22nd April 2003 at Duszniki-Zdrój, Poland, age 88. Fl/Sgt. Witold Wacław Rucinski - Born on the 16th November 1921 at Kowel Poland (now Ukraine), killed on the 21st November 1944. Fl/Lt. Mieczysław Malinowski - Born on the 28th April 1917. Last known to be living in Australia. Fl/Sgt. Bolesław Wozniak - Born on the 14th January 1911 at Kazin, Poland. Last known to be living in Argentina. W/O. Józef Dubiel - Born on the 11th February 1916 at Brzesko, Poland, passed away on the 21st January 1984 in England, age 68. Fl/Sgt. Stefan Miniakowski - Born on the 18th February 1916 at Mohylów, Russia, passed away on the 11th August 1993 at Kopparberg, Sweden, age 77.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to sources as shown.