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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.


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300 Squadron Crest
02/03.01.1945 300 Squadron Lancaster I PB823 BH-T Sq/Ldr. Brunon B. Janas

Operation: Nürnberg

Date: 2/3rd January 1945 Tuesday/Wednesday)

Unit: No. 300 Squadron (PAF)

Type: Lancaster I

Serial: PB823

Code: BH-T

Base: RAF Faldingworth

Location: Laix, France.

Pilot: Sq/Ldr. Brunon Benedykt Janas P-1093 PAF Age 30. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Maksymilian Wruś 781108 PAF Age 37. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Wiktor Omiotek 704450 PAF Age 25. Killed

Air/Bmr: W/O. Jan Banyś 780229 PAF Age 29. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Stefan Zieliński 705532 PAF Age 29. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Romuald Drozdowicz 706719 PAF Age 32. Killed

Air/Gnr: Sgt. Walenty Marian Heine 784105 PAF Age 27. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off from Faldingworth 15:16 hrs on an Operation to bomb Nurnberg. Attacked by German fighter, aircraft exploded and crashed near Laix (Meurthe-et-Moselle), Bazailles, and Ville-au-Montois, three villages 12 km East / Seouth East of Longuyon, France.

It is understood that almost certainly Hptm. Martin Becker of Stab IV./NJG6 intercepted and shot down Lancaster PB823 at 19:32 hrs. Combat took place at 4.300 mtrs. over south Luxembourg.

Hptm. Martin Becker survived the war with an incredible 58 confirmed kills. He died aged 89 on the 8th February 2006. Recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves during World War II. Becker claimed 58 aerial victories. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and its higher grade Oak Leaves was awarded to recognise extreme battlefield bravery or successful military leadership.

The commemorative plate on the war memorial erected in the Ville de Montois in November 2003.

Burial details:

Initially buried at the American cemetery at Grand Failly before being reinterred at the Pierrepoint French National Cemetery in 1964. (Cimetiere de Dieuze)

Sq/Ldr. Brunon Benedykt Janas. Pierrepoint French National Cemetery. Joint grave: 1357-1363. Single. Born 01st June 1915 in Niedobczycach, Rybnik. Fought during the German invasion of Poland in 1939. Joined RAF (301 Squadron) in 1941 after fighting with the French from Lyon. Then joined 300 Squadron in 1944.

Sgt. Maksymilian Wruś. Pierrepoint French National Cemetery. Joint grave: 1357-1363. Husband of Cecilia (née Ruminska) Wrus. Son of Jozef Wrus and Joanna (née Iwicka) Wrus. Born 28th April 1908 in Bydgosszcz. Fought during the German invasion of Poland in 1939 - fought in France and then joined the RAF in March 1940.

Sgt. Wiktor Omiotek. Pierrepoint French National Cemetery. Joint grave: 1357-1363. Single. Born 25th August 1920 Roki, Poland. Fought during the German invasion of Poland in 1939 - imprisoned by the Russians before joining the RAF in 1942.

W/O. Jan Banyś. Pierrepoint French National Cemetery. Joint grave: 1357-1363. Son of Pawel and Katarzyna Banys. Born in Golczowice, Olkusz, Kielce, Poland. Married. Born 26th October 1916. Fought during the German invasion of Poland in 1939 - fought with the French before joining the RAF.

Sgt. Stefan Zieliński. Pierrepoint French National Cemetery. Joint grave: 1357-1363. Son of Jan and Katarzyna Zielinski. Single. Born 04th August 1916 - fought with the French army in Syria before joint the British Army and then the RAF in April 1943.

Sgt. Romuald Drozdowicz. Pierrepoint French National Cemetery. Joint grave: 1357-1363. Married. Born 20th February 1912 in Osciewicze, Drizna. Fought during the German invasion of Poland in 1939 - imprisoned by the Russians, once freed joined the British Army and served in the Middle East before joining the RAF in April 1943.

Sgt. Walenty Marian Heine. Pierrepoint French National Cemetery. Joint grave: 1357-1363. Single. Born 03rd February 1918 in Grojec. Fought during the German invasion of Poland in 1939 - fought in France before joining RAF in 1940.

Researched for relatives / friends of the crew. With thanks to the following: Robert Gretzyngier, Woitek Matusiak, Wadldemar Wojcik and Josef Zielinski for photo's of the crew, other sources as quoted below.

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), 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', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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