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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 (P) Wellington IV Z1409 BH-A Sgt. Izydor Konderak

Operation: Osnabrück

Date: 17/18th August 1942 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit: No. 300 Squadron (P) (Mazowiecki). 1 Group

Type: Wellington IV

Serial: Z1409

Code: BH-A

Base: RAF Ingham

Location: Emlichheim / Coevorden

Pilot: Sgt. Izydor Konderak 782574 PAF Age 25. Injured

Obs: Fl/Lt. Ruciński Kazimierz Zakrzewski P-0892 PAF Age 31 PoW No: 633 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan

W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O. Henryk Kazimierz Kowalski 792306 PAF Age 23. PoW No: 27061 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus

W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O. Władysław Vandalli 793209 PAF Age 32. PoW No: 25630 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus

Air/Gnr: W/O. Jan Hmenia 794584 PAF Age 28. PoW No: 25642 Camp: Stalag Luft Heydekrug

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 21:57 hrs one of 7 from the squadron to bomb Osnabrück with a combined force of just 139 aircraft. Far smaller than was expected for this the planned first 'Pathfinder' operation of the war. Many squadron commanders reported that their units were unready which resulted in this operation being carried out in the standard way.

Wellington Z1421 BH-V understood to be flown by F/O. Ireneusz Sawicki 783622 PAF was forced to abandon the operation after the pilot’s escape hatch opened and could not be closed. (This aircraft was listed as missing on the 03rd November 1942 with the loss of all fice Polish crew)

111 aircraft found the target which was easily identified by ground detail, they bombed from 12,000 to 15,000 feet between 00:28 and 00:40 hrs. all but one returning to report a successful attack.

The town reported a sharp attack on the north and north-western parts of the town. 77 dwelling houses and 4 military buildings were destroyed with a further 125 buildings seriously damaged including the town's main hospital, a paper mill, and a copper-wire factory. 7 people were killed in the town with a further 15 injured.

Above L-R: Sgt. Izydor Konderak, Fl/Lt. Ruciński Zakrzewski, W/O. Henryk Kowalski and W/O. Jan Hmenia.

Wellington Z1409 BH-A crashed at Emlichheim (some reports state that it was close to the village of Coevorden) at 01:45hrs. It was contested by Oblt. Herbert Lutje of 8/NJG1 and by Flak of the 8th Flak Division. It was later confirmed on the 01st December 1944 that Oblt. Herbert Lutje was credited with the Victory. (shown right)

All five crew survived but the pilot Sgt. Konderak later died of his injuries. Most records, including Polish, show that he died on the 22nd of August 1942 however, the CWGC list him as dying of his injuries on the 18th August. The four remaining crew were taken PoW.

On an earlier operation to Duisberg on the 27th July 1942, this crew survived a landing incident at RAF Ingham, only the pilot was slightly injured receiving treatment at the station sick quarters.

Burial details:

Sgt. Izydor Konderak. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 15.CV.17 - Born on the 15th June 1917 at Michałopol, Poland. 1 x Medal Lotniczy

Other crew details:

Fl/Lt. Ruciński Kazimierz Zakrzewski - Born on the 03rd February 1909 in Warsaw, Poand. Died on the 16th February 1982 in London, England, age 73. 2 x Krzyz Walecznych. 2 x Medal Lotniczy

W/O. Henryk Kazimierz Kowalski - Born on the 30th September 1919 at Gumowo, Po;and - Died 30th September 2001 on Blackpool, England, age 82. 2 x Krzyz Walecznych, 1 x Medal Lotniczy.

W/O. Władysław Vandalli - Born on the 18th December 1910 at Brak Danych - Died 24th May 1969 in Reading, England, age 59. 2 x Krzyz Walecznych, 1 x Medal Lotniczy

W/O. Jan Hmenia Born on the 08th March 1914 at Brak Danych, died in 1982, age 82. 3 x Krzyz Walecznych 1 x Medal Lotniczy

Researched for Jack Crayton (on behalf of relatives of W/O. Henryk Kazimierz Kowalski) and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Bomber Command Database, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten 'Nachtjagd War Diaries Volume 1 ', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), Kracker Archives, Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum Mielnika, Archiwum: Ulepszone Dane Personalne Sił Powietrznych 1940 - 1947, other sources as stated below.

KTY 17-02-2022

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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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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