16/17.09.1943 No. 138 Squadron SOE Halifax II BB309 NF-T Fl/Sgt. Tadeusz Miecznik
Operation: SOE - Neon 3
Date: 16/17th September 1943
Unit: No. 138 Squadron
Type: Halifax II
Base: RAF Tempsford, Bedfordshire.
Location: Slaglille, Denmark
Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Tadeusz Miecznik 793802 PAF Age 28. Injured but evaded capture. (1)
Pilot 2: Fl/Sgt. Eugeniusz Paul Kasprzak 783202 PAF Age 21. Died later. (2)
Nav: F/O. Wincenty Stefan Wasilewski P-0839 PAF Age 27. Killed
Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. Wladyslaw Barzdo 782464 PAF Age 27.Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Julian Michalski 793235 PAF Age 35. Killed
Obs: Sgt. Wladyslaw Stanislaw Patlewicz 780909 PAF Age 28. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Roman Puchala 793808 PAF Age? PoW No: 539 Stalag Luft Heydekrug and Stalag Kopernikus (Camps L7 - 357) (3)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 18.29 hrs from RAF Tempsford to drop 2 agents (4) by into Poland on Operation Neon 3 and also to drop six containers and one ‘package’ on target at the dropping zone Obraz 108 DZ, Poland. This they did with great success.
Above left to right: Fl/Sgt. Michalski, Fl/Sgt. Kasprzak, F/O. Wasilewski, Fl/Sgt. Barzdo, Sgt. Patlewicz and Sgt. Puchala ('Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945’ - see credits)
On the return trip they were attacked by a Ju 88 C--6 from IV./NJG3 piloted by Lt. Richard Burdyna (5). This took place at very low level - reported to be 100 ft. They returned fire and hit the night fighter forcing it to crash into the forest at Slaglille at 04.47am. The pilot was killed on impact and the two severely injured aircrew died later that day in Ringstedt hospital.
BB309 was also damaged by the attack and the pilot tried to make a forced landing in the same area. At 04.45 hrs the Halifax slid several hundred yards before impacting a farmhouse and catching fire. Tragically, the owner of the farmhouse Laurits Christensen was killed along with his wife, Mary with 2 of the family's children. 4 of the Polish crew also died in the fire.
Weapon containers used for these drops and right Fl/Sgt. Kasprzak (courtesy Peter Piotrus)
Ju 88-C (courtesy Bundesarchive)
(1) Fl/Sgt. Miecznik also taken to the same hospital as the Luftwaffe crew and Fl/Sgt. Kasprzak. He had suffered a broken leg and arm. With help from locals escaped from the hospital on November 7th 1943 and via Copenhagen and Sweden returned to England in December.
(2) Fl/Sgt. Kasprzak also treated at the same hospital as the Luftwaffe crew but died later the same day. Some websites have his middle name as Peter, however, we have seen his birth certificate.
(3) Sgt. Puchala managed to jump from the aircraft as it was sliding towards the farmhouse - only slightly hurt and ran off. Only to be captured by the Germans on a nearby farm.
Left: The agents: 2nd Lt Miroslaw Kryszczukajtis (‘Szarzy’), Bernard Augustyn Wiechula (‘Maruda’) (courtesy Peter Piotrus)
(4) 2nd Lt Miroslaw Kryszczukajtis Age 31 (‘Szarzy’) and Bernard Augustyn Wiechula Age 23 (‘Maruda’ translated: Loss of time). Bernard had a twin brother Louis, who served in the Polish Army in France, after the fall of France escaped via the ship ‘Batory’ to England. Both are understood to have survived the war.
(5) Lt. Richard Burdyna's crew members: Ogefr. Leo Klotz (flight engineer) and Ogefr. Fritz Merten.(Wireless operator) This was their first confirmed kill of the war. All buried at the German War Cemetery, Copenhagan. Aircraft serial No: 360 167. (belonged to CW D5 II./NJG3)
Above left: Grave marker and right: Grave today (courtesy Peter Piotrus)
All are buried at Slaglille Cemetery, 2 miles from Soro, Sjealland, Denmark. NoK details for the crew are currently not available - are you able to assist completion of these and any other information?
Fl/Sgt. Eugeniusz Paul Kasprzak. Slaglille Cemetery. From Lublin, Poland.
F/O. Wincenty Stefan Wasilewski. Slaglille Cemetery. From Lipnie, Dobrzyn, Poland.
Fl/Sgt. Wladyslaw Barzdo. Slaglille Cemetery. From Podbrodzie district Święciany, now Litwa, Poland.
Fl/Sgt. Julian Michalski. Slaglille Cemetery. From Radom, Poland
Sgt. Wladyslaw Stanislaw Patlewicz. Slaglille Cemetery. From Czergowa, Poland.
Lt. Richard Burdyna, Ogefr. Leo Klotz, Ogefr. Fritz Merten. German War Cemetery, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Researched for the cousin of Fl/Sgt. Kasprzak, Peter Piotrus (Who also supplied us with extensive research material for this loss). Peter also has a website where he has recorded his research work. With thanks to the following, Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945',. Jerzy Cynk for some of the information used. Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2' for Luftwaffe information.