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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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Polish roundel
27/28.08.1944 No. 1586 ESP Halifax II JP295 FS-P Fl/Lt. Franciszek Omylak

Operation: Special Duties Unit (Warsaw uprising)

Date: 27/28th August 1944 (Sunday/Monday)

Unit: No. 1586  Eskadrę Specjalnego Przeznaczenia (Special Duties Squadron)

Type: Halifax II

Serial: JP295

Code: FS-P

Base: RAF Brindisi, Italy

Location: Banica, Poland

Pilot: F/O. Kazimierz Widacki P-2708 Polish Air Force (PAF) Age 23. Killed

Nav/Commander: Fl/Lt. Franciszek Kazimierz Omylak G.M. P-2043 PAF Age 37. Killed

Fl/Eng: Sgt. Andrzej Wilhelm Jerzy Balcarek P-780000 PAF Age 29. Killed

Air/Bmr: P/O. Konstanty Dunin-Horkawicz P-2484 PAF Age 27. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Jan Franciszek Ożga P-705033 PAF Age 25. Killed

Air/Gnr: F/O. Tadeusz Mroczko P-2703 PAF Age 24. Killed

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Józef Skorczyk P-705778 PAF Age 29. Killed


October 16th 2013 Crew finally recognised in a new correctly inscribed grave at Rakowicki cemetery, Krakow, Poland


REASON FOR LOSS:

Flying - without the benefit of a second pilot - another airlift with supplies to aid the struggling Polish Land Army uprising in Warsaw. These missions were made up of all-volunteer crews as the loss rate covering the huge distance to Poland was enormous. This night would be no exception as two further crews were lost. Fl/Sgt Boleslaw Graff and his crew in another Halifax II JD171 GR-B were killed after being shot down - his Fl/Eng Aleksander Danilkiewicz became a prisoner of war.

Halifax II JP295 vanished without trace whilst making supply drops to the Kampimos Forest area, near Warsaw. After the War the remnants of an unidentified Halifax ll were found in Banica, near Tarnow, which, according to local residents, crashed there at the end of August / beginning of September 1944, killing its crew.

Another crew flying in a Liberator KG927 GR-S made an amazing drop into Warsaw, despite being severely damaged (Bomb bay doors jammed open, rear turret out of action) the aircraft returned to base and was wrecked during the landing. Fl/Lt. Mioduchowski and his crew survived.

This remembrance page, written by a relative of the pilot, has been dedicated to the new memorial erected in Banica, Poland in August 2009. 

                                                    

Pilot: F/O. Kazimierz Widacki at Brindisi Airbase, Italy (courtesy Aleksander Gucwa) 

                    

Above Halifax JP295 Crew Top L - R: The flight commander Fl/Lt. Omylak G.M., F/O. Widacki, Sgt. Balcarek, P/O. Dunin-Horkawicz, Below: Sgt. Ożga, Fl/Sgt. Skorczyk, F/O. Mroczko (courtesy Aleksander Gucwa)

  

Top left: Containers ready to be loaded for supply drops. Right: Polish Land Army watching the skies! (Courtesy I.P.M.S.)



                   


Burial details:


With some great work by Alexsander Gucwa who, with the assistance of the CWGC finally on October 16th 2013 the crew has been provided a correctly inscribed grave. 

Placed in the Military section of the Rakowicki (also known as Rakowice) Cemetery, Krakow, Poland.


With very special thanks to Mr. Aleksander Gucwa for the photographs used in this article.  Also to Francis Gates, daughter of Fl/Lt. Franciszek Kazimierz Omylak for her valued assistance.



  Mr. Aleksander Gucwa has written a book describing the events of the loss and the memorial to this and other crews in a publication written in Polish. 


Alexander also produced this commemoration video, shown 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, 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', 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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