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
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.)
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: