27.02.1945 No. 303 Squadron Spitfire F.IX MA814 RF-Q Sgt. Prusak C.V and bar
Operation: Accident (Illegal low flying)
Date: 27th February 1945 (Tuesday)
Unit: No. 303 Squadron (Polish)
Type: Spitfire F.IX
Location: USAAF Base, Harrington, Nr. Kettering, Northants.
Pilot: Sgt. Klemens Prusak CV and Bar 782599 PAF Age 30. Killed
A local Polish historian Kamil Mrozinski is trying to secure permission to place a memorial board at the crash area, dedicated to this pilot. We are actively supporting this as are his relative and Peter Sikora. We hope to have further information in due course.
REASON FOR LOSS:
The pilot was flying at around 300 ft carrying out rolls and then levelled out at a very low 50ft. flying straight and according to 7 eye witnesses the pilot seemed to be in control. At 14.21 hrs the aircraft struck a tree at very high speed at about 30 ft and dived into the ground. The aircraft then continued in flames for a further 350 yards.
The conclusion of the enquiry was that the aircraft had no defects, weather conditions were fine with visibility of 8 miles, wind - 16 mph, light conditions - good and that it was due to pilot error and that he was lacking in flying discipline.
Sgt. Prusak was an experienced pilot with 305 hours on the Spitfire and a total of 1,251 hours on other aircraft types.
He had, however already been before a court martial on a previous occasion (24/08/1943) for low flying. He was reduced to Sgt. for this.
Sgt. Klemens Prusak had been awarded the cross of valour on two separate occasions.
With friends in France, prior to escaping to England. Front row, centre.
Front row, 3rd from right: Sgt. Klemens Prusak (courtesy Peter Sikora)
Crash site as visited in August 2014 (courtesy Kamil Mrozinski)
Accident scene Spitfire F.IX MA814 (courtesy Gretzyngier, Matusiak, Wojcik and Zielinski)
Klemens Prusak (courtesy Olga Prusek and family)
Klemens Prusak. Newark Cemetery, England. Grave No: 0.328. Born: Warsaw, Poland. Also commemorated on family grave at the Brodna Cemetery, Warsaw (shown above)
We are pleased to advise that we are in contact with Olga Prusek, who has supplied us with many photographs and documents.
We would like to thank Olga Prusek, Peter Sikora, Robert Gretzyngier, Woitek Matusiak, Wadldemar Wojcik and Josef Zielinski for the use of some of these photographs. We highly recommend their publications regarding WW2 Polish Air Force and are happy to provide other researchers information where they can be purchased. Thanks also to Mike Harrison for grave photo.
Whilst based at Blackpool