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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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300 squadron badge
300 Squadron Lancaster BI PD383 BH-Z Tragic loss of crew and 20 RAF passengers off Corsica

Operation: R.A.F. Transport

Date: 5th November 1945 (Monday)

Unit: No. 300 Squadron (Polish)

Type: Lancaster BI

Serial: PD383

Code: BH-Z

Base: RAF Faldingworth, Lincolnshire.

Location: Tyrrhenian Sea off Corsica.

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Bronisław Warchołek 704705 PAF Age 26. Missing

Fl/Eng: Fl/Sgt. Piotr Skibiński 793281 PAF Age 24. Missing

Nav: Fl/Sgt. Władysław Szumski 704962 PAF Age 24. Missing

Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Bernard Nowak 794948 PAF Age 28. Missing

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Zdzisław Pietrzak 706646 PAF Age 20. Missing

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Michał Antoszczyszyn 703020 PAF Age 26. Missing

Passenger list:
L.A.C. Michael Francis Armstrong 1571899 RAFVR Age 37. Missing
Fl/Sgt. Harold Beard 1398508 RAFVR Age 22. Missing
Cpl. Andrew Bell 1785099 RAFVR Age 28. Missing
L.A.C. Robert Victor Dunning 1014148 RAFVR Age 31. Missing
Sgt. Leslie William Finch 1255107 RAFVR Age 31. Missing
L.A.C. Sidney Walter Gottheimer 1291116 RAFVR Age 30. Missing
L.A.C. Arthur Oliver Hampton 1466367 RAFVR Age ? Missing
Cpl. Ernest George Hewlett 1644684 RAFVR Age 41. Missing
Cpl. William Jude 1071061 RAFVR Age ? Missing
Fl/Lt. Mervyn Cyril Steward Long 50943 RAF Age 23. Missing
L.A.C. William McAllister 1105130 RAFVR Age ? Missing
Sgt. William Edward Malley 993015 RAFVR Age 30. Missing
Cpl. James Mills 948530 RAFVR Age 23. Missing
L.A.C. William Stanley Roberts 2212174 RAFVR Age ? Missing
L.A.C. Roy Shipley 1451546 RAFVR Age 23. Missing
L.A.C. Charles George Smith 1524505 RAFVR Age 40. Missing
L.A.C. Friend Welbourne Wilkinson 1619589 RAFVR Age ? Missing
Sgt. Alfred Williams 549505 RAF Age 25. Missing
L.A.C. Robert Holme Willman 1686870 RAFVR Age 17. Missing
L.A.C. Reginald Charles Frank Young 1276272 RAFVR Age 24. Missing

REASON FOR LOSS:

Transporting RAF boys back home to the United Kingdom from a base in Italy. 

They limited the maximum number of passengers on the Lancaster to 22 persons as the aircraft really was unsuitable for this type of work. Kit bags and luggage was carried in the bomb bays - passengers could move around to the various positions within the Lancaster and enjoy the view on the 6 hour return journey home.

No accurate information is currently available but reports are that the Lancaster broke up in the air and cashed just off Corsica in the Tyrrhenian Sea. No bodies or wreckage was found and all the crew and passengers are listed on various memorials as stated below.

Aircraft details: This aircraft had been built by Metropolitan Vickers Ltd at Moseley Road , Manchester, England, contract No. 221. Powered by 4 Rolls Royce Merlin XXIV engines

              

              Fl/Sgt. Bernard Nowak (courtesy Robert Nowak)

             

          Fl/Sgt. Bronisław Warchołek in the centre holding the dog at RAF Faldingworth, England (courtesy Norman Leto)

             

             Cpl. James Mills and one of his last letters home. (courtesy of James's brother, Basil Mills and family)

             

          Malta memorial and the Warsaw Memorial in Poland (archives)

Burial details:

None - All crew and passengers classed as missing. RAF Personnel are recorded on the Malta Memorial and the RAF honour roll at St Clements Danes Church. The Polish crew are commemorated on the Polish Memorial Northolt and Warsaw and the RAF honour roll at St Clements Danes Church, London, England.

Crew: We are waiting for further information on the Polish crew

Fl/Sgt. Bronisław Warchołek. Born 29 September 1919

Fl/Sgt. Michał Antoszczyszyn. Born 12 October 1919

Fl/Sgt. Piotr Skibinski. Born 30 May 1921

Fl/Sgt. Władysław Szumski. Born 28 June 1921

Fl/Sgt. Bernard Nowak. Born 6th February 1917, Poland

Sgt. Zdzisław Pietrzak. Born 16 February 1925

Panel on the Malta Memorial very kindly submitted by Anne and Chris Jones

Passengers:

L.A.C. Michael Francis Armstrong. Malta Memorial Panel 19, Column 1. Son of Thomas and Ellen Armstrong, of Little Bay, Notre Dame Bay, Newfoundland.

Fl/Sgt. Harold Beard. Malta Memorial Panel 18, Column 1. Son of William Alfred and Minnie Ellen Beard, of Gillingham, Kent, England.

Cpl. Andrew Bell. Malta Memorial Panel 19, Column 1. Son of Robert Alexander Bell and Margaret Bell, of Carntyne, Glasgow, Scotland.

L.A.C. Robert Victor Dunning. Malta Memorial Panel 19, Column 1. Son of Henry and Rose Dunning, husband of Hilda May Dunning, of Lyde, Herefordshire, England.

Sgt. Leslie William Finch. Malta Memorial Panel 18, Column 2. Son of William Walter and Francis Sarah Finch. No further details as yet.

L.A.C. Sidney Walter Gottheimer. Malta Memorial Panel 18, Column 2. Son of Frederick and Mary Ann Gottheimer, of Hoxton, London, England.

L.A.C. Arthur Oliver Hampton. Malta Memorial Panel 19, Column 2. No further details as yet.

Cpl. Ernest George Hewlett. Malta Memorial Panel 19, Column 1. Son of Ernest G. and Rosamond L. E. Hewlett, husband of E. D. Hewlett, of Brighton, Sussex, England.

Cpl. William Jude. Malta Memorial Panel 19, Column 1. Son of Thomas and Mary Jude, husband of Eleanor Jude, of Leamington, Newcastle-on-Tyne, England.

Fl/Lt. Mervyn Cyril Steward Long. Malta Memorial Panel 18, Column 1. Son of Cyril Ernest and Agnes Elizabeth Long, of Fulham, London, England.

L.A.C. William McAllister. Malta Memorial Panel 19, Column 2. No further details as yet.

Sgt. William Edward Malley. Malta Memorial Panel 18, Column 2. Son of the Revd. Augustus Malley, Th.L., and Annie Elizabeth Malley, of Hemel Hempstead Vicarage, Hertfordshire, husband of Margaret Malley, of Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland.

Cpl. James Mills. Malta Memorial Panel 19, Column 1. Son of George and Mary Mills, of Northwich, Cheshire, England. His father used to run a boxing club and Jim had won various medals and trophies. He also represented the RAF at inter-allied tournaments and won his weight / class on a number of occasions. The family also related to a story that he had been scheduled to return on an earlier flight but gave up his place as one of his friends needed to return to see his mother who was seriously ill.

L.A.C. William Stanley Roberts. Malta Memorial Panel 19, Column 2. Son of William and Emily Roberts, husband of Edith Emily Roberts, of Kingswood, Bristol, England.

L.A.C. Roy Shipley. Malta Memorial Panel 19, Column 2. Son of Mr. and Mrs. C. William Shipley, of Leeds, Yorkshire, England.

L.A.C. Charles George Smith. Malta Memorial Panel 19, Column 2. Husband of Jessie Smith, of Newbold-on-Avon, Warwickshire, England.

L.A.C. Friend Welbourne Wilkinson. Malta Memorial Panel 19, Column 2. No further details as yet.

Sgt. Alfred Williams. Malta Memorial Panel 19, Column 2. Son of Mrs. A. Williams, of Fishponds, Gloucestershire, England.

L.A.C. Robert Holme Willman. Malta Memorial Panel 19, Column 2. Husband of Gianna Willman, of Garston, Lancashire, England.

L.A.C. Reginald Charles Frank Young. Malta Memorial Panel 19, Column 2. Son of Percy George and Ethel May Young, of Ryde, Isle of Wight, England.

Researched for the brother of James Mills - Anne and Chris Jones recently very kindly supplied us with a photo of the panel at Malta - passed on to the family. With thanks to Colin Cummings "The Price Of Peace", Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Stephen Diver from 300 Squadron.

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 and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), 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', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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