18/18.07.1944 No. 300 Squadron Lancaster III PB171 BH-K W/O. Jósef Žóltański
Date:18/19th July 1944 (Tuesday/Wednesday)
Unit: 300 Squadron (Polish)
Type: Lancaster III
Base: RAF Faldingworth, Lincolnshire
Location: North sea WSW of Den Helder
Pilot: W/O. Jósef Żóltański 793879 PAF Age 26. Missing
Pilot 2: Fl/Lt. Stanislaw Ostaszewski P-0445 PAF Age 30. Missing
Fl/Mech: Fl/Sgt. Stanislaw Szychowski 780364 PAF Age 26. Missing
Nav: F/O. Jerzy Jósef Bregman P-2527 PAF Age 22. Missing
Air/Bmr: Fl/Sgt. Fryderyk Janicki 794451 PAF Age 29. Missing
W/O/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Ignacy Ratajczak 703975 PAF Age 31. Missing
Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Stanislaw Jósef Mamak 703439 PAF Age 26. Missing
Air/Gnr: W/O. Stefan Stysiak 783132 PAF Age 30. Missing
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off at 23.15 hrs from Faldingworth. Part of a 170 aircraft force this night, 157 Lancasters with 13 Mosquitoes of 1 and 8 Groups to bomb the oil plant.
The raid was a success with reports that 550 bombs hit the target area - however, some 233 failed to detonate. The oil production was halted for several months. It is reported that 5 workers were killed at the plant itself with 25 killed in nearby domestic dwellings.
Above and below PB171 BH-K of 300 Squadron (see credits)
Some 5 aircraft were lost by the allies during this operation, the other 4:
100 Squadron Lancaster III LM569 HW-T - Flown by 21 year old P/O. Jeffrey Ross Jones AUS/428767 of NSW, Australia RAAF - killed with all 6 other crew.
100 Squadron Lancaster III LM620 HW-K - Flown by 26 year old F/O. Trevor Gerrick Page NZ/422999 RNZAF of Auckland, New Zealand - killed with all 6 other crew.
460 Squadron Lancaster I LL957 AR-E2 - Flown by 27 year old F/O. Rex Lionel Carr AUS/400318 RAAF of Victoria, Australia - killed with 5 other crew, 1 taken PoW.
550 Squadron Lancaster I DV279 BQ-M - Flown by 26 year old Fl/Lt. Austin Thomas Clark DFC J/86332 RCAF Quebec, Canada - killed, the remaining crew baled out of the aircraft over Norfolk. Understood that the pilot then tried to force land the Lancaster but crashed.
PB171 was attacked on the return journey and lost without trace. Claimed to have been shot down at 02.20 hrs by German night fighter ace Lt. Walter Briegleb 10./NJG3 some 60 km W.S.W. of Den Helder at a height of 3.500 metres.
(1) In 2014 the sister of F/O. Jozef Bregman, Barbara Marlow (née Bregman) compiled his wartime diaries and published the work.
The book is also to be published in Poland in 2015 by the Foundation for the history of the Polish Air Force as part of their series ‘The Forgotten Heroes.’
Left: W/O. Jósef Żóltański and Fl/Sgt. Stanislaw Mamak
(2) Lt. Walter Briegleb survived the war with a total of 25 Abschusse. (shown above with his crew and aircraft)
None - the crew are classed as missing. They are commemorated on both the Polish Memorial in Warsaw, Poland and the Polish Memorial at Northolt, England. (Both visited and photographed by Aircrew Remembered)
Researched by the webmaster for relatives of the crew. We would like to thank Robert Gretzyngier, Woitek Matusiak, Waldemar Wojcik and Jósef Zielinski for the use of the crew photographs. We highly recommend their publications regarding the WW2 Polish Air Forces. Also to: Barbara Marlow (née Bregman) sister of F/O. Bregman. Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', ‘Bomber Command Database’
, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vol's. 1 and 2', 'Kracker Luftwaffe Archives'
. Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version).