16/17.01.1945 No 300 Squadron Lancaster I PD257 BH-U W/O. Bakinowsk
Date: 16/17th January 1945 (Tuesday/Wednesday)
Unit: No. 300 Squadron (Polish)
Type: Lancaster I
Base: R.A.F. Faldingworth, Lincolnshire.
Location: Kleinfurra, 10 km. South South West Nordausen, Germany.
Pilot: W/O. Robert Bakinowski P-780661 P.A.F. P.o.W.
Fl/Eng: Sgt. Kazimierz Tomasik P-780024 P.A.F. P.o.W.
Nav: Sgt. Stanislaw Seidengert P-703112 P.A.F. P.o.W. (1)
Air/Bmr: P/O. Franciszek Matuszewski P-2722 P.A.F. Age 26. Killed
W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Mikolaj Piotrowski P-794471 P.A.F. Age 28. Killed
Air/Gnr: Sgt. Mieczylslaw Sasin P-706523 P.A.F. P.o.W. (2)
Air/Gnr: Sgt Antoni Smoczkiewicz P-706697 P.A.F. Age 22. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Took off from R.A.F. Faldingworth, Lincolnshire at 17.48 hrs to bomb the Braunkohle-Benzin synthetic oil plant at Zeitz, South West of Leipzig. 328 Lancaster took part in this operation (one of several this night by other groups) 10 failed to return.
Some reports write that PD257 was shot down by anti-aircraft fire, others that it was ‘possibly’ a victim of a night fighter. The nightfighter War Diaries (3) describe that it is ‘possible’ that Fw. Heinrich Lahmann shot this down at 21.56 hrs. Interception was made after they had dropped their bombs and were on the return journey when they were caught up between Halle and Duderstadt.
(1) Sgt. Stanislaw Seidengert; Born in 1914 in Warsaw, Poland. After being shot down he was captured and taken to hospital with severe frostbite. A Serbian doctor convinced the Germans that a double amputation was not necessary and he nursed him back to health. During a march to move prisoners away from the advancing Allied forces he escaped with an American Major. Caught again, this time by the S.S., overpowered their guard and escaped again. Exhausted and fearing a reprisal they decided to ‘break into’ a P.o.W. camp where they remained until liberated a few days later. Died following a heart attack in Toronto, Canada on November 4th 2004, age 89. Leaving his wife Janka (nee Stykolt), daughters Kasia and Magda.
(2) Mieczylslaw Sasin Eventually settled in Australia. We made contact with him through a third party in July 2013, we hope to have some further information and or photographs that we can add to this remembrance page.
(3) At this stage of the war – despite very careful Luftwaffe records many were lost the certainty for the claims cannot be guaranteed. We do know that Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie have researched these very carefully although, we do keep an open mind on new developments.
P/O. Franciszek Matuszewski. Berlin War Cemetery. Plot IV. Row J. Grave 15-17. N.o.K. details not currently available. Born 23rd January 1918
Sgt. Mikolaj Piotrowski. Berlin War Cemetery.Plot IV. Row J. Grave 15-17. N.o.K. details not currently available. Born 6th May 1916
Sgt Antoni Smoczkiewicz. Berlin War Cemetery. Plot IV. Row J. Grave 15-17. N.o.K. details not currently available. Born 29th March 1922
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Ina Canute, Lucyna Artymiuk, Bill Chorley – ‘Bomber Command Losses’ Vol. 6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie – ‘Nightfighter War Diaries Vol’s. 1 and 2’, Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt – ‘Bomber Command War Diaries’, Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tom Kracker – ‘Kracker Luftwaffe Archives’.