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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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309 Squadron badge
18.05.1945 309 Squadron Mustang III KH540 WC-D Flt.Lt. Befinger - Mustang III FB383 WC-X Flt.Lt. Kubica

Operation: Training

Date: 16th May 1945 (Wednesday)

Unit: 309 Squadron (Polish)

Type: Mustang P-51b III

Serial: KH540 WC-D (Flt.Lt. Befinger)

Serial: FB383 WC-X (Flt.Lt. Kubica)

Base: Andrews Field, Essex

Location: 45 miles East Bradwell Bay, North Sea

Pilot 1: Flt.Lt. Mieczysław Franciszek Befinger P-1896 PAF Age 29. Killed

Pilot 2: Flt.Lt Franciszek Kubica P-2135 PAF Age 27. Killed


During a training exercise both pilots were flying at 18,000 ft 45 miles east of Bradwell Bay in Essex England when they collided. It is understood that both pilots managed to bale out of the Mustangs, tragically drowned before they were picked up.

Both tragically killed after war end in a training accident - hundreds more were to be killed in training accidents. Details of many can be found in the publication by Colin Cummings as shown below.

(Above and below photographs courtesy Halinka Chaston)

Burial Details:

Flt.Lt. Mieczysław Franciszek Befinger. Epping Cemetery, Essex. Row Z. Grave 9. Born 28th August 1915, Poland. Husband to Mollie (née Adams) Befinger and father to Halinka and Wanda Befinger.

Flt.Lt Franciszek Kubica. Wonseradeel (Makkum) Protestant Churchyard, Friesland, Netherlands. Row O. Grave 40. Born 30th July 1917, Poland. Next of kin details not currently available.

Researched for relatives of the pilots. With thanks to the daughter, Halinka Chaston of Flt.Lt Befinger who contacted us in January 2017 and November 2019. Also to the following for further information supplied, Colin Cummings - 'The Price Of Peace'. Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow, Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii' 1939-1945'.

RS 24.11.2019 - Spelling of Flt.Lt Befinger's christian name corrected

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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, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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