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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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300 (Masovian) Squadron
12/13.06.1944 300 (Masovian) Squadron Lancaster III JA683 Fg Off. Henryk M. Burkiewicz

Operation: Gelsenkirchen, Germany

Date: 12th/13th June 1944 (Monday/Tuesday)

Unit No: 300 (Masovian) Squadron

Type: Lancaster III

Serial: JA683

Code: BH:S

Base: RAF Faldingworth, Lincolnshire, England

Location: Sondern, 3 km (1¾ mls) NW of Radevormwald, Germany

Pilot: Fg Off. Henryk Marian Burkiewicz P-2197 / 793980 PAF Age 22. KiA

Flt Eng: Sgt. Edward Porowski 784462 PAF Age 25. KiA

Navigator: Fg Off. Eugeniusz Stanisław Józefowicz P-2412 / 703494 PAF Age 25. KiA

Bomb Aimer: Plt Off. Kazimierz Andruszkiewicz P-2482 / 794839 PAF Age 28. KiA

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Jan Ernest Sumiga 781195 PAF Age 29. KiA

Air Gnr (Mid Upp): Flt Sgt. Michał Golec 782730 PAF Age 27. KiA

Air Gnr (Rear): Flt Sgt. Lucjan Józef Klucha 704558 PAF Age 26. Murdered (1)

Above left Fg Off. Henryk Marian Burkiewicz and right Plt Off. Kazimierz Andruszkiewicz

REASON FOR LOSS:

JA683 took off from RAF Faldingworth at 23:21 hrs on a mission to bomb the Nordstern (Gelsenberg A.G.) synthetic-oil plant at Gelsenkirchen, Germany.

JA683 was claimed by Oberfeldwebel (Ofw) Herbert Giesecke his first Abschuss, from 3./NJG3, 30 - 50 km (18½ - 31 mls) south of Duisburg at 5,500m, at 01:22 hrs. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (12 May 1944 - 23 July 1944) Part 3 - Theo Boiten).

On the 8th May 1945 Ofw. Giesecke flew his Ju88 G-6C (Werk #621642) D5+GH from Grove in Denmark to Gormanson in Eire to surrender with his two crewmen Unteroffizier (Uffz) Horst Walter Schmidt and Obergefreiter (Ogefr) Bernhard Kruschyna. The crew were interned and the aircraft was turned over to the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE), Farnborough. Ofw. Giesecke was credited with six Abschüsse.

JA683 crashed at Sondern, 3 km (1¾ mls) NW of Radevormwald in Germany near a flak searchlight unit at 01:22 hrs.

Four of the dead airmen were found near the aircraft wreckage. There were uncorroborated rumours among the foreign workers, unproven and unprovable to this day, that two of the four had been shot by a local Nazi party official.

(1) The circumstances leading to the death of Flt Sgt. Klucha were determined by a British Military Court convened in Hamburg on the 9th June 1948.

A Wilhelm Katerndahl was charged with committing a War Crime in that he at Radevormwald, Germany on the 15th June 1944, in violation of the laws and usages of war, was concerned in the killing of Flight Sergeant L. Klucha, RAF, a PoW.

Katerndahl was a former Ortsgruppenleiter (Local Group Leader) and a member of the Nazi party.

Flt Sgt. Klucha managed to bale out of the aircraft and after landing was detained by a farmer who handed him over to a Hugo Proll, the head of the fire station in Herkingrade, who then informed the police in Radevormwald of the airman.

A Kriminalsekretär (Detective Inspector in the Gestapo) Wedler and a Police Wachtmeister (Sgt) Lancebach collected the airman and returned to Radevormwald where Flt Sgt. Klucha was held in a cell.

When Katerndahl heard of the captured airman he telephoned the police at Radevormwald who confirmed that an airman was in custody. It was then decided in conjunction with the Oberleutnant der Polizei (Police 1st Lt) Thomas to search the area where the plane crashed. On his way to the site with a small number of his men Katerndahl called at the police station and demanded that the prisoner be handed over to him. Thomas refused and after an altercation Katerndahl left for the scene of the crash.

About 30 mins later Wedler proposed to Thomas that they should take the prisoner to Wuppertal by way of Herkingrade. Thomas relented and Wedler, accompanied by Bürgermeister (Mayor) Fischer, took custody of the prisoner and set out by car.

By taking this route they had to pass the scene of the crashed aircraft where Katerndahl was encountered with a number of other individuals. The car was halted and the airman taken from the car by Wedler and was walked into a nearly wood where he was shot by Katerndahl. It was claimed that this shot was not fatal and that Wedler took the pistol from Katerndahl and fired a second shot which killed the airman.

Wedler was not before the court to answer for his role in the murder of Flt Sgt. Klucha because he had been killed by slave workers the day after American forces arrived in the area.

The shooting occurred approximately 180 m. (590 ft) west of a electricity transformer and about 40 m. (130 ft) inside the wood off the road leading from Freudenberg to Herkingrade.

Katerndahl admitted that he had shot Flt Sgt. Klucha but claimed that he did so because the airman was trying to escape. There were a number of eye-witnesses to the events, none of whom suggested that the airman was trying to escape.

The court found Katerndahl guilty of the charge and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

On the 3rd February 1950 his sentence was commuted to 21 years and then to 20 years on the 6th May 1955. His earliest possible release was recorded at the 7th September 1958. However he was released on the 24th June 1957 and was one of the last two inmates of Werl prison when the British closed it as a British institution and handed it back to the German penal system.

Proll collected the airman’s body on the 16th June and transported him to the Remlingrade Friedhof (Cemetery) which is some 4 km (2½ ml) NNW of Radevormwald.

Burial details:

Above: Polish War memorial (Courtesy of Romazur – Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0

Fg Off. Henryk Marian Burkiewicz. Medal Lotniczy (x2). Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Plot 27, Row G Grave 8. Also remembered on the PAF Memorial, Northolt. Born on the 3th August 1921 in Tarnów, Poland. No further Next of Kin information.

Sgt. Edward Porowski. Medal Lotniczy (x2). Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Plot 27, Row G Joint Grave 6-7. Also remembered on the PAF Memorial, Northolt. Born on the 9th September 1918 in Wojny-Krupy Wysokie Maz, in Poland. No further Next of Kin information.

Plt Off. Kazimierz Andruszkiewicz. Medal Lotniczy (x2). Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Plot 27, Row G, Joint Grave 4-5. Also remembered on the PAF Memorial, Northolt. Born on the 2nd June 1911 in Łysołaje Łęczna, Poland. No further Next of Kin information.

Fg Off. Eugeniusz Stanisław Józefowicz. Medal Lotniczy. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Plot 27, Row G, Joint Grave 4-5. Also remembered on the PAF Memorial, Northolt. Born on the 21th June 1918 in Warszawa, Poland. No further Next of Kin information.

Sgt. Jan Ernest Sumiga. Medal Lotniczy (x2). Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Plot 27, Row G, Joint Grave 6-7. Also remembered on the PAF Memorial, Northolt. Born on the 17th July 1914 in Kalisz, Poland. No further Next of Kin information.

Flt Sgt. Michał Golec. Krzyz Walecznych, Medal Lotniczy. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery Plot 27, Row G, Grave 3. Also remembered on the PAF Memorial, Northolt. Born on the 3th September 1916 in Czerniewice Rawa Maz, Poland. No further Next of Kin information.

Above: Grave marker for Flt Sgt. Lucjan Józef Klucha

Flt Sgt. Lucjan Józef Klucha. Medal Lotniczy. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, Plot 27, Row G, Grave 2. Also remembered on the PAF Memorial, Northolt. Born on the 19th May 1918 in Kliczków Mały Sieradz, Poland. No further Next of Kin information.

Researched by Ralph Snape and Traugott Vitz for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives of this crew. With thanks to Traugott Vitz for his work on the VitzArchive’.

Other sources listed below:

RS & TV 27.04.2023 – Initial upload

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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, 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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