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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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303 squadron badge
21.05.1944 303 Squadron Spitfire Vb BM565 Sgt. W. Kempka

Operation: Ramrod 905

Date: 21st May 1944 (Sunday)

Unit No: 303 Squadron (Polish)

Type: Spitfire VB

Serial: BM565

Base: RAF ALG Horne, England

Location: Villiers Northern France.

Pilot: Flt Sgt. Wiktor Kempka 793627 PAF Age 25. PoW, Unknown camp


10 Spitfires leaving Manston at 09.50 hrs. Shot down during a ramrod during the morning of the 21st May after crashing near Villiers, France.

This was the first massed operation against German communication and radar targets over Northern france, consequently large number of casualties were incurred with fighter command losing 30 aircraft. 9 Pilots killed, 6 evading capture, 9 taken PoW, 3 wounded with 3 escaping injury.

303 Squadron Spitfires and right: Flt Sgt. Wiktor Kempka

Another 303 Squadron pilot, Stanislaw Brzeski VM, DFC flying Spitfire EP461, survived but also taken PoW.

Earlier on the 23rd September 1943 Flt Sgt. Kempka took off at 14:45 hrs flying Spitfire IX BS180 on a Ramrod 240 part 1 mission. He was one of 12 Spitfire IXs from the Sqn that joined 302 Sqn, led by Wg Cdr. Gabazewicz, on the first fighter sweep for 72 Marauders bombing Beauvaia/Tille airfield.

Flt Sgt Kempka’s Spitfire was attacked by 4 Fw190s and as a result of damage sustained to his engine had to bale out. He made several Maydays and was located by the Wing air/sea rescue section after a very short time.

227 Sqn 'C' Flight Walrus 2735, flown by Fg Off. Edmiston and, crew Sgt. Green and Flt Sgt. Birch-Hurst, was scrambled at 16:30 hrs to search an area 30 miles south of Beechy. The Walrus was escorted by two Spitfires; Spitfire 8072 flown by WO Waddington and Spitfire 7734, flown by Fg Off. Fletcher. Flt Sgt. Kempka was located and rescued with the Walrus and escorts returning at 17:40 hrs.

Burial Details:

None, Flt Sgt Kempka survived and settled in Great Britain after the war. No further details. Died on the 9th April 2006 in England, aged 91.

With thanks to the following for additional information, the 1333 (Grangemouth Spitfire) Squadron and the Grangemouth Spitfire Memorial Trust who provided me with so much information and assistance during my visit, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses' Vol's. 1 and 2, Polish Squadron O.R.B. 'website'. Thanks to Michael Meras for the additional information on the Ramrod 240 mission (Nov 2022)

RS 09.11.2022 - Additional information added

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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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