300 Squadron (P) Wellington IV Z1409 BH-A Sgt. Izydor Konderak
Date: 17/18th August 1942 (Monday/Tuesday)
Unit: No. 300 Squadron (P) (Mazowiecki). 1 Group
Type: Wellington IV
Base: RAF Ingham
Location: Emlichheim / Coevorden
Pilot: Sgt. Izydor Konderak 782574 PAF Age 25. Injured
Obs: Fl/Lt. Ruciński Kazimierz Zakrzewski P-0892 PAF Age 31 PoW No: 633 Camp: Stalag Luft Sagan
W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O. Henryk Kazimierz Kowalski 792306 PAF Age 23. PoW No: 27061 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus
W/Op/Air/Gnr: W/O. Władysław Vandalli 793209 PAF Age 32. PoW No: 25630 Camp: Stalag Kopernikus
Air/Gnr: W/O. Jan Hmenia 794584 PAF Age 28. PoW No: 25642 Camp: Stalag Luft Heydekrug
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 21:57 hrs one of 7 from the squadron to bomb Osnabrück with a combined force of just 139 aircraft. Far smaller than was expected for this the planned first 'Pathfinder' operation of the war. Many squadron commanders reported that their units were unready which resulted in this operation being carried out in the standard way.
Wellington Z1421 BH-V understood to be flown by F/O. Ireneusz Sawicki 783622 PAF was forced to abandon the operation after the pilot’s escape hatch opened and could not be closed. (This aircraft was listed as missing on the 03rd November 1942 with the loss of all fice Polish crew)
111 aircraft found the target which was easily identified by ground detail, they bombed from 12,000 to 15,000 feet between 00:28 and 00:40 hrs. all but one returning to report a successful attack.
The town reported a sharp attack on the north and north-western parts of the town. 77 dwelling houses and 4 military buildings were destroyed with a further 125 buildings seriously damaged including the town's main hospital, a paper mill, and a copper-wire factory. 7 people were killed in the town with a further 15 injured.
Above L-R: Sgt. Izydor Konderak, Fl/Lt. Ruciński Zakrzewski, W/O. Henryk Kowalski and W/O. Jan Hmenia.
Wellington Z1409 BH-A crashed at Emlichheim (some reports state that it was close to the village of Coevorden) at 01:45hrs. It was contested by Oblt. Herbert Lutje of 8/NJG1 and by Flak of the 8th Flak Division. It was later confirmed on the 01st December 1944 that Oblt. Herbert Lutje was credited with the Victory. (shown right)
All five crew survived but the pilot Sgt. Konderak later died of his injuries. Most records, including Polish, show that he died on the 22nd of August 1942 however, the CWGC list him as dying of his injuries on the 18th August. The four remaining crew were taken PoW.
On an earlier operation to Duisberg on the 27th July 1942, this crew survived a landing incident at RAF Ingham, only the pilot was slightly injured receiving treatment at the station sick quarters.
Sgt. Izydor Konderak. Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Grave 15.CV.17 - Born on the 15th June 1917 at Michałopol, Poland. 1 x Medal Lotniczy
Other crew details:
Fl/Lt. Ruciński Kazimierz Zakrzewski - Born on the 03rd February 1909 in Warsaw, Poand. Died on the 16th February 1982 in London, England, age 73. 2 x Krzyz Walecznych. 2 x Medal Lotniczy
W/O. Henryk Kazimierz Kowalski - Born on the 30th September 1919 at Gumowo, Po;and - Died 30th September 2001 on Blackpool, England, age 82. 2 x Krzyz Walecznych, 1 x Medal Lotniczy.
W/O. Władysław Vandalli - Born on the 18th December 1910 - Died 24th May 1969 in Reading, England, age 59. 2 x Krzyz Walecznych, 1 x Medal Lotniczy
W/O. Jan Hmenia Born on the 08th March 1914, died in 1982, age 82. 3 x Krzyz Walecznych 1 x Medal Lotniczy
Researched for Jack Crayton (on behalf of relatives of W/O. Henryk Kazimierz Kowalski) and dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Bomber Command Database, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten 'Nachtjagd War Diaries Volume 1 ', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries (Updated 2014 version), Kracker Archives, Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum Mielnika, Archiwum: Ulepszone Dane Personalne Sił Powietrznych 1940 - 1947, other sources as stated below.