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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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301 Squadron
28/29.06.1942 301 (Pomeranian) Squadron, Polish, Wellington IV Z1479, Wg Cdr. Stanisław M. Krzystyniak

Operation: Bremen, Germany

Date: 25th/26th June 1942 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit No: 301 (Pomeranian) Squadron, Polish

Type: Wellington IV

Serial No: Z1479

Code: GR:A

Location: 2 km NE of Westeraccumersiel, Germany

Base: RAF Hemswell, Lincolnshire

Pilot: Wg Cdr. Stanisław Michał Krzystyniak 76639 PAF Age 36. PoW No. 289 * (1)

2nd Pilot: Fg Off. Jerzy Praśniewski P0848 PAF Age 33. PoW No. 298 * (2)

Obs: Fg Off. Paweł Wilhelm Tobolski MiD P-0375 PAF Age 38. PoW No. 300 */ Murdered (6)

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt. Marian Karol Przybylski 783322 PAF Age 30. PoW No 351 ** (3)

WOp/Air Gnr: Sgt Jarosław Szymankiewicz 794259 PAF Age 26. PoW No. 362 ** (4)

Air Gnr (Rear): Sgt. Julian Stanisław Kwiatkowski 784973 PAF Age 27. PoW No 333 ** (5)

* Stalag Luft 3, Sagan-Silesia, Germany, now Żagań in Poland. (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser, Bavaria).

** Stalag 357, Thorn (Toruń) in Poland. Moved in September 1944 to the loosely named Stalag 357 Fallingbostel, Lower Saxony, Germany. Officially the designation was Stalag 357 (Oerbke).

Note: Traditionally the RAF rank conferred on Polish airmen was one higher than their Polish rank:

plutonowy (plut) = Corporal (Cpl);
sierżant (sierz) = Sergeant (Sgt);
starszy sierżant (st.sierz) = Flight Sergeant (Flt Sgt);
chorąży (chor) = Warrant Officer (WO);
podporuczni (ppor) = Pilot Officer (Plt Off);
pororucznik (por) = Flying Officer (Fg Off);
kapitan (kpt) = Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt);
major (mjr) = Squadron Leader (Sqn Ldr);
podpulkownik (pplk) = Wing Commander (Wg Cdr).

REASON FOR LOSS:

On the 25th June 1942 14 Wellingtons from the Sqn were detailed to join a 1000 bombing mission to Breman, Germany. Z1479 took off from RAF Hemswell at 23:40 hrs and was the only Wellington from the Sqn that failed to return.

Z1479 was hit by flak from 1. & 3./Res. Flak Abt. 222, 2. & 3./Res. Flak Abt. 262 over Bremen, and the schw. Flak battery Sibethshaus (II. Marine Flak Brigade). After taking a final burst of light flak from 1./Lei. Flak Abt. 872 (Einsatz Wittmundhafen), the aircraft force-landed on mud flats 2 km NE of Westeraccumersiel at 02:40 hrs. (Nachtjagd Combat Archive (30 May - 31 December 1942) The Early Years Part 3 - Theo Boiten)

The crew survived the forced-landing and were captured.

Above: The crashed Wellington on the mud flats at Westeraccumersiel. (Attribution unknown)

(1) Wg Cdr. Krzystyniak was on the forced march to Milag und Marlag Nord, Westertimke, Lower Saxony.

(2) Fg Off. Prasniewski was promoted to Flt Lt. and was on the forced march to Milag und Marlag Nord, Westertimke, Lower Saxony.

(3) Sgt. Przybylski was promoted to Warrant Officer (WO) and transferred from Stalag 357 to Stalag Luft 4 and then to Stalag 11b.

(4) Sgt. Szymankiewicz was promoted to Flt Sgt. whilst at Stalag 357.

(5) Sgt. Kwiatkowski was promoted to WO. and transferred from Stalag 357 to Stalag 4b.

(6) After the prerequisite visit to Dulag Luft Fg Off. Tobolski was sent to Stalag Luft 3. Fg Off. Tobolski earned for himself or was selected on an early position in the line of two hundred hoping to escape from the north compound of Stalag Luft 3.

On the night of the 24th-25th March 1944, 76 officers escaped from the north compound of Stalag Luft 3 which, at that time, held between 1000 and 1500 RAF PoWs. The escape was made by the means of a tunnel. At about 05:00 hrs on the 25th March the 77th PoW was spotted by guards as he emerged from the tunnel.

An overview of the German response to the escape and the subsequent British prosecution of those responsible for the murder of fifty of the escapees is summarised in the report entitled “The Fifty - The Great Escape”.

Fg Off. Tobolski was German speaking and it was decided that he would pose as an Unteroffizier (Cpl) in the Luftwaffe escorting Wg Cdr. Day who posed as a Lt Col. in the Irish army working for the Germans

Note: The Republic of Eire was a neutral country during WW2.

They made it to Berlin and from there, on the 26th March, they made their way by train to Stettin where Tobolski’s sister lived. However, she was too scared to assist them so as a last resort Wg Cdr. Day made contact with an unescorted party of French PoWs who were glad to help. They were smuggled the two into their PoW barracks, gave them food and a bunk each.

Their sleep was interrupted the next morning, 29th March, by two Gestapo officers. Whilst being interrogated they were told that they had been betrayed by one of the Frenchmen. They spent four days in the local prison and on the fifth they were driven to Berlin. Here they were split up and it was believed that Fg Off. Tobolski had been taken to Sagan. (Ref 1 p. 198).

Wg Cdr. Day was one of the five escapees sent to the Concentration camp at Sachsenhausen - Sonderlager A. The five escapees were:

Wg Cdr. Harry Melville Arbuthnot 'Wings’ Day DSO, OBE(M) 05175, RAF, PoW No. 37;
Maj. John Bigelow Dodge DSO, DSC, MC 101106, British Army, Middlesex Regiment, PoW No. 285;
Flt Lt. Sydney Hastings Dowse MC, MiD 86685, RAF, PoW No. 39320;
Flt Lt. Bertram Arthur 'Jimmy’ James MC 42232, RAF, PoW No. 2263;
Flt Lt. Ray L.N. van Wymeersch 30268, FFAF, PoW No. 43010.

What is known from the trial transcript was that he was a lone officer who was killed by persons unknown some time on or about the 2nd April 1944 and cremated in Breslau, and his urn returned to Stalag Luft 3. No one was formally charged with the actual murder of Fg Off. Tobolski.

Burial details:

Memorial to “The Fifty” near to Żagań (Credit: CSvBibra - Own work, Public Domain)

Above: Grave marker for Fg Off. Tobolski (Courtesy of TWGPP)

Fg Off. Paweł Wilhelm Tobolski. Medal Lotniczy za Wojnę 1939-45 x 2 (Air Force Medal of War 1939-45), MiD. Poznań Old Garrison Cemetery 9.A. Coll Grave. Born on the 21st March 1906 in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Left effects to widow Jadwiga Tobolski.

Fg Off. Tobolski was Mentioned in Despatches (MiD) recognizing his conspicuous bravery as a PoW because none of the other relevant decorations then available could be awarded posthumously. Not promulgated in the London Gazette.

Also remembered on Panel 72 at the Polish War Memorial in Northolt.

Researched by Ralph Snape and Traugott Vitz for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with additional thanks to Traugott for his work on the ‘VitzArchive’.

Thanks to ‘The War Graves Photographic Project for their great work.

Other sources listed below:

References:

1. Stalag Luft III - An official history of the “Great Escape’ PoW Camp - Published by Frontline Books - ISBN: 978-1-47388-305-5




RS & TV 28.08.2022 - 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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