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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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305 Squadron Crest
27/28.08.1942 No. 305 (P) Squadron Wellington IV Z1245 SM-D Sgt. Pytlak

Operation: Kassel

Date: 27/28th August 1942 (Thursday/Friday)

Unit: No. 305 Squadron (Polish)

Type: Wellington IV

Serial: Z1245

Code: SM-D

Base: RAF Hemswell, Lincolnshire

Location: Eindhoven, Germany

Pilot: Sgt. Jan Pytlak 780702 PAF Age 24. Killed

Obs: Fl/Lt. Antoni Władysław Kiewnarski P-0109 PAF Age 43. PoW (1)

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Feliks Gawlak 781591 PAF Age 28. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Tadeusz Jan Frankowski 782235 PAF Age 22. Evaded (1)

Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Józef Janik 781970 PAF Age 28. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Taking off at 20:30 hrs from RAF Hemswell in Lincolnshire to attack Kassel, a German City located on the river Fulda in Germany. 306 aircraft taking part: 21 Wellingtons, 5 Stirlings, 3 Lancasters, 1 Halifax, 1 Hampden.

Weather conditions were perfect for flying with a full moon and fine weather over Germany. That of course contributed to the 58 night fighter interceptions taking place, mainly on their return flight.

Above L-R: Sgt. Jan Pytlak, Fl/Lt. Antoni Kiewnarski, Sgt. Feliks Gawlak, Sgt. Tadeusz Frankowski and Fl/Sgt. Józef Janik.

Widespread damage was caused to the city with 144 buildings destroyed, 317 seriously damaged. Casualties on the ground amounted to 43 killed, 187 civilians 64 Germans soldiers injured.

The Allied losses were huge. 33 aircraft were lost either during the operation or during landing on return. 153 aircrew were killed, so taken pow with 1 evading capture.

Wellington Z1245 was intercepted and shot down by Hptm. Siegfried Wandham of 3./NJG1 at 00:30 hrs. This was his 5th claim in the war. Went on to claim a total of 13 before he was killed on the 04th July 1943 after suffering combat damage, crashed on landing at St. Trond. Information from the Kracker Archive on this website.

(1) Fl/Lt. Antoni Władysław Kiewnarski and Sgt. Tadeusz Jan Frankowski were both captured. Sgt. Frankowski was injured but managed to escape from the hospital and evade capture arriving back in England via Gibralter on the 25th October 1942. He was accompanied by Sgt. William Randle the pilot of a 150 Squadron Wellington BJ877 shot down on the 17th April 1942. Surviving the war 'Franks' Frankowski passed away on the 13th February 1996 age 76.Fl/Lt. Kiewnarski was taken PoW and sent to Stalag Luft Sagan (III) - he was one of the '50' murdered by the SS after the Great Escape. His murderers were not known but SS-Gruppenfuhrer Arthur Nebe selected those to be murdered. His conspicuous bravery as a prisoner was recognised by a Mention in Despatches as none of the other relevant decorations then available could be awarded posthumously.

Burial details:

Sgt. Jan Pytlak. Endhoven General Cemetery (Woensel). Plot JJ. Joint Grave 118-119. Born on the 16th January 1918 in Szamotuły, Poland. No further details.

Fl/Lt. Antoni Władysław Kiewnarski MiD. Poznan Old Garrison Cemetery. 9. A. Coll Grave. Born on the 26th January 1899 in Moscow, Russia. No further details.

Sgt. Feliks Gawlak. Endhoven General Cemetery (Woensel). Plot JJ. Joint Grave 118-119. Born on the 14th May 1914 in Kaczanowo, Poland. No further details.

Fl/Sgt. Józef Janik. Endhoven General Cemetery (Woensel). Plot JJ Grave 117. Born on the 06th January 1914 in Brzostek, Dębica, Poland. No further details.

Researched for Martika Gaul, relative of the pilot, Sgt. Jan Pytlak and Louise Janik Thompson, relative of Fl/Sgt. Józef Janik for photographs and information. For further details our thanks to Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', and the following sources.

KTY 24.04.2018

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', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', 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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