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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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Bomber Command Crest
21.10.1943 No 18 OTU Wellington III BK471 Sgt. M. Sołecki

Operation: Training

Date: 21st October 1943 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 18 OTU (Operational Training Unit)

Type: Wellington III

Serial: BK471

Code: ?

Base: RAF Bircotes

Location: 2 miles North Airfield, Bircotes

Pilot: Sgt. Mieczysław Sołecki 793230 PAF Age 34. Killed

Pilot (Obs): Fl/Lt. Stefan Karol Alberti P-0031 PAF Age 36. Killed (1)

Nav: Sgt. Jerzy Sawicki 793799 PAF Age 30. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Fl/Sgt. Roman Kot 780470 PAF Age 24. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Zbigniew Antoni Marynowski 703890 PAF Injured - survived

We welcome any further information relatives are able to provide to add to this page of remembrance.


Yet another training tragedy, thousands of aircrew from all nationalities lost their lives preparing to join squadrons. (some 13 on this day - just within the Bomber Command OTUs)

Taking off from RAF Bircotes in Nottinghamshire at 1917 hrs for an evening navigational training exercise. Shortly after leaving the pilot, Sgt. Sołecki informed base that they had a problem with one of the engines and requested to return and land.

At 19:57 hrs. with the situation having worsened, the aircraft came down in some trees, 2 miles North of the airfield, bursting into flames.

Subsequent inspection established that a taper pin had sheared within one of the engines causing the catastrophic failure.

(1) Fl/Lt. Stefan Karol Alberti escaped serious injury during the German invasion of Poland on the 3rd September 1939. Flying with No. 21 (1) EB Eskadra Bombowa Lekka on a PZL-23B Karas D1/K98 when they were shot down.

Newark-Upon-Trent Cemetery in Nottinghamshire, where some 397 Polish aircrew rest today.

Burial details:

Sgt. Mieczysław Sołecki. Newark Cemetery. Grave 319A. Born 22nd October 1909 in Dabrowa Górnicza, Poland.

Fl/Lt. Stefan Karol Alberti. Newark Cemetery. Grave 319A. Born 23rd October 1907 in Wadowice, Poland.

Sgt. Jerzy Sawicki. Newark Cemetery. Grave 319A. Born 28th December 1913 in Dżubga Kaukazus, Poland.

Fl/Sgt. Roman Kot. Newark Cemetery. Grave 319A. Born 30th September 1919 in Szczebrzeszyn, Poland.

For further details our thanks to the following, Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945’. Aircrew Remembered archives.

KTY Map updated 11.09.2018

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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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If you would like to comment on this page, please do so via our Helpdesk. Use the Submit a Ticket option to send your comments. After review, our Editors will publish your comment below with your first name, but not your email address.

A word from the Editor: your contribution is important. We welcome your comments and information. Thanks in advance.

SG. Poland February 2015

What the emotion to see that those who left such a long time ago have the chance to survive in the memory of the generations that succeeded....I would like to thank you for my Mom, Stefan Karol's daughter, who lives in Poland and is the 77 years old lady now, to whom we transferred your page.

She was particularly touched as she can barely remember her father who left for war when she was only 3 years old, and who, obviously, never came back again...

Your emails and your attention for my grandfather were such an extraordinary pleasure for me and I thank you again and again !!

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning we will remember them. - Laurence Binyon
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