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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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Leon Trzebiatowski
10 A.G.C. Wellington X LP981 W/O. Trzebiatowski Another training loss

Operation: Training

Date: 13th April 1945 (Friday)

Time: 10.45 hrs.

Unit: No.10. AGS (Air Gunnery School)

Type: Wellington X

Serial: LP981

Code: - ?

Base: RAF Walney, Barrow, Lancashire

Location: Irish Sea, Fleetwood, Lancashire

Pilot: W/O. Leon Trzebiatowski VM. V(Gold) 782840 PAF Age 25. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr (Inst): W/O. Harold Harris 1314386 RAFVR Age 24. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Michael Francis Brennan 1824294 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Norman Richard Drake 1594311 RAFVR Age 19. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Ronald Walker McMillan 2209933 RAFVR Age 20. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Tom James Edwin Bedell RAFVR Age 20. Seriously injured, survived.

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Robert Allan Bembridge 2221770 RAFVR Age 19. Seriously injured, survived.


During a low level turn the aircraft port wing struck the sea. The Wellington crashed about 250 yards from the shore at Fleetwood.

Report from the RNLI:

In the morning of April 13th at Fleetwood, Lancashire, a Wellington bomber crashed in the sea a mile northwest of the life-boat station. The southerly breeze was light, the sea calm.

Left the Fleetwood Lifeboat, Ann Letitia Russell

As the coxswain and crew of the life-boat were not within easy reach, the motor-mechanic, to save time, gathered a scratch crew consisting of an able seaman of the Royal Naval Reserve, two corporals of the United States Army, and a civilian visitor, and the life-boat was launched at 11.10.

Above left: Pilot W/O. Trzebiatowski and right Sgt. Bembridge (see acknowledgments below)

Wellington LP981 pictured at the very low tide at Fleetwood. (courtesy Blackpool Evening Gazette)

Sgt Bedell suffered a broken arm, compound fracture of the femur, spinal injury and various other injuries including damage to his eye which despite surgery he lost. Sgt. Bembridge was not so badly hurt with crushed ribs, facial cuts and concussion. Both returned to service after hospital treatment.

Burial details:

W/O. Leon Trzebiatowski. V.M. V(Gold) Barrow-In-Furness Cemetery. Sec Y. Row A. Grave 2620. Born October 19th 1919 in Kościerzyna, Poland

W/O. Harold Harris.Varteg (Wesley) Methodist Chapel. Son of Frederick and Gertrude Harris husband of Dorothy Harris, of Talywain, Wales.

Sgt. Michael Francis Brennan. Heworth (St. Mary) Church. Old Yard. Plot E. Son of Patrick and Ann Brennan, of Felling, Gateshead, England.

Sgt. Norman Richard Drake. Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (West Road) Crematorium. Panel 3. Son of William and Gwendoline May Drake, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, England.

Sgt. Ronald Walker McMillan. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 276. Son of Thomas Henry and Isabella Broom McMillan, of Liverpool, England.

Researched and dedicated to relatives of the crew. With information from Ross Mcneil, Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - "Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945", The family of Sgt. Robert Bembridge, RNLI, Commonwealth War Graves Commission,

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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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