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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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302 Squadron Crest
18.10.1940 No. 302 Squadron Hurricane I P3872 WX-R P/O. Stefan Wapniarek

Operation: Scramble/interception

Date: 18th October 1940 (Friday)

Unit: No. 302 Squadron (Polish)

Type: Hurricane I

Serial: P3872

Code: WX-R

Base: RAF Northolt, Middlesex.

Location: Nutwood Farm, Chobham

Pilot: P/O. Stefan Wapniarek P-1291 PAF Age 25. Killed


Took off from Northolt in bad weather conditions to intercept German bombers and fighter escort.

After combat with Bf109’s and on return flight to RAF Northolt the aircraft ran out of fuel, crashing at Nutwood Farm, Cobham at 16.05 hrs - killing the pilot.

He had earlier been credited with a Ju88 east of London, after a scramble at 16.50 hrs on the 18th September 1940. During that day the squadron were credited with 5 x Ju88’s 2 x Do17, 2 x Do215 destroyed with 5 others ‘probable’, 1 other damaged.

A bad day for 302 Squadron as they lost another three pilots:

F/O. P-0250 Jan Borowski flying P3930 WX-X. Crashed at Kemton Park Racecourse.
F/O. 41375 Peter Carter flying P3931 WX-V. Crashed at Kemton Park Racecourse.
P/O. P-1292 Aleksy Žukowski flying V6571 WX-Q crashing at Harp Farm, Boxley - thought to have ran out of fuel.
P/O. 76820 Bernas Bronisław flying P2918 WX-Y escaping serious injury during a crash landing - no further details on this. He survived the war settling in England. Died 3rd September 1980. Buried in Folkestone, Kent.

Above and left: Northwood Cemetery as visited by Aircrew Remembered in 2013. Any relative or friend that would like a higher resolution photo of these, please dont hesitate to contact us.

Burial details:

P/O. Stefan Wapniarek. Northwood Cemetery. Grave H268. Born 23rd February 1916 in Poznan, Poland. Next of kin details not available - can you assist?

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with 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', Krzystka List.


Day 101 of Battle of Britain: Fighter Command serviceable aircraft as at 09:00 hrs

Blenheims - 43. Spitfires - 218. Hurricanes - 408. Defiant -16. Gladiator - 7.

Sporadic attacks on London, Kent and South East coast. Over 40 in total for this day.

Weather: Fog in Straits of Dover and Thames Estuary. Low cloud. Visibility poor.

Patrol - Maidstone:

Hurricane P3872 WX-R P/O. Stefan Wapniarek P-1291 VM. Up at 15:05hrs — crashed 16:05hrs.
Hurricane P3923 WX-U Fl/Lt. Franciszek Jastrzębski P-1296. (note). Up at 15:05hrs — down 15:45hrs.
Hurricane V6371 WX-Q P/O. Aleksiej Zukowski P-1292. Up at 15:05hrs — crashed 16:05hrs.
Hurricane P3930 WX-X F/O. Jan Borowski P-0250 VM. Up at 15:05hrs — crashed 16:05hrs.
Hurricane P3931 WX-V F/O. Peter Edward George Carter 41375. Up at 15:05hrs — crashed 16:05hrs.
Hurricane P2918 WX-Y P/O. Bronisław Bernaś 76820 (note). Up at 15:05hrs — force landed 16:25hrs.

Scramble - patrol over Maidstone at 30.000ft.

Hurricane V6744 WX-C P/O. Włodzimierz Eugeniusz Karwowski P-1284 (note). Up at 15:10hrs — down 17:05hrs.
Hurricane V6865 (1) WX-L Fl/Lt. James A. Thomson RAFVR. Up at 15:10hrs — down 17:05hrs.
Hurricane P3538 (2) WX-J Sq/Ldr. Mieczysław Mümler P-1288 VM. CBE. DFC. (note). Up at 15:10hrs — down 17:05hrs.
Hurricane P3085 (3) WX-A F/O. Julian Kowalski P-1400 VM. DFC. (note). Up at 15:10hrs — down 17:00hrs.
Hurricane V6860 (4) WX-B Fl/Lt. Antoni Wczelik P-1419 (note). Up at 15:10hrs — down 17:05hrs.
Hurricane P3205 WX-E Sgt. Eugeniusz Jan Adam Nowakiewicz P-1913/793583 VM. (note). Up at 15:10hrs — down 17:10hrs.
Hurricane P3085 WX-A F/O. Julian Kowalski P-1400 VM. DFC. (note). Up at 17:30hrs — down 18:00hrs.

(1) On 17th January 1942 Hurricane V6865 whilst with 56 OTU collided with Stirling W7467 from 7 squadron. Hurricane pilot, 19 year old P/O. Derek Malcolm Browne 107991 RAFVR from Bournemouth, Hampshire, killed. Stirling pilot, 31 year old P/O. Ronald Wilkins Taylor DFM AUS/402263 RAAF of Strathfield NSW, Australia killed with all his 7 other crew.

(2) Hurricane P3538 was lost on the 8th November 1940 whilst with 302 Squadron. Pilot Sgt. Wilhelm Kosarz 780828 PAF killed.

(3) Hurricane P3085 force landed on 9th November 1940 whilst with 27 MU - pilot ok.

(4) Hurricane V6860 is thought to have been the aircraft that crashed whilst with 59 OTU. Pilot 24 year old Sgt. George Robert Dawson 1393903 RAFVR from San Paulo, Brazil killed when the aircraft flew into the ground at Kelso, Roxburghshire, Scotland.

Notes: P/O. Włodzimierz Eugeniusz Karwowski. Born 13th September 1912 Kielce, Poland. Died 21st May 1978 in Auckland New Zealand. Retired as Sq/Ldr. - Sq/Ldr. Mieczysław Mümler. Born 10th December 1899 Lwów Poland. Died 05th September 1985 London, retired as W/Cdr. - F/O. Julian Kowalski. Born 10th July 1910. Died 07th December 1986 Ipswich, Suffolk, England. Retired as W/Cdr. - Fl/Lt. Antoni Wczelik. Born 04th October 1910 Kalinowszczyzna, Poland. Killed 14th April 1942. Sq/Ldr. - 306 Squadron. - Sgt. Eugeniusz Jan Adam Nowakiewicz. PoW 23rd July 1942. Born 02nd January 1919 Jaslo, Poland. Died 05th January 1998 Bury, Lancashire, England. Retired as Fl/Lt. - Fl/Lt. Franciszek Jastrzębski. Born 10th November 1905 Zglechów, Poland. - killed 25th October 1940. - P/O. Bronisław Bernaś. Born 06th August 906 Lwów, Poland Died 3rd September 1980, Folkestone, Kent England.

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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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