Loss of Wellington W5557 27th September 1941

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by archivist, Apr 2, 2018.

  1. archivist

    archivist Well-Known Member

    Can anyone please help with information on Wellington W5557 which crashed near RAF Lindholme at about 01.30 am on the morning of 27th September 1941. Two of the crew were badly injured, one died next day in Doncaster Infirmary and the other three were killed outright. All four of the dead were buried in Newark Cemetery but there are persistent stories that some of the dead were not recovered until 1970 and 1989 when the peat bog was drained. All records I have seen just give the date of death and place of burial with no mention of years of delay in recovering the bodies. I presume the death certificates will just give the date of death as the date of the crash. Is there any practical way of establishing the dates of burial.
     
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

  3. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    27 Sep. Vickers Wellington no. W5557(SM-G) While returning from bombing Cologne, the a/c crash in adverse weather conditions at Hatfield Moor, killing three civilians. Sgt Leyche, Sgt Wasilenko and Sgt Buszko were killed, while seriously wounded were Sgt Korczyk (later died in hospital), P/O Barzdo and Sgt Z. Pisarek.
    No 305 Polish Sqdn losses
     
  4. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Kapral LEYCHE, JERZY SLAWOMIR
    Service Number P/781385

    Died 27/09/1941

    Aged 23

    305 Sqdn.
    Polish Air Force

    Kapral WASILENKO, WIKTOR
    Service Number P/781021

    Died 27/09/1941

    Aged 18

    305 Sqdn.
    Polish Air Force

    Sierzant BUSZKO, EUGENIUSZ
    Service Number P/780447

    Died 27/09/1941

    Aged 27

    305 Sqdn.
    Polish Air Force

    Kapral KORCZYK, TADEUSZ
    Service Number P/780686

    Died 28/09/1941

    Aged 27

    305 Sqdn.
    Polish Air Force
     
  5. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

  6. archivist

    archivist Well-Known Member

    This report is one of the causes of the problem. It states that three civilians were killed - at 1.30 in the morning? In the middle of a peat bog? Other reports place it on the riverside but there is no river there. Some state that it hit a house but there are no houses there. The site was right in the cutting area of the peat. For years afterwards the peat cutters left the impact point untouched and it now stands like an island in the bog with nothing but a marker for the dead and a pile of debris from the plane. The stories are all totally inconsistent. Even the Aircrew Remembered site data base lists one of the dead and one of the injured with no mention of the other four. It is a complete mystery.
     
  7. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    doesnt look like any civilians died in that area

    have you checked local news papers

    they keep saying reports but where are the reports
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018
  8. archivist

    archivist Well-Known Member

    I made a mistake in my last comment, the two who were mentioned were the two who were injured. There is no mention of the aircraft or those who died. The Yorkshire site reports the basic facts and other websites, forums and others who mention it at all mention the house, the river and the dead civilians There are individuals who have contacted me saying that some bodies were recovered in 1970 and 1989 but I can find none of this. I have contacted the cemetery direct but I will have to wait until after the Easter holiday for any chance of a reply
     
  9. noggin1969

    noggin1969 Well-Known Member

    Last war related burials at Newark Cemetery CWGC Polish section 11 November 1944 Halifax JN967 1662 HCU RAF Blyton. 8 minutes after take-off, after climbing to 3,000 feet, the bomber crashed in flames. It was ascertained that one of the starboard engines had caught fire and, it is thought, the Graviner system was operated before the propeller had been fully feathered. JN987 crashed in marsh land at East Ferry, 8 miles SW of Scunthorpe, Lincs.. Two bodies were found in 1944 and buried at Newark in mid-November, it was believed they baled out but their parachutes failed to open. The other five bodies were found with the wreckage in 1962 when the area was drained during major construction works and buried at Newark in the autumn of that year. That was the last war time burial at cemetery. Of the five men buried in 1962, four were Roman Catholics and one was Jewish, there was a joint ceremony with a priest and a rabbi.
    P/O Michal Wisniewski ML - Born 1910 Luslawice Poland.
    Sgt Franciszek Piwoda ML - Born 1916 Ostrow Poland , both buried 1944.
    Sgt Leszek Milewski 2xML - Born 1922 Kielce Poland.
    Sgt Stanislaw Babiacki ML - Born 1924 Lodz Poland.
    Sgt Jan Rzetelny ML - Born 1920 Sandomierz Poland.
    Sgt Stefan Manek 2xML - Born 1922 Warszawa Poland.
    Sgt Mieczyslaw Kozlowski ML - Born 1910 Miastkowo. All buried Newark cemetery 1962.

    Details on W5557 26/27 September 1941 Wellington W5557 305 Sqn RAF Lindholme. Take off 19.43 to bomb Koln , crashed on return on Hatfield Moor at 01.35 in poor visability.
    Sgt Eugeniusz Buszko 3xKW ML - Born 1914 Zalasocze Poland , killed
    Sgt Jerzy Leyche 2xKW ML - Born 1918 Kutno Poland , injured , died some hours later Sgt Wiktor Wasilenko KW ML - Born 1922 Chopinow Poland, injured died some hours later
    Sgt Tadeusz Korczyk KW ML - Born 1914 Lesko Poland, injured died the following day at Doncaster Royal Infirmary. All buried Newark Cemetery
    P/O Barzdo - injured
    Sgt Pisarek - injured.

    W5557 is believed to have struck a farm house killing 3 civilians; although no record or local burials can be found to prove this. W5557 was also believed to be the aircraft referred to in the "Lindholme Willy" hauntings. The ghost of a WW2 airman was said to haunt the site asking people if the crew had returned. These haunting are said to have stopped after a wreck bomber a crew were dug up in 70's. However all the crew of W5557 were buried at Newark soon after the crash.

    The folklore A ghost nick-named "Lindholme Willy", "Billy Lindholme" or "Pete the Pole" has reputed to have been seen a number of time on Lindholme airfield and in cells of the prison which now occupy the site. He is believed to have been the ghost of one of the crew killed in the accident to W5557. In addition to this story is that the body of a Polish airman was found in the area on 23rd July 1987 during peat cutting by a local farmer, various stories exist as to whether he was identified or not, but he was buried at Newark ( no he wasn't ) and the ghost stories have apparently ceased since then. There are no "Unknown" Polish graves in the large Polish plot in Newark Cemetery.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
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  10. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Re member

    Checking the Ancestry database - All UK, WWII Civilian Deaths, 1939-1945 - there no civilain deaths for either the 26 or 27th Sept 1941 in the Lindholme area.

    For the 26th there are 2 deaths in Liverpool, 1 in Holborn, 1 in Southampton, and 1 in Ilford
    For the 27th there are only 2 recorded deaths, 1 in Gloucestershire and 1 in an air crash at sea

    TD
     
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  11. archivist

    archivist Well-Known Member

    noggin1969, thank you for the information about the two air crashes. Your comment on W5557 allegedly killing three civilians is also completely correct and this is because the badly researched stories of Lindholme Willie have become intertwined with it. Almost three years after W5557 came down, a Halifax crashed in the area. This plane did hit a house, killing 2 civilians and an airman who happened to be cycling past.

    However, the story of an airman found in the bog in July 1987 is true. His body was reburied on 11th November 1987 (almost four months after being found) in Finningley church yard in a grave marked only "Known to God" Burial reference no 200 in the church records with RAF pencilled beside it. This is the man I am really interested in. I am trying to identify him so that he can have a proper headstone bearing his name and other details.

    I have analysed the list of all the Polish airmen killed and missing from their service at Lindholme and I have eliminated all but six so I feel like I am getting closer. I have also found living family for two of the six and I am working on the other 4 in case there is a need for a DNA comparison.
     
  12. archivist

    archivist Well-Known Member

    Hello TD,

    You are quite right! These three deaths (2 civilians and an airman - not 3 civilians) were in another crash in the area almost exactly 3 years later! The myths surrounding the ghost story have been nicely entangled to make sure the truth doesn't spoil a good story!
     
  13. noggin1969

    noggin1969 Well-Known Member

    Regards W5557 burials , I managed to check the burial logs at Newark cemetery today. The crew killed 27/9/41 all buried at Newark 30/9/41 coffins 4.
     
  14. noggin1969

    noggin1969 Well-Known Member

    Archivist , I have the burial dates for those PAF that came down at sea and were recovered for burial at Newark cemetery. Also for Jozef Jeka and Jan Izycki repatriation and burial from Indonesia in 1958.
     
  15. archivist

    archivist Well-Known Member

    Thank you noggin1969, Your first post proves that the stories (one of them quite ridiculous) of unburied members of this crew are totally wrong. Since there was a crew of six, two survivors and 4 burials, the stories of burials of this crew in the 1970s and 1980s are clearly wrong.

    I would love details of the repatriations and burials of the ex-PAF men from Indonesia
     
  16. noggin1969

    noggin1969 Well-Known Member

    Jozef Jeka was born at Tupadly, Poland on 6th April 1917. In 1937 he joined the Polish Air Force as a mechanic, qualifying in April 1938. In June that year he commenced pilot training at Torun. In November he was posted to 141 Squadron of the 4th Aviation Regiment, operating the PZL P11c, and flew operationally after the German attack in September 1939.
    Escaping like many Polish airmen to Romania, where he was interned, Jeka moved on through Yugoslavia and Greece to France. He landed at Marseille on 23rd October and applied to join l'Armee de l'Air. He was sent to the HQ of the Polish contingent at Lyon. By February 1940 he had yet to fly and so made his way to England, leaving France on the 15th.He arrived in the Czech depot at Eastchurch, was processed into the RAF as a Sergeant and posted to the Czech training school in Blackpool. On 15th July he was sent to 15 EFTS Carlisle, moving on 1st August to 6 OTU Sutton Bridge to convert to Hurricanes.
    He then joined 238 Squadron at St. Eval on 2nd September.
    Jeka destroyed a Me110 and damaged an unidentified enemy aircraft on 15th September, destroyed two He111's on the 26th, shared in the destruction of a Me110 on the 27th, damaged a Me110 on the 30th and destroyed a Ju88 on 7th October.
    Jeka was shot down by Me109's over Bournemouth on 5th November and baled out over Wimborne. His Hurricane, V7535, crashed at East Farm, Tarrant Monkton. He was awarded the KW and two Bars (gazetted 1st February 1941).
    On 25th April 1941 he joined 306 Squadron at Northolt. On 17th June he claimed a Me109 destroyed, on the 27th damaged another and on 16th August shot one down. Jeka was awarded the VM (5th Class) (gazetted 10th September 1941).
    Commissioned in November 1941, he went to 58 OTU Grangemouth on 2nd December as an instructor.
    He was awarded the DFM (gazetted 19th February 1942).
    Jeka rejoined 306 Squadron on 29th May 1942 and served with them until 24th May 1943, when he was awarded a third Bar to the KW and posted to 308 Squadron at Church Fenton. In August 1943 Jeka went to 316 Squadron at Northolt. On the 19th he shot down a Fw190 and damaged another. Tour-expired in December 1943, he was posted to 18 Armament Practice Camp and was there until 30th March 1944, when he rejoined 308 Squadron. On a Rhubarb on 21st May 1944 Jeka's Spitfire IX ML254 was hit by flak and he had to bale out. Coming down near Buchy, NE of Rouen, Jeka was able to evade capture and make contact with the Resistance. With their help he was returned to the Allied lines and rejoined his squadron on 11th September 1944.
    In November 1944 Jeka moved to 306 Squadron at Andrews Field, Essex as a Flight Commander. He was given command of the squadron on 25th May 1945. In June he was awarded the Silver Cross of Merit, with Swords (gazetted 15th June 1945). He relinquished command of the squadron in May 1946 and was posted to 5 PRU at Coltishall. This posting ended on 21st January 1947 when he transferred to the Polish Air Force, with which he served until 31st December 1949.
    From 1950 onwards Jika was involved in some capacity with the Allied intelligence services, mostly the CIA. He was one of a number of airmen in training to perform clandestine operations over Eastern Europe, their non-US nationality would deflect attention should things go wrong. He was heavily involved in a project to steal a MiG-15, this was abandoned when a Polish pilot defected with one in March 1953.
    By 1958 Jeka was engaged in an operation to support Indonesian rebels fighting the regime of President Sukarno. On 13th April 1958 Jika was piloting a B-26 from the CIA HQ at Mapanget airfield, Manado. One engine failed on takeoff and the aircraft stalled into the ground, Jika and two other crew being killed.
    His body was recovered and he is buried in the Polish section of Newark-on-Trent cemetery. This grave is to the West of the CWGC plot near to the Ransome & Marles WW2 burials.

    The other Polish national killed was John Izycki ( Jan Piotr Izycki VM V kl., 3xKW, 2xML, ODRK Ex 305 Sqn ) He was an observer, born on 28th August 1913. At some point he transferred to 138 Squadron at RAF Tempsford and was shot down in Halifax BB340 (NF-D) during a multiple operation special mission on 13th April 1943. The mission was Operations Director 22, Reporter and Surgeon, all of which failed as the aircraft was hit by flak on the outbound journey and crash landed near Douvres-la-Delivrande, Calvados, France (12 Kilometres north north west of Caen). Op Director 22 , agent "Reporter" Clement Marc Jumeau imprisoned in a civilian jail in Frankfurt, and while there he contracted TB. However, as a sick man he was forced to walk to the notorious military prison of Fort Zinna at Torgau, Germany’s largest and most modern prison. He died later on 26th March 1944 at the military prison hospital in Berlin-Buch at the age of 29 years old. Agent "Surgeon" Lee Graham (Louis Pippin) POW survived the war. Durham Light Infantry - Emergency Commission as 2/Lt 22/2/1941, Posted 11th Bn DLI, Iceland, Special Employment 6/4/1942 and struck off strength of 11th Bn DLI, SoE Mission to France 1943, Prisoner of War, Relinquished Commission on the grounds of disability 9/7/1946 as Hon Captain (date subsequently amended to 5/8/1946).Died 3/8/90. Other crew 1 KIA , 4 POW , 3 evaded via Gibraltar.
    Jan Piotr Izycki was made a prisoner of war ( POW No 42737 ) but held in concentration camps at Sachsenhausen, Flossenburg and Dachau before going to a proper POW Camp. During this time he was subjected to brutal interrogation by the Gestapo.
    He survived the war and reported to have died in 1958 in Denmark. He was awarded the Order of Virtuti Militari. He is buried in the civilian section of Newark upon Trent Cemetery. Also killed was the Minahasan ( The Minahasans are an ethnic group located in the North Sulawesi province of Indonesia )R/O.

    Jozef Jeka and Jan ( John ) Izycki were buried at Newark cemetery 26 April 1958. Awaiting details on who paid for the grave plots.

    Possible B-26s, formerly TB-26Bs, painted overall black:
    - B-26B 44-34268, delivered 12 Apr 1958, fate unknown


    The following aircraft, formerly RB-26C or WB-26C, left in “bare metal” overall, but had a black anti-glare panel in front of the cockpit:
    - B-26B 44-34690, delivered 12 Apr 1958, fate unknown
     
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  17. noggin1969

    noggin1969 Well-Known Member

  18. noggin1969

    noggin1969 Well-Known Member

  19. archivist

    archivist Well-Known Member

    Thank you noggin1969

    This is fascinating reading
     

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