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Thread: 304 Sqn Wellington accident RAF Dale 11/12 Aug 1942

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    Default 304 Sqn Wellington accident RAF Dale 11/12 Aug 1942

    I have just received this message from a friend and I am hoping that forum members may be able to confirm some of the facts. My information is that the take off was scheduled for 2100 hours on 11 Aug but delayed owing to strong cross winds on the only serviceable runway. The aircraft finally took off at 0230 on the 12th and met with disaster.

    < We have a Memorial, as you know, in Marloes village church to those aircrew of No 304 (Polish) Squadron who lost their lives in flying activities from RAF Dale. Our local history group is organising, with my help, a ceremony to accept the gift of a propeller recovered from the wreck of Wellington HX384 which crashed into the sea on take off from Dale. As part of this ceremony, which will take place on 12th August, there will be a Memorial Service to the six aircrew who lost their lives in this crash. I have also arranged to have a small Memorial Service to take place at the Polish Military Graves Section of Newark Cemetery on the same day/time as ours.
    Problem - our Memorial states that this aircrew lost their lives on 12th August 1942 yet the CWGC states the date was 11th August and this date is recorded on their grave stones in Newark. The date information came from the late Prof. Edward Zarudzki a former pilot with 304 Squadron whose aircraft was due to take off after HX384. I am told that in a book "Poszly Na Dno" (U - Boats went to bottom) by Waclaw Krol (1978) there is reference to a tragic accident at RAF Dale on 11/12 August 1942 when the whole crew of a Wellington perished during an operational take off. Obviously there is a conflict of dates here. The accident happened during the first attempted night time take off from Dale. Information is that the Squadron Commander had received orders from 19 Group Coastal Command to have aircraft over the Bay of Biscay by dawn the following day. I thought that if one could access, if such exists, a record of that Order it would give the date it was issued on etc. Was it issued on the 10th or the 11th August? Could you please advise how best to proceed here? Have you any ideas/comments? >

    I think it very unlikely that a record of the order exists but, regarding the date of death, the CWGC have sometimes been wrong.
    Dave Smith

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    Although scheduled to take off on 11th August, this was the last aircraft to actually take off and left the ground at 03.05 am on 12th August. It was struck by cross winds and crashed into the bay. This is what I wrote at the time I researched it:

    HX384 (NZ-L) 12th August 1942

    On the way to an anti-submarine sweep, this aircraft was struck by ferocious cross winds and failed to take off. It was blown over the edge of the cliffs by the runway at RAF Dale and the entire crew were killed. They were: F/Lt Ludwik Maslanka, F/O Tadeusz Siuzdak, Sgt Pawel Drozdziok, Sgt Marian Jerzy Modrzewski, Sgt Michal Omieljaszko and Sgt Stanislaw Rudolf Wojtowicz.

    The wreckage was found on 21st September 1991 by divers from the Llantrisant Sub Aqua Club. Subsequently machine guns and propellers were recovered and restored; one of each is now on display at the ATC museum, Abergavenny, South Wales. A similar set was donated to the Polish people in a ceremony aboard the sailing ship Iskra on 15th July 1993, which was attended by members of the Polish Military and War Veterans Association. The vessel was docked at Newcastle upon Tyne for the Tall Ships Race. These relics are now housed in the Military Museum in Warsaw.

    If you let me have a PM with your email address, I will copy you with a photograph of the Llantrisant group with what they recovered and a copy of the Squadron ORB with the date and time recorded as 11th August but at 03.03 after all the others which left on the night of 11th August and clearly meaning on the morning of 12th August.

    Regards
    Neville Bougourd

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    Hello Dave,

    304 Squadron is my speciality and I would really appreciate any copy photographs, reports etc of your ceremony which I would (with your permission) add to my blog - if at all possible, I would also like a picture of the plaque in the church at Marloes. I have spent years researching this Squadron and especially this loss and another that occurred on 20th August 1942 when another 304 crew from Dale crashed into the sea at Trearaddur Bay off Anglesey.

    Many thanks and keep up the good work
    Neville Bougourd

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    Hello Neville. Thanks very much, that's absolutely marvellous information! I'll contact you via PM.
    Dave

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