View Full Version : Lancaster crash near Orléans, 26th July 1944

16-01-2009, 2:04 AM
I am passing on this post from someone in France who is looking for descendants or families of Polish aviators whose Lancaster crashed near Orléans on 26th July 1944. They are hoping to put up a memorial.

The aviators were:

Jan Danieluk, Jan Kabulski, Kazimierz Galat, Albrecht Pagiella, Henryk Czyzyk, Kazimierz Wziatek, Zbigniew Witrylak, from Faldingworth airfield in Lincolnshire.

Kazimierz WZIATEK and Zbigniew WITRYLAK survived the crash and died in Blackpool, apparently.

07-12-2009, 12:01 PM
I am passing on this post from someone in France who is looking for descendants or families of Polish aviators whose Lancaster crashed near Orléans on 26th July 1944. They are hoping to put up a memorial.

The aviators were:

Jan Danieluk, Jan Kabulski, Kazimierz Galat, Albrecht Pagiella, Henryk Czyzyk, Kazimierz Wziatek, Zbigniew Witrylak, from Faldingworth airfield in Lincolnshire.

Kazimierz WZIATEK and Zbigniew WITRYLAK survived the crash and died in Blackpool, apparently.

Hi we love to know of any memorial in France near Orleans dedicated to this flight crew, my name is Mark Wziatek and Kazimierz was my grandfather.

08-12-2009, 10:48 PM
I am ashamed to say that I cannot remember where I originally found this information, and it doesn't seem to be in my notes anywhere. I have googled it and come up with a forum about it, although that was not where I found it. The thread was started in 2007; here are some of the high points:

You can find on this website - www.beskid.com/base/ - the names of the crewmen who died in the crash with the place they were buried, for example, Jan Danieluk: http://www.beskid.com/base/note.php?id=1465target=

The place of death is given as Beaugency, but the crash actually occurred 4 kms away over woods at Lailly en Val. The bodies are buried in the cememtery in Orléans; Jan Danieluk and Albrecht Pagiello had to buried together as the bodies were so badly burned as to be unrecognisable.

The crew were from the Polish Air Force, 300 Squadron, flying a Lancaster PB252, on a bombing mission over Stuttgart when their plane collided with another plane, probably American.

08-12-2009, 11:21 PM
This is a post on the thread about the bombing mission; (I can take no responsibility for its accuracy, not knowing anything about bombers and bombing missions in the Second World War)

Operation Stuttgart
Date 1: 25th July 1944
Date 2: 26th July 1944

Further Information:

Serial range PA964 - PD196 This aircraft was one of 800 Lancasters ordered from A.V.Roe (Chadderton) in April 1943 of which 756 were delivered as 255 Mk.1s, 500 Mk.111s and one Lancastrian between May 1944 and March 1945, mainly from Chadderton with 87 from Yeadon. The Mk.111s had Merlin 38 engines initially installed except for the late production models with Merlin 224 engines.

PB252 was a Mk.111 and was delivered to 300 Sqdn on 4 July 1944. PB252 took part in the following Key Operations: Courtrai 20/21 July 1944; Kiel 23/24 July 1944; Stuttgart 25/26 July 1944-Lost.

When lost this aircraft had a total of 52 hours. Airborne 21h25 25 July 1944 from Faldingworth. Outbound, collided in the air near Orléans with an American aircraft and at 01h00 26 July 1944 was partially abandoned.

F/S Witrylak quickly made contact with the local Maquis, and he arrived back in England 20 August 1944. Those killed are buried in Orleans Main Cemetery. The main Cemetery at Orleans contains seventy-four Air Force graves, including the five Polish airmen listed here. At least sixty were killed in the service of Bomber Command. Of the remainder, twelve were members of 570 Sqdn; one came from 247 Sqdn; while P/O M.A.Ap Rhys Price was non-aircrew, losing his life 3 Jun 1940.

F/S J.Danieluk PAF KIA; Sgt J.Kabulski PAF KIA; F/O K.Galat PAF KIA; F/S F.Witrylak PAF Escaped; F/S A.Pagiello PAF KIA; W/O K.Wziatek PAF Escaped; Sgt H.t.Czyzyk PAF KIA

Matriculation, code radio BH-M

Date: 25/26 July 1944 Type Lancaster Serial No PB252

Service History: 300 Sqn del'd 4-7-44 BH-M

Classification: Collided

Night/Day Raid: Night

Target/Tasking: Stuttgart

Crew Names: F/Sgt. J. Danieluk, PAF +; Sgt. J. Kabulski, PAF +; F/O K. Galat, PAF +; F/Sgt. F. Witrylak, PAF esc; F/Sgt. A. Pagiello, PAF +; W/O K. Wziatek, PAF esc; Sgt. H.T. Czyzyk, PAF +

08-12-2009, 11:48 PM
The memorial ceremony for the airmen who died in the crash of the Lancaster PB252 was held on May 15th, 16th and 17th this year in the village where the crash happened.

May 15th: slide show of the crash, followed by a concert with a Polish pianist; a small exhibition with photos of the airmen, etc., with the participation of a Polish association which exhibited war objects and models in airman's dress. Numerous dignitaries were present, including the ambassador of Poland.

May 16th: the official ceremony, when the memorial was unveiled, in the presence of numerous VIPs including the vice-President of the Polish Senate, Polish officers and French officers.

May 17th: the religious ceremony, celebrated by the Bishop of Warsaw.

The presence of some of the family of Albrecht Pagiello made the ceremonies more moving. Great homage was paid to the soldiers, and the survivors were much remembered.

09-12-2009, 12:41 AM
I will do my best to find where I originally came across the information I put on this thread, but here are some links which might be useful to you in the meantime:


The Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum in London: http://www.sikorskimuseum.co.uk/

09-12-2009, 1:38 AM
I have found the original thread about the Lancaster crash which is on a French forum and was first posted in January 2006.

I have put a message on it, but the forum does not work anything like as well as B-G, and you have to check your threads for answers rather than trusting the forum to send you a message to say that someone has posted on it. (Last time I asked to be kept up to date with postings, I received a message in November about a post in March ... :eek: )

If you read French and want the link, please ask.

24-01-2010, 4:04 PM
my name is Mark Wziatek and Kazimierz was my grandfather.

I have had more news from the person who did all the research on the Lancaster and the crash in which your grandfather was involved. He would love to hear from you (I have sent you a PM).

There are still people in the village of Lailly en Val who remember your grandfather as he stayed there for several days.

15-02-2010, 12:45 PM
That sounds fantastic thank you I will have to brush up on my French, what a great incentive. We are going to France in August and will be looking at visiting village and site, thanks Mark

16-03-2012, 10:41 AM
Hi Mark,
my father baled out with your grandfather. I met him (your grandfather)and was introduced by my father as "meet an old friend who once threw me out of a plane". He went on to say that it was only your grandfather's strong-arm tactics that had saved his life as - like the rest of the crew - he was not keen to jump in pitch dark to what they thought was certain death: they reckoned that with a bit of luck they'd make it to the channel. Your grandfather went on to take our photo at the Katyn memorial in West London (the unveiling of which was the reason for our presence. My father died in 1983 in Blackpool and is buried in the Polish cemetry there ("We Polish airmen give our lives to God, our bodies to the English soil, but our hearts belong to Poland").
The people putting up the memorial invited my brother Christopher and myself to join them, but family issues and my having recently had a heart attack prevented us from attending. It is on the bucket list.
Mark Witrylak

300 Squadron
08-04-2012, 5:24 PM
Hi all,

To anyone who reads this post. Time is ticking and memories fade.

I have a vested Interest in this story as my grandad was Sgt Wziatek of the Polish air force, 300 Squadron.

I remember my grandad with great fondness. As a result of the war he had lost part of his calf muscle in his leg. Now there are two stories relating to how this injury occurred. The first being that when he bailed out of the Lancaster bomber and when he was parachuting to safety he was shot by German ground troops. The second version was that the landing had resulted in his injury, less romantic but still harrowing for such a young pilot.

This is where the people who remembered him from the village of Lailly En Val could have possibly shed some light on his injury.

If anyone wants anymore information or i can help fill in any of the blanks then drop me an email.

Take care everyone.

300 Squadron
08-04-2012, 6:53 PM
Oops in my haste I managed to merge two stories.

Indeed my grandad was shot in the leg whilst parachuting to safety. My confusion was that he actually baled out on two separate occasions. Once above the English Channel and the other over the French village (as above). The funny thing is that it always reminded me of the scene from the film "the Longest Day" whereby the guy parachuting gets shot whilst hanging from the church Steeple.

How lucky was he to to jump twice in active service.

Mark Wziatek
01-06-2014, 8:37 PM
Hi we have just been out to the memorial in France to lay flowers on behalf of Kazimierz for his crew members, will be returning later in year hopefully to crash site as well. Stephanie, Ralph and myself visited the site on 25th May this year.

02-06-2014, 9:31 AM
Hi we love to know of any memorial in France near Orleans dedicated to this flight crew, my name is Mark Wziatek and Kazimierz was my grandfather.

Hi Mark,
my name is Mark Witrylak and it was my FATHER who survived with your grandfather. I met your father at the opening of the Katyn memorial when I was a lot younger (1976 according to Wikipedia, tho I thought it was around 1982). Your grandfather - who according to my father was a photographer - took our picture, which I have to this day.
Again, according to my father, your garndfather came from the same town as my father (a place called Sambor, now in the Ukraine), and had promised my father's mother that he would 'keep an eye' so as to look after my father: as a consequence, when the crew of the Lancaster decided that they would sit it out and make it to the channel, your grandfather "pushed/threw my father from the plane". Obviously, this was my father exagerating, more likely your grandfather harassed him to jump, as at that stage of the war, jumping from a plane with a parachute on was seen as being as likely to save you as would be jumping from the plane carrying a lead weight. Needless to say, he suggested that it was through the efforts of your Grandfather that I should have been there at all.
Anyway, I have looked out the details of the people who contacted me regarding the memorial in France, the lady's name is *********************, and she may in fact contact you directly.
Her colleague in France (Jacques) did invite my brother and I over to the opening of the memorial there, but I am afraid that I was recovering from illness and my brother wouldn't have gone by himself (we keep saying that we will go, but the time isn't right yet).
Anyway, good luck with getting info on the memorial. Here is copy (exact, a couple of things I don't quite understand) of the original Email sent to me by*******:
I'm the original poster of the thread. I hope that 300 Squadron is
aroofer (or maybe a sibling?) back again as I've been meaning to write
to him, also a Mark, (snail mail) all year, but have had family problems
to sort out.

The person who posted the message in France is called Jacques Niveau,
and he is hoping to find ... anything about Kazimierz WZIATEK and what
happened to him in Lailly en Val, where he was apparently hidden by
various people. He wonders if Kazimierz left any written notes about
what happened, but his greatest desire, I believe, is to have a
photograph of him. He was writing a new book about the village and
putting together a new slide show when we last communicated which, I am
ashamed to say, was at the end of 2010.

Perhaps Mark (Witrylak), you know of Jacques? He seems to be one of the
movers behind the memorial and certainly one who has done an awful lot
of research into what happened. I'm sorry that you weren't able to go to
the ceremony and hope that you are fully recovered from your heart

Jacques only speaks French; I speak both, being English married to a
Frenchman. If you ever do go to Lailly, Jacques mentioned a care home
"château de Fonpertuis" where there are Polish speakers. If you speak
French, I can give you his email address and you can contact him

If you have questions for Jacques, I will pass them on. If you have
stories which have been passed down, memorablia which can be
photographed, pictures of your dad and grandad, etc, which you would be
willing to share, I will pass them on to Jacques.

The tombstone memorial you qoted, Mark, from your father's grave, was
beautiful - short, but very moving.

With best wishes to both of you,

02-06-2014, 9:44 AM
Whoops, looks like I responded to an old posting: however, seeing your post reminds me that it is time that I pulled out my finger and went to Lailly-en-Val to visit the memorial - it will have to benext year now as my brother (who lives on Victoria Road east in Thornton-Cleveleys) is undergoing treated for illness and will be three months at least before he can even make plans for travel.
Best Regards,

09-06-2014, 1:31 PM
This is an old posting in a way, having been started in 2009, but it is ongoing, as the original poster of the message on the French genealogical site - Jacques Niveau, the mover and shaker behind the memorial and the commemoration - is still hoping for information about the two survivors of the crash. He has written one book about it, I believe, and created a museum, but notably lacks photographs of Kazimierz and Zbigniew.

Mark from Thornton-Cleveleys: if you are returning to Lailly en Val later this year, I'm sure that Jacques would be really pleased to meet you and talk to you.

Markwit: We did exchange emails some time ago. What exactly didn't you understand in my email? If it concerned 'aroofer', he posted on this thread, saying that his name was "Mark Wziatek and Kazimierz was my grandfather" #2. (you all seem to be called Mark! :helpsmilie: ) I contacted him, but he never replied, and, when I wrote the email to you and 300Squadron, I was hoping that he had signed up again under a different username.

09-06-2014, 2:14 PM
A link to photos of the memorial to the Polish aviators killed in the crash of 26th July 1944: