Discussions on all aspects of the Second World War
posted by Tomcann at 10:27 pm
would have liked more detail in the original article. Was the plane buried by the partisans or was it just as a result of the crash. etc. Any ideas Tom.
Apparently the Halifax bomber was shot down delivering munitions to the Warsaw Ghetto at the time when the Russians were standing off and allowing the Nazi's to eliminate the Jewish People in the City - the plane was then buried whole for some possiby propaganda reason- and just recently dug up again. The remains of the five Canadian and two British crew were buried in a small coffin in a cemetery near Krakow with full military honours with many of the relatives in attendance. This was probably a stunt to try to prove that the Allies did nothing to help the beleagured people of that City. It would be of interst to know if any other plane was shot down during that mission. Possibly Ron will have some details of that mission.
TomFirst, I've edited your Post to link properly. The reason a photo wasn't appearing is that you attempted to 'hotlink' to a website and Google doesn't allow that.This is indeed an interesting piece of history, although this wasn't the Nazi's attempt to eliminate the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, but rather the Warsaw Rising of August 1944.From checking the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website I established that the crew died on 5 August 1944, they are shown as members of 148 (RAF) Sqn (sic). Checking RAF Bomber Command Losses for 1944 drew a blank, since 148 Bomber Sqn made it's last WW2 bombing sortie on 2/3 December 1942, it then left Bomber Command and was officially disbandedThe squadron was reformed as 148 (SD) Squadron - the SD stood for Special Duties - in Gambut on 14 March 1943. It's special role, highly dangerous, was dropping agents and arms in the Balkans to Tito's partisans, flying Halifaxes and Liberators.The squadron in 1944 was stationed at Foggia, in southern Italy. It was part of 205 Group RAF, commanded by Major general Durrant. The Group consisted of four wings: three RAF and one South African. The RAF Special Operations Wing was attached to the newly formed 'Balkan Airforce' and was composed of 148 and 624 Squadrons RAF, each equipped with fourteen Halifaxes and the independent (Polish) 1586 Special Duties Flight with ten aircrews flying a mixture of Halifaxes and Liberators.Churchill himself ordered the flight to Warsaw on 4 August. The first flight to Warsaw was on the night of 4/5 August 1944 by 1586 SDF accompanied by seven Halifaxes (of which this was one) of 148 (SD) Sqn. It provided a grim warning of things to come: five RAF planes were lost and only two successful drops were made. Moreover they were attacked by Soviet fighters. Senior RAF officers intervened and the flights were suspended and not resumed until 8 August after Churchill's further intervention against stiff RAF opposition.During the night of 4/5 August, the first RAF bomber appeared in the skies over Warsaw, having flown from Italy. It made a successful drop over Krashinski Square. The insurgents could not know how many other planes had taken off and had been lost. But they took heart. They were not totally forgotten. They were part of a coalition.Extract from Rising '44 - The Battle for Warsaw by Norman Davies (page 248).
Peter - Thank you for your most erudite dissertation on this point of History - I was always confused as to the proper relationship with our Soviet Allies - as I am in trying to introduce a web site article onto our blog !
Peter - a most interesting review of Norman Davies' book " The Warsaw Uprising " was carried in the new York Times on the 60 anniversary of the uprising by your old friend - Carlo D'Este in which he claims that Gen Rokossovsky of the Soviet Army COULD have intervenied but chose not to do so, and so the uprising was quelled by Himmler and more than 200,000 civilians were killed. This review can be read here - http://www.polishculture-nyc.org/rising44_more.htm
Airmen who flew over to mainland Europe faced many dangers. It seems to me that far the best way to have relieved what was happening in Warsaw would have been for the Soviets to intervene. It did not seem to be in Stalin's agenda to do so.
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