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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Pat Purcell Papers

Plane crash near Ballickmoyler - July 1943.

By kind permission of Michael Purcell

From: Michael Purcell <>

Plane crash near Ballickmoyler - July 1943.

Unusual document in the Pat Purcell Papers reporting the crash of a Wellington Bomber at Curragh, Ballickmoyler, Co. Laois on 17th July 1943.

Pat Purcell Papers.


Draft of Communication for attention of Taoiseach, Mr. Eamon de Valera, T.D.

Secret / Confidential.

To: Mr de Valera,Taoiseach.

From: Chief of Staff, Dept. of Defence, Dublin.

Report on crash of British Wellington bomber plane in Eire.

Polish Pilot and Crew having bailed out over County Wexford.

At 00.45 hours on 17/07/1943, 2 miles east of Ballickmoyler Garda Station in the county Leix. 3 miles west of Carlow town a Wellington Bomber, Service No. 304, Markings H.E.  (the crew of 6 Poles having bailed out over county Wexford - all Sergeants of the Polish Air Force) crashed in a field, 200 yards off the road, on land owned by George Ovington, Farmer.

Earlier reports by observers on the ground reported the plane was spotted by the military and alert civilians over Waterford, Wexford, Wicklow before heading over Carlow and crashing in Leix.

Engines - 2 Perseus or 2 Hercules. Sleeve valve.

The crew baled out over Glen in the county Wexford, and were rounded up and brought to Bawn James, New Ross. 2 of them were slightly injured.

This image (Google Street View) gives us an approximation of where the plane crashed. 

From Wexford the pilotless plane travelled about 20 miles and passed over populated areas until crashing about 3 miles from Carlow town.

The local Guards made futile attempts to keep away civilians from the crash site.

The fire brigade from Carlow town attended the crash scene.

The plane was completely burnt out. The wings were broken off. The impact created a crater approx. 15' x 20' with several pieces of the machine strewn over an area of 75 yards.

The crater was full of water that had been pumped by the fire brigade to quell the flames.

There was no sign of bombs or guns but a considerable amount of .303 ammo was strewn around.

Subsequently two Browning M.G. .303 were found buried in the ground.

Fuel in tanks- nil.

The fire brigade pumped the crater dry.

A loader and truck was requisitioned from Baldonnel Air Corps Transport Unit.  Men from Baldonnel Air Base Construction / Maintenance Corps loaded the remains and filled in the crater.

A member of the Guards supplied a truck to assist with the removal.

The field was searched for ammo.

It was established that the plane left Cornwall at 16.00 hours on the 16th July on Atlantic training flight. It ran into fog and ran short of petrol.

Machine had been in the air for nearly 8 hours.

The crew were on a night training exercise.

No damage was caused to property on the ground.

Salvaged - Scrap of plane, - two helmets, - Log Book, - Codes,- Map,-Signal Flares,  .303 ammo.

All the Polish officers spoke English and made a statement to the effect that they had lost their bearings.

They received directions but suspecting the message was from a German station ignored the directions as previous to this pilots were lured into enemy air space and shot down.

They became aware they were over Eire.

All were glad they had landed in Eire and were grateful for the hospitality accorded to them.

They stated they had read a lot about Ireland's struggle for freedom and compared it to Poland's fight for freedom.

They spoke of the perfection of the underground organizations in the occupied countries. The pilot said he had escaped from Germany. His brother is a Captain in the Polish Air Force and is at present on a special mission in Poland landing people by air in occupied countries when they like and where they like and take them off again.

The 6 officers were conveyed to Baldonnell, handed over to Commandant. Quinn, along with 5 parachutes ( the 6th is missing).

The Crew gave the following identification with which we are satisfied as being true --

Pilot - Sgt Stanislaw Kieltyka,

Wireless Operator / Air Gunner- Sgt Remigiusz Duszak,

Co-Pilot - Sgt Karol Stefan Pasieka,

Navigator- Sgt Stanislaw Salewicz,

Wireless Operator / Air Gunner -Sgt Mikola Pawlucayk

Air Gunner- Sgt Wladyslaw Kaczan.

A special word of thanks and praise to Carlow Fire Brigade, who were quickly on the crash scene and despite explosions of ammunition continued at work until the fire was under control also thanks and praise to the L.D.F. at Carlow and Wexford.

They co-operated with the Garda and Military and remained on duty all night.

All personal connected with the above incident displayed a high standard of efficiency and duty under difficult circumstances.

An acknowledgement from your office might be extended to them.

  [Note added by Michael Purcell in June 2012 . The following data was published on another site, < 304 Polish Squadron - RAF >  in 2012 with details of crew etc. The following list omits mention of Sgt. M. Pawlucayk recorded in the draft letter to Dev as Wireless Operator /Air Gunner.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Polish (Air Force) Diaspora

I am trying to contact the following people (or their families) who were in the crew of Wellington Bomber  HE304 and survived the crash in Ireland in July 1943.

KIELTYKA Sgt Stanislaw P-784039

He was a pilot, born on 1st January 1920 and known to have been in service on 8th July 1943 and on 17th July 1943 he baled out of Wellington Mk X HE304 which crashed near Ballickmoyler, Co Laois in the Irish Republic. He attacked a U-Boat on 12th February 1944. He survived the war and died in ARGENTINA on 26th July 2002.

DUSZCZAK Sgt Remigiusz P-794723

He was born on 9th September 1913 and was a radio operator/air gunner and known to be in service on 8th July 1943 and on 17th July 1943 he safely baled out of a Wellington Mk X HE304 which crashed near Ballickmoyler, Co Laois in the Irish Republic. He was later commissioned as an officer and his service number changed to P-2897. He is thought to have emigrated to BRAZIL in 1946.

PASIEKA Sgt Karol Stefan P-783096

He was born on 29th December 1919 and was a pilot, known to be in service 8th July 1943. He is known to have survived the crash of HE304 near Ballickmoyler, Co Laois, Irish Republic. It is thought that he was living in SOUTH AFRICA in 1956.

SALEWICZ P/O Stanislaw P-794661

He was born on 2nd April 1909 and was known to be in service on 8th July 1943 as a navigator and on 17th July 1943 he survived the crash of HE304 in Ballickmoyler, Co Laois, Irish Republic. Using the new Leigh Light, he attacked and damaged a U-Boat on January 2nd 1944. In every case his service number is the same but more than one record gives his forenames as Mieczyslaw Franciszek. He survived the war and died in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, ENGLAND on 11th May 1997.

KACZAN Sgt Wladyslaw P-704211

He was an air gunner, born on 3rd July 1923 and known to be in service on 8th July 1943 and on 17th July 1943 he safely baled out of HE304 which crashed near Ballickmoyler, County Laois, Irish Republic. He survived the war and was known to be living in Killingworth, Newcastle upon Tyne, ENGLAND in 1981.  Recent research suggests he was still living there in 2010

Previous story of this plane crash

The above is a true and accurate transcript of the original document
This document was transcribed by Michael Purcell

Pg 17 Pg 18 Pg 19

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