Vickers Wellington Mk.IC N2848 of No.18 OTU, crashed on Buckden Pike in the Yorkshire Dales on the 30th January 1942

Vickers Wellington Mk.X at the Royal Air Force Museum


Czeslaw Kujawa Flight Lieutenant Pilot Killed
Jerzy Polczyk Pilot Officer 2nd Pilot Killed
Tadeusz Jan Bieganski Flying Officer Observer Killed
Jan Sadowski Sergeant Wireless Operator Died of Injuries
Jan Andrzej Tokarzewski Sergeant Air Gunner Killed
Jozef Fusniak Sergeant Air Gunner Survived


The Polish crew of Wellington N2848 were on a cross-country navigation training flight from RAF Bramcote in Warwickshire to Carlisle, Newcastle and Hull. The weather on the 30th January 1942 was poor with wide spread blizzard conditions. As the crew headed northwards for Carlisle they strayed to the east of their intended route, probably drifting in the strong wind and with few landmarks little chance of regularly correcting their course. A few minutes after passing over a town which the crew thought was Skipton the aircraft flew into Starbotton Fell, towards the southern end of Buckden Pike, the wreckage travelled through the dry-stone wall on the ridge and broke apart.

All but two of the crew had been killed in the crash, though Sgt Sadowski was very badly injured. Although injured himself, Sgt Fusniak was able to construct a small shelter for Sgt Sadowski before heading off the hill for help. After some time he arrived at Cray, a small village to the North of Buckden Pike, having followed the footprints of a Fox through the snow and help was summoned. However the severe wintery conditions on the fells prevented those searching for the wrecked aircraft from finding it for 2 days. In the intervening hours Sgt Sadowski had died as a result of his injuries and exposure to the cold weather.

After recuperating Sgt Fusniak returned to flying duties, only the be shot down on the 22nd/23rd July 1942 while in Wellington Mk.IV Z1406 of No.301 Sqn while on a sortie against Duisburg. Again, he was the only survivor and attempted to make his way back to the UK but was captured and spent the rest of the war as a prisoner.

Vickers Wellington Mk.IC N2848 memorial at the crash site on Buckden Pike, Yorkshire
During the 1970s Jozef Fusniak returned to the site and with help from local residents this memorial was built at the crash site.
Looking from the crash site of Wellington N2848 towards Great Whernside
A second view of the memorial, looking toward Great Whernside.
Wreckage from Wellington N2848 around the base of the memorial
Most of the remaining wreckage from the aircraft was concreted into the base of the memorial but outlying fragments have been placed around the memorial.


Those who died in the crash were buried in the Polish War Graves sections at Newark Cemetery in Nottinghamshire

Grave of Flight Lieutenant Czeslaw Kujawa at Newark Cemetery
Flight Lieutenant Czeslaw Kujawa, Pilot
Grave of Pilot Officer Jerzy Polczyk at Newark Cemetery
Pilot Officer Jerzy Polczyk, 2nd Pilot
Grave of Flying Officer Tadeusz Jan Bieganski at Newark Cemetery
Flying Officer Tadeusz J. Biganski, Navigator
Grave of Sergeant Jan Sadowski at Newark Cemetery
Sergeant Jan Sadowski, Wireless Operator
Grave of Sergeant Jan A. Tokarzewski at Newark Cemetery
Sergeant Jan A. Tokarzewski, Air Gunner