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A little bit of Poland in an English field.


By drc726


Since it was built I have often wondered why there is a memorial on the wayside about 5 miles outside Battle in East Sussex? This morning on my way back from Bexhill-on-Sea I decided to stop the car and find out what this memorial is about. This is what I discovered! Nearly home, they almost made it.
The Wellington 1C bomber, number. R1392, took off from the 304 Polish Squadron at Syerston on 27 May 1941. It left for a bombing raid on the French port of Boulogne. The plane was hit by anti-aircraft guns shortly after releasing its payload and started to spiral out of control. The rear gunner, Jozef Drodz, baled out over the channel at that point and was never found. The pilot regained control but soon after the plane caught fire. Stanislaw Jozefiak managed to bale out and landed in trees at Hatfield. Josef Nilski also baled out and managed to survive. The remaining crew were killed when the plane crashed at Darwell Hole. They are buried in the Polish Air Force cemetery in Newark, Nottinghamshire. Jozefiak, originally from Poznan, managed to get to France following the German invasion of Poland. There he trained with other Polish airmen, coming to England early in 1940. By February 1941 about an eighth of the RAF Fighter Command was composed of eight Polish squadrons. Soon after there were four bomber squadrons. Josefiak completed 53 bombing operations, was promoted to Warrant Officer and decorated with the Virtuti Militari, the highest Polish military cross and four times with the Cross of Valour. He later trained as a pilot, flying Spitfires and Mustangs, posted at 317 Polish Spitfire Squadon in Germany. He wrote a book entitled, ‘God, Honour and Country’. In 2000 Josefiak travelled from his home in Derbyshire to attend a memorial service at Chailey to honour three Polish combat squadrons. With the help of David Martin, he was able to locate the exact site where his plane had crashed. The plane had crashed into a large oak tree that still stood on the site. He decided to build a memorial to his fallen friends and came down to the site on frequent occasions building the monument little by little. It was completed on the anniversary of the crash on 28 May 2001.
(Rowland, David. (2004). ‘Survivors’. Finsbury. Peacehaven.)

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Thankyou drc, courageous acts should be remembered and hopefully passed to the next generations and this touching memorial does just that

26 Apr, 2010


Glad it touched you too Pam

26 Apr, 2010


Interesting piece of history.

26 Apr, 2010


thankyou for shareing,chris

26 Apr, 2010


that was interesting Drc, surprising what we find out sometimes about something close by,

26 Apr, 2010


Just a quiet lane Sanbaz!

26 Apr, 2010


What a sad story, but nice the memorial was errected in memory of the ones that died

27 Apr, 2010


I went here today and they had been remembered as a wreath and crosses had be left in the last week. I found that comforting somehow!

18 Nov, 2010


That's nice. I'm glad to hear that.

19 Nov, 2010


It reminded me when I visited my friends in Hove they told me of an Indian Mausoleum on the downs --- quite old I think 1914-18 war,-- well hidden in the folds of the hills

19 Nov, 2010


Hi Pam its:
The Chattri which means umbrella, is a monument located on the South Downs near Patcham dedicated to the Indian Soldiers who died of their wounds at the Royal Pavilion Hospital Brighton during World War One. It was unveiled in 1921 by the then Prince of Wales.

19 Nov, 2010


I'd forgotten that, thanks for reminding me.. does it get remembered on Armistice Day? I seem to remember being told that the distance to the Chattri is quite long and difficult for the bodies to be transported

20 Nov, 2010


There is an annual remembrance ceremony there and it is sometimes on the local news which is how I came to know about it Pam.

20 Nov, 2010



I have just read your story on the Polish Wellington crash. There is a great deal more to the story and if anyone would like to read it please email me and I will sendit to you.

I have researched this story extensively and a great deal of the information came from Sgt Jozefiak (the man who built the monument) and the son of Sgt Nilski.

The pilot, JS Waroczewski (wrong spelling on the monument) had only been on active service for a month after a previous Wellington crash.

25 Mar, 2011


Thanks I would very much like to read more about it . I drove past today as I do quite often do no matter the weather it always stands tall and proud.

26 Mar, 2011

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