Information about Polish pilot who died in the Mearns

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A LETTER in this newspaper from Mr Billy Lindsay of Laurencekirk, seeking information on an aircraft which crashed one mile north of Laurencekirk, almost exactly 70 years ago, has aroused considerable interest.

Graham Philip, of Forest Park, Stonehaven is a member of the Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre and he was able to provide a large amount of information about the aircraft and the young Polish pilot who died.

By coincidence, Mr Philip was investigating the same incident on behalf of a descendant of the pilot.

A nephew of the pilot is to come from Poland and visit the scene exactly 70 years to the date of the crash.

Mr Philip reveals: “The aircraft was a Miles Master and the registration number was T8334 it belonged to 8 Flying Training School based at RAF Montrose. It took off on a training sortie on the 13th May 1941 and sadly was never to return.

“It crashed in a field behind two cottages at Scotston, Laurencekirk, the cottages exist today close to the A90. Our information is that the pilot was making an approach to the RAF airfield at Fordoun.

“I am at this time in communication with the Department of Research & Information Services at Royal Air Force Hendon, London who hold the crash card for this incident and hope to have this soon. This document will confirm the exact location of the crash and a full inquiry report.

“The RAF pilot’s name is Wieslaw Oselkowski and his military grave is in the Sleepyhillock Cemetery just outside Montrose on the Brechin road. It was only last month that the Scottish War Graves Commission carried out restoration work on these graves.

“We hold the Operations Record Book for 8 Flying Training School, RAF Montrose. “If you look at the relevant date in the ORB 13.05.1941 can see that the investigation officer’s name was S/Ldr Fenwick-Wilson and that the investigation of the incident was carried out on the 15.05.1941.

“Also we now know that on the 23.05.1941 Group Captain Iwaceiwicz, Deputy inspector of the Polish Air Force visited RAF Montrose and also on the 25.05.1941 S/Ldr Bejan, Polish Liaison Officer Flying Training Command also Visited RAF Montrose.

“We think this is no coincidence as this was days after the events that unfolded.”

Mr Philip and colleagues will meet with the nephew of the pilot when he arrives in Montrose and hope to lay a wreath as a matter of respect, subject to the permission of the landowner.

Montrose Air Station Heritage Centre plan to tell this story and mount a display in the near future.

Many Polish pilots trained at RAF Montrose and eventually took part like other famous pilots in the Battle Of Britain.

Mr Philip says that this is the first time that so much information has come to light about any of the Polish aircrew.