On the 30th of January 1942 this aircraft crashed onto the top of Buckden Pike in the Yorkshire Dales .
The crew were on a night training flight and had earlier in the evening taken off from RAF Bramcote .
They became lost when hit by a sudden snowstorm , flying around trying to get a glimpse of land so as to locate their position they clipped a wall and crashed leaving a two hundred yard wreckage trail over the fell .
Four of the crew were killed instantly , the rear gunner Sgt. Joe Fusniak survived , his turret fell from the aircraft on impact ,he sustained a broken ankle.
On realising his predicament he tried to find the aircraft to see if the others survived . Struggling with his ankle in the snow he eventually came upon the fuselage remains and found that only one , Sgt. Jan Sadowski (Wireless Op.), of the crew beside himself were still alive . He was too injured to be moved and realising that the only chance of them surviving was to get help Joe decided to make his way off the fell .
Here the story becomes legend , setting off the wrong way , deeper into the moors ,Joe saw the footprints of a fox going in the opposite direction . realising that the Fox would be heading downhill out of the worst of the weather Joe began to follow the footprints . After much trial and hardship he eventually made it down into the small hamlet of Cray. Found by the local pubs (The White Lion) Landlords daughter they took him in to warmth and safety . Unfortunately the rescue team arrrived too late to save the Wireless Operator ,who was found dead at the crash site.
The crew were
F/Lt Czeslaw Kujawa Pilot
P/O Jerzy Polczyk Co-Pilot
F/O Tadeusz J Bieganski Observer
Sgt Jan Sadowski W/O A/G
Sgt Jan A Tokarzewski A/G
Sgt Jozef Fusniak A/G - survived
Joe was to recieve the Empire medal for his actions in attempting to save his crewmate.
An interesting footnote is that Joe Fusniak was later this same year blown out of his turret on a bombing raid, surviving this he was captured and held till the end of the war by the Germans and had to take part in the infamous POW death march as the Nazis moved prisoners from the advancing Russians .
This aircraft was built in Chester by Vickers as a Mk IC as part of a batch of a hundred.
This shot shows the location of the memorial and the wall a part of which was hit by the aircraft . A much photographed spot , it is difficult to capture something new and original . here I have tried to use the red of Susans jacket to contrast with the dull cloud enveloped hill.
The full story , the fullest ever told , can be found here www.buckdenpike.co.uk/mainstory.html