Five Canadian and two British airmen shot down over Poland in WWII were buried yesterday in Krakow. Moving to see the Polish government step up with full military honours. Their plane, A Handley Page Halifax (Mk. II) was shot down while attempting to drop supplies to Polish resistance fighters. The Canadian crew was part of a 'special duties' or 'moon' squadron, tasked with parachuting spies, supplies and propaganda material behind enemy lines. They flew alone at low altitudes, and many did not come back. The restored Halifax at the National Air Force Museum was a in a special duties squadron, and it was shot down in Norway.
I have a personal connection to this story. The Halifax that went down over Poland- JP-276A or 'G-George'- was my grandfather's plane. He was the bombadier in G-George, and had just completed his tour and been sent home. The bombadier that perished in the crash was his replacement If the Poland mission had occurred a few weeks earlier, I probably wouldn't be here today.
So here's my little tribute to the bravery of the seven flyers who died in JP-276A:
Pilot officer George Alfred Chapman, pilot Flight Lt. Arnold Raymond Blynn, Flying Officer Harold Leonard Brown, Flight Sgt. Arthur George William Liddell, Flight Sgt. Charles Burton Wylie, Sgt. Kenneth James Ashmore, and Sgt. Frederick George Wenham.
They will not be forgotten. And for my grandfather, Cameron Stewart, I'd just like to say thanks. This whole thing really puts into perspective the dangers you faced.