The annual service to remember the crew of a World War II bomber which crashed in Netherfield will take place at the village War Memorial on Sunday (May 28).
On the night of May 28/29 1941, RAF Wellington Bombers from 304 Squadron – mainly Polish crews – were tasked with bombing Boulogne to disrupt the German invasion barges being assembled there.
One was hit by flak and an engine set on fire. The aircraft limped back to England on one engine, but shortly after crossing the Sussex coast, the remaining engine began misfiring and the crew started to bail out.
Only one survived. Radio operator Stanislaw Jozefiak managed to eject and landed in a tree near Heathfield, badly breaking his leg.
He was taken to hospital where he spent several months recovering, going on to fly spitfires for the duration of the war, with over 200 missions to his credit.
Stan eventually managed to locate the site of the crash some 60 years later and single-handedly built a large memorial to his fellow crew members and he returned each year to attend a service in their honour.
Stan died in December 2015 but the service continues now in his memory also.
The event will be attended by members of the Royal British Legion, the county chairman, standard bearers from many branches, councillors, members of the Polish community and dignitaries and representatives of the Polish Club of History Enthusiasts ‘White Eagle’, whose chairman Marek Wierzbicki also single-handedly built a monument on the site to the memory of Stanislaw.
The service will start at 3pm and will be followed by tea in Netherfield Church.
Participants are warned that parking on the B2096 near the monument may be difficult.
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