Missing name and crash in Southern Norway 29th 1942. Help?

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Missing name and crash in Southern Norway 29th 1942. Help?

Post  bernardoconnor on Sun 5 Dec 2010 - 13:53

Dear Members,

Some time ago I was sent a copy of an anonymous memoir which I'd like to cite in a book about the women of RAF Tempsford - the airfield from where most of the operations to Norway took off from. Even if you can't provide the answer, you might find it of interest.

Mariusz A. Wodzicki was due to be married in September 1939. A fortnight beforehand he was called up to serve with the Polish Air Force. Zanet, his fiancée, never saw him again. She had dreams of him though, standing beside a large crashed aeroplane. After the war she married but always wondered what had happened to him. She and her husband made enquiries and eventually found that Mariusz joined 138 Squadron at Tempsford, flying on missions to France, Holland and other countries. His most demanding and dangerous were the 13 – 14 hour return trips to Warsaw, in Poland. These missions to drop Polish agents, supply weapons, ammunitions, explosives and large sums of money to the resistance tended to be during autumn and winter as the shorter hours of daylight meant there was less danger of being spotted.
On 29th October 1942 Halifax W7773 pilot F. Zaremba took Captain Wodzicki, five other crew and three Polish agents on one such mission. They did not make the DZ and were hit by German night fighters. Probably the wings, steering mechanism and wireless got damaged. Knowing they had never make it back to Tempsford, the pilot tried to escape to the nearest coast and belly land in a snow-filled mountain pass between Helleren and Refsland in Southern Norway.
More than forty years later Zanet and her husband went on a highly emotional trek to find the crash site. They had been to Tempsford to see where he had taken off from and then went to Norway. Just to give one a feeling of what it must be like discovering the site where a loved one lost their life, an extract from her husband’s letter is included:

The roads were difficult, one way and winding through rough terrain until we came to a sign pointing to Helleren. From this point on it was only a dirt road and a twenty minute drive, the road ended at the farmer’s complex of houses, barns and other structures. It was already late afternoon and was turning cold and windy with a light drizzle.
Our young friend went by himself to the min building and entered the house. He told us later that he asked for permission to see the sight of the crash. The older farmer was not in favor but later his son-in-law came and gave us permission, after we told him we had come from the U.S.A. and my wife was previously the fiancée of the leader of the plane.
We headed out on a dirt road by foot, because the older farmer made four barriers, so that a person could not trespass by car. After a long walk around a large lake and steep climb, the road ended. My wife was completely exhausted and could not continue. She was so close to the place where her fiancé had fatally crashed and could not go on, even with her great desire to see and be at the place where he went down.
We left my wife with Wenche and her daughter Siri under a large protecting boulder from the wind and rain and I, Svein and his boy Roy went on. Roy Kenneth ran to the top of each hill and mountain, only to give a disappointing sign. After the first large lake, another huge lake followed. The rough terrain consisted of big stones, wild bushes and knee-deep grass and also quick flowing mountain creeks. I thought we would never make it. Then came a barbed wire fence from the lake up to the top of a small mountain. We had to pry open the wires and slide through ripping our clothes.
After a long climb in this wild, muddy terrain, we noticed the beginning of a third lake, where a high stone wall bordered the lake, so the only way was to go around on the right side over the big hills. On top of them Roy signalled that he had spotted the site of the plane crash.
We kept moving, now faster, (here I probably lost one camera) and finally after long hours we arrived at the site. The debris of the crash was strewn from the high wall for about a hundred feet toward the lake. For over forty years probably the most attractive and important pieces were taken and the only big pieces we noticed were close to the lake. A big chunk from the main body of the plane was on the right side of a huge boulder and an engine was submerged in the water near the edge of the lake. Most parts had a silver shine and other parts showed military paint from the outside of the surface of a war plane. We did not notice any burn marks from a big explosion or fire. Naturally, after such a long time, this could have been washed away. We made some Polaroid pictures and 8 mm super movies from the scene. Unfortunately it started to get dark quickly.
(Personal papers, courtesy of Roger Tobbell, Inkberrow)
After interviewing local people, they discovered that ten Polish prisoners of war were marched to the crash site. Three or four survivors were executed and all the bodies were carried down the mountain and buried secretly along with ten executed English soldiers at Brusand, by the coast. The latter had been captured when two Horsa gliders crashed into the mountainside in a failed attempt to attack the German’s heavy water plant at Telemark.


Anyone able to identify the author?


Last edited by bernardoconnor on Sun 5 Dec 2010 - 13:55; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : not enough lines in the header to add edits)

bernardoconnor

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