Crash sites at former RAF Sydenham

In 1942, Polish airmen Edward Lewandowski and Josef Antoni Pudulko died after separate incidents at RAF Sydenham in Belfast, now George Best City Airport.

Edward Lewandowski

Fatally crashed on the 30th April 1942 after his aircraft struck the cable of one of the Barrage balloons protecting the airfield. After the impact, the plane spun out of control and into Belfast Lough.

Sergeant Edward Lewandowski was born in Gródek in Poland (now Ukraine) on 2nd September 1919. After arriving in Britain, he was trained as a pilot at 25 Elementary Training School and later at the 16 Polish Elementary Pilot School. After the training, he joined the RAF No. 6 Anti-Aircraft Co-Operation Unit.

On 30th April 1942, at the age of 22, Lewandowski took off in a Westland Lysander P1731 from RAF Sydenham, Belfast. Barrage balloons protected the airfield on the edge of the Belfast Lough. Lewandowski’s plane struck the cable of one of the Barrage balloons protecting the airfield. After the impact, the plane spun out of control and into the lough.

Jozef Antoni Pudelko

Fatally crashed on the 23rd April 1943 during take-off from RAF Sydenham.

Sergeant Antoni Józef Pudełko was born on 13th December 1918 in Bryńce Zagórne, Poland (now part of Ukraine). On 23rd April 1942, at age 23, he was the pilot on board Westland Lysander V9721 flying with the Polish No. 309 Squadron based at RAF Dunino, Fife, Scotland. The plane was part of RAF No. 6 Anti-Aircraft Co-Operation Unit. It crashed on take-off from RAF Sydenham, Belfast, Co. Down. The incident killed Sergeant Pudełko and his co-pilot Flight Sergeant Norman Elcock.

Both airmen are buried at Milltown Cemetery, West Belfast. Part of the same unit, the two men died only a week apart.

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