Wladyslaw Sikorski

On 4 July 1943, at 11.07pm, Consolidated B-24C Liberator Mk II aircraft, registration AL523 (511 Squadron), took off from Gibraltar airport on a journey to the UK. The weather was fine, light wind, no cloud, visibility 10 miles. The aircraft climbed to about 150 feet in a perfectly normal manner. The aircraft then gradually lost height, striking the sea on an even keel approximately 1200 yards from the end of the runway. The aircraft quickly sank, resting on the sea bed upside down.

Of the 16 people killed, 2 were members of the UK House of Commons and 1 was the Prime Minister of the Polish Government in Exile and Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Armed Forces General Wladyslaw Sirkorski.

TITLENAMEPOSITIONRECOVERED
ColonelCAZALET Victor AlexanderBritish Liaison Officer to Polish Forces & Member of Parliament
Flt/SgtGERRY George Brotchie RobertsonAir Crew
ColonelGRALEWSKI JanHome Army Courier
Sqd/LdrHERRING Wilfred StanleyCo-Pilot
Flt/SgtHUNTER DobsonWireless Operator
SgtKELLY Francis SimpsonAir Crew
Major-GeneralKLIMECKI TadeuszPolish Army Chief of Staff
MrKULAKOWSKI AdamSikorski’s Secretary
1st Lieu.LESNIOSKA ZofiaSikorski’s daughter & secretary
MrLOCK Walter HeathcoteMinistry of Transport representative in Persian Gulf
ColonelMARECKI AndrzejPolish Army Chief of Operations
Warrant TelePINDER HarryChief Of RN Signals Station, Alexandria
Lieu.PONIKIEWSKI JozefSikorski’s adjutant
General BroniSIKORSKI WladyslawPolish C-in-C & Prime Minster
Brig. Gen.WHITELEY John PercivalMember of UK Parliament
W/OZALSBERG LewisNavigator
Fatalities on Consolidated Liberator AL523.

Of the 17 people on board the plane, the only survivor was the pilot Eduard Prchal.


VICTOR ALEXANDER CAZALET

Victor Alexander Cazalet, the second of three sons of William Marshall and Maud Cazalet, was born on 27 December 1896 in London. The family lived at their house Fairlawne, Tonbridge, Kent.

Cazalet was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford. At Eton, Cazalet won the singles and double rackets as well as being president of the Eton Society. At Oxford, Cazalet gained his Blue for tennis, lawn tennis and rackets. He was amateur squash champion in 1925, 1927, 1929 and 1930.

His younger brother Peter played 22 first-class cricket matches for Kent, with a batting average of 21.88 and a highest score of 150.

In 1915, Victor Cazalet joined the West Kent Yeomanry and in the following year transferred to the 1st Life Guards, before finally transferring to the Household Battalion. He entered the France and Flanders operational theatre on 8 November 1916.

During 1918, Cazalet was awarded the Military Cross for bravery.

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. With a small party he attacked and captured twenty-five of the enemy in a concrete “pill-box”. When all the officers except one had become casualties he reorganised what remained of four companies, showing conspicuous courage and setting a magnificent example.

Londn Gazette newspaper, 6 April 1918.

Victor Cazalet attended the Versailles Conference and from 1918 to 1919 served on the British staff in Siberia.

In 1924, Victor Cazalet won the seat of Chippenham (Wiltshire) for the Conservative party in the House of Commons.

CANDIDATEPARTYVOTES
V. A. CazaletConservative15370
A. W. StantonLiberal9949
W. R. RobbinsLabour3527
Chippenham (Wiltshire) 1924 General Election.

From 1924 to 1925 he was Parliamentary Private Secretary to the President of the Board of Trade. He later served as Secretary of State for the Colonies.

Victor Cazalet was a passionate art collector, who became a close friend of the American art gallery owners Francis and Sara Taylor, parent of the future movie star Elizabeth Taylor. After the Taylors moved to London in 1936, Cazalet let the family spend their weekends in a cottage on his estate. He gave a 4-year-old Elizabeth Taylor a horse named Betty as a gift. The Taylors asked Victor Cazalet to be Elizabeth’s godfather.

In 1940, Cazalet was appointed the British Liaison Officer with the Polish Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief.

In the Chippenham (Wiltshire) by-election caused by Cazalet’s death, the Conservatives retained the seat, with a much reduced majority of 195.

CANDIDATEPARTYVOTES
Mr. David EcclesConservative8310
Dr. Donald JohnsonIndependent8115
Chippenham by-election result 24 August 1943.

GEORGE BROTCHIE ROBERTSON GERRY

Flight Sergeant, age 21, enlisted in the Royal Air Force when he was 16. He had a record of operation flying and in November 1942, when a member of 83 Squadron, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (London Gazette 6 November 1942).

During this airman’s long operational career his keenness to engage the enemy has been outstanding and the remarkable standard of his moral beyond all praise.

Announcement, The Dundee Evening Telegraph, 10 July 1943.

Flight Sergeant Gerry’s remains were recovered from the crashed plane. He is commemorated on the Gibraltar Memorial. The Gibraltar Memorial commemorates servicemen who died on Gibraltar and were subsequently buried at sea.


JAN GRALEWSKI

Jan Gralewski was born on 3 March 1912 in Warsaw, the son of Stanislaw Dionizy Gralewski.

He graduated from the Gymnasium of Stefan Batory in Warsaw, and then studied philosophy and art history at the University of Warsaw, while earning a living as a journalist.

During the German occupation, he became involved with the Polish resistance movement.

In 1942, he was introduced by his later wife, a liaison officer Alicja Iwanska, to the Foreign Communications Department of the Home Army Headquarters (codenamed Zagroda). From that year, Gralewski began to make courier trips to the West, mainly to help prepare communication routes to Spain.

Jan Gralewski left Warsaw on 27 March 1943. After staying in Paris, at the end of April 1943, he set off on the route through Pau towards the Spanish border. After being arrested in Spain, he was imprisoned in San Sebastian and then the Miranda de Ebro camp. From there, he came to Gibraltar and was invited to join Sikorski’s flight.

Jan Gralewski’s were recovered and he is buried in Gibraltar (North Front) Cemetery, Plot 1, Row A, Grave 6.


WILFRED STANLEY HERRING

Wilfred Stanley Herring was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Wilfred Herring; the husband of Joyce Edith Herring, of Middle Rasen, Lincolnshire.

While a Sergeant with 44 Squadron, Herring was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal. At the time, 44 Squadron was operating Hadley Page Hampden bombers.

For gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations.

London Gazette newspaper, 22 November 1940.

In October 1941, the now Acting Flying Officer Wilfred Stanley Herring, a member of 207 Squadron, was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. At the time, 207 Squadron was operating Avro Manchester bombers.

One night in September 1941, this officer was the captain of an aircraft of an aircraft which participated in an attack on Berlin. Whilst over the city the aircraft was repeatedly hit by shell-fire from an intense and accurate barrage and, when Flying Officer Herring succeeded in evading the defences, the aircraft had sustained severe damage. The port engine had failed and, owing to lack of hydraulic power to the gun turrets, the aircraft was almost defenceless. Nevertheless, Flying Officer Herring decided to attempt to fly the aircraft back to this country by the shortest route which entailed passing over the enemy’s most heavily defended areas. Overcoming many difficulties he succeeded in reaching this country and in landing safely at an aerodrome with practically no fuel left in the tanks. Throughout, this officer displayed outstanding determination.

On numerous occasions, Flying Officer Herring has carried out attacks on the most heavily defended targets, involving deep penetration into enemy territory, and has at all times displayed the greatest ability and devotion to duty.

London Gazette newspaper, 7 October 1941.

Squadron Leader Herring was the co-pilot on Sikorski’s flight.

After the crash, Herring’s remains were not found, so Wilfred Stanley Herring is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 118.


DOBSON HUNTER

Dobson Hunter was born on 2 November 1912, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Dobson Hunter and the wife of Margaret Hunter, Highbury, London. In 1939, Dobson (a tailoring manager) and his wife lived in Hawthorn Road, Islington.

Flight Sergeant was the wireless operator on Sikorski’s flight.

Dobson Hunter’s remains were not found, so Dobson Hunter is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 137.

On the anniversary of the crash, a memoriam notice was published in the Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette on 4 July in 1945, 1946 and 1947.

Memories of Flight Sergeant Dobson Hunter (W/O – A/G), killed on July 4, 1943. Ever remembered by loving wife and child, father, stepmother, Jim, Kitty, Lilly, Albert, Maggie, Vic, Evelynn, Jack.

Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette, 4 July 1946.

FRANCIS SIMPSON KELLY

Sergeant Francis Simpson Kelly was the son of Francis Simpson and Cissie Kelly, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Sergeant Kelly’s remains were recovered from the crashed plane. He is commemorated on the Gibraltar Memorial. The Gibraltar Memorial commemorates servicemen who died on Gibraltar and were subsequently buried at sea.


TADEUSZ APOLINARY LUDWICK KLIMECKI

Tadeusz Klimecki was born on 23 November 1895 in Tarnow, then part of the Austria-Hungary empire; the son of Jozef and Ludwika Klimecki.

In 1914, Klimecki graduated from the Central Commission of the Junior High School in Jaslo. He then took up law studies at the Faculty of Law at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow.

After the outbreak of war on 1 September 1939, Klimecki was assigned to the 3rd Division of the Staff of the Commander-in-Chief as the Head of the Operations. After the defeat of Poland in the September campaign, Klimecki made his way through Romania to France. From December 1939 to June 1940, he was the head of the 3rd Division of the Staff of the Commander-in-Chief in France and from July 1940 to July 1943 he was the Chief-of-Staff to the Commander-in-Chief in London. In 1941, he was promoted to brigadier-general.

Klimecki’s remains were recovered from the aircraft and taken via ship to the UK, where they were buried in Newark-upon-Trent Cemetery.

In December 2010, as part of an investigation by Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance, Klimecki’s remains were exhumed and returned to Poland. They were examined at the Department of Forensic Medicine at the University of Krakow.

After the examination, Klimecki’s remains were buried in Powazki Military Cemetery, Warsaw.


ADAM KULAKOWSKI

Adam Kulakowski was born on 29 May 1916 in the town of Trzecia Rota in Russia, the son of Henryk and Aleksandra Kulakowski. Henryk Kulakowski was the director of the Solvay lime factories in Krakow and was friends with General Sikorski. Adam Kulakowski graduated from the Warsaw University of Technology.

In September 1939, Adam Kulakowski accompanied Sikorski and General Modelski on his departure from Poland and then continued to serve as Sikorski’s personal secretary.

After the crash of Sikorski’s Liberator plane, Adam Kulakowski’s remains were not found.


ZOFIA LESNIOWSKA

Zofia Lesniowska was born on, according to various sources, 2 March 1912 or 24 March 1913, in Lviv; the daughter of Wladyslaw Sikorski and Helena Zubczeska. On 30 September 1936 in Parchan, she married Lieutenant Stanislaw Lesniowski.

After the outbreak of World War Two on 1 September 1939, Sikorski told his daughter to form a resistance group. At the beginning of 1940, she was taken to France. From that point on, she accompanied her father as his secretary, translator and adviser.

On 16 November 1942, the Minister of Military Affairs General Marian Kukiel appointed her as the head of the Polish Women’s Auxiliary Service., which she relinquished on 18 February 1943.

After the crash of Sikorski’s plane, the remains of Zofia Lesniowski were not found. She is commemorated by a symbolic grave at the Powazki Military Cemetery, Warsaw, Poland.


WALTER HEATHCOTE LOCK

Walter Heathcote Lock was born during 1901 in Oxford, the son of Walter and Jane Cecil Lock.

The 1911 England and Wales Census has the Lock family living in Wardens’ Lodgings, Keble College, Oxford.

NAMEPOSITIONAGEJOB
Walter LockHead64Clergyman
Jane Cecil LockWife49
Mary Charlotte LockSister59
Elizabeth Jessie LockDaughter14School
Walter Heathcote LockSon10School
Lucy Austen LockDaughter8
Mildred Susan LockDaughter5
1911 England and Wales Census (The National Archives).

During the early 1930s, Lock was a merchant in China and Singapore. Walter Heathcote Lock’s marriage to Dorothea Constance Ellis took place in Tanglin Garrison Church, Singapore, on 15 June 1933.

After serving as a joint representative in Hong Kong of the Minister of War Transport, Lock was selected in October 1941, for the representative of the same ministry in the Persian Gulf, chairing the Basra War Transport Committee.

Lock had just been appointed as the Minister of War Transport’s representative in Canada and was looking forward to re-joining his wife there.

Walter Heathcote Lock’s remains were recovered after the crash but as a civilian, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is not responsible for his grave. However, Lock is one of the 66375 names in the Civilian War Dead Roll of Honour.

By a supplemental charter dated 7th February 1941, the CWGC was empowered to collect and record the names of civilians who died from enemy action during World War II. The books are kept just outside the entrance to St George’s Chapel at the west end of Westminster Abbey, in a case designed by a former Surveyor of the Fabric, Stephen Dykes Bower.


ANDREJ MARECKI

Andrej Marecki was born on 2 September 1898 in Grybow, the son of Tadeusz Marecki.

After Poland gained independence in 1918, he joined the Polish Army and became the commander of the artillery of an armoured train. After several appointments as a lecturer at several Polish military academies, in 1936, Marecki was transferred to the General Staff and appointed military attaché in Stockholm.

During the September 1939 Polish campaign, Marecki was an officer in the 3rd Operation Division of the Supreme Commander’s staff. On 18 September 1939, Marecki left Poland via the border with Romania and travelled onwards to France and reported to General Sikorski. After the defeat of France in June 1940, Marecki occupied the same staff office position.

Marecki’s body was found three days after the crash of Sikorski’s Liberator aircraft. Marecki’s body was taken via ship to the UK, where they were buried in Newark-upon-Trent Cemetery.

In December 2010, as part of an investigation by Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance, Marecki’s remains were exhumed and returned to Poland. They were examined at the Department of Forensic Medicine at the University of Krakow.

After the examination, Marecki’s remains were buried in Powazki Military Cemetery, Warsaw.


HARRY PINDER

Harry Pinder was born on 13 June 1901 in Bridlington, Yorkshire, the son of George and Jemima Pinder.

The 1911 England and Wales Census has the family living in Nelson Street, Bridlington.

NAMEPOSITIONAGEOCCUPATION
George PinderHead39Carter
JemimaWife37
Frank PinderSon12School
Harry PinderSon10School
Arthur PinderSon7
Frederick PinderSon2
1911 England & Wales Census (The National Archives).

In 1939, Harry Pinder was living in Huddersfield, working as an assistant manager with a clothing company.

At the time of the plane crash, Harry Pinder was a Warrant Telegraphist and Chief of the Royal Navy Signals Station, Alexandria, known as HMS Nile.

It was reported in the Bradford Observer newspaper (9 July 1943) that after spending two years overseas, Harry Pinder was looking forward to his transfer to duties in the UK. Also his daughter Mary, age 19, a nurse at Bridlington Hospital was getting married and she hoped he would be able to attend her wedding and give her away.

Harry Pinder’s remains were not found and he is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Panel 73, Column 1.


JOZEF STANISLAW EDWARD PONIKIEWSKI

Jozef Stanislaw Edward Ponikiewski was born on 30 November 1916 in Brylewo, the son of Hipolit and Eliza Ponikiewski.

During 1926-1934, Ponikiewski was a student of the gymnasium school in Gostyn. For a year, he was student at the Higher School of Economics in Poznan before in 1935 passing the examinations at the Cadet School of the Navy in Torun. After graduation, Ponikiewski is assigned to the Polish Navy ship ORP Grom as the 3rd gunnery officer. This ship was withdrawn to the UK. Now in the UK, naval Lieutenant Ponikiewski became adjutant to General Sikorski.

Ponikiewski’s remains were found after the crash and were taken to the UK and buried in Newark-upon-Trent Cemetery.

In December 2010, as part of an investigation by Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance, Ponikiewski’s remains were exhumed and returned to Poland. They were examined at the Department of Forensic Medicine at the University of Krakow. After examination, the remains were buried in the family crypt at Oporow.


EDUARD MAXIMILLIAN PRCHAL

Eduard Maximillian Prchal was born on 1 January 1911 in Doini Brezany, Kingdom of Bohemia, into a family of cabinet makers.

In October 1930, Prchal was required to do military service. With the help of an uncle, who was a colonel, he successfully applied to the Czechoslovak Air Force. After completing his basic flying training, he was posted to an reconnaissance squadron based at Hradec Kralove. In 1932 Prchal graduated from flying training as an operational military pilot, completing his night flying training in 1934.

On 22 June 1939, soon after the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, Prchal crossed the border into Poland and a week later arrived in France. At the outbreak of World War Two on 3 September 1939, Prchal joined the French Air Force and shot down three planes during the Battle for France. After the fall of France, Prchal flew from Bordeaux to Bayonne and boarded a ship to England. He joined the Royal Air Force and was later posted to the Czechoslovak 310 Squadron.

During March 1941, Prchal was posted as an instructor to train fighter pilots. Eventually, Prchal was transferred to Transport Command and repeatedly flew to Gibraltar and Malta, as well as flying VIP passengers on to the Middle and Far East.

Eduard Prchal was the only survivor of the aircraft crash. The injured Prchal was picked from the water and later made a full recovery.

In September 1943, Prchal resumed piloting VIPs making long-haul flights until the end of the Second World War. In the same month, Prchal married Dolores Sperkova.

In August 1945, Prchal returned to Czechoslovakia, re-joining its air force until demobilised in 1946. After the communists seized power in 1948, Prchal increasingly feared arrest. So in September 1950, Prchal with his family and some friends flew to RAF Manston, England, in a stolen plane.

Prchal eventually moved to the USA where he failed to find work in the aircraft industry.

On 9 October 1967, the play “Die Soldaten” (The Soldiers) written by the 36 year old Rolf Hochbach, and based on his book of the same title, had its world premier in Berlin. The play controversially dramatises Winston Churchill’s part in ordering the bombing of German cities. The play also included a conspiracy theory that Churchill ordered Sikorski’s death and that Prchal had deliberately crash the plane. When Hochbach appeared on the stage, he was booed by the audience (The Times newspaper 10 October 1967).

Hochbach had also written an article, published in the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, repeating his conspiracy theories.

After the play had opened at the New Theatre, St. Martin’s Lane, London, Prchal issued three writs for liable

  • The first writ was issued against Hochbach of Basle, Switzerland and Mr. Robert David Macdonald of the New Theatre.
  • The second writ was issued against Mr. Michael White, Mr. Norman Granz, Mr. Kenneth Tynan, Mr. Donald Arthur Albery, Mr. Jan Bronson Albery, the Wyndham Theatres Ltd and Mr. Clifford Williams.
  • A third writ was issued against Andre Deutsch Ltd.

The defendants, other than Hochbach and Andre Deutsch Ltd, were associated with the London stage production.

The libel case took place on 2 May 1972 before Mr. Justice Bean and a jury composed of nine men and three ladies. Hochbach was not present or represented at the trial. Hochbach’s defence had been struck out.

In his summing up Mr. Justice Bean told the jury that there was not a shred of evidence to support the conspiracy theories in Hochbach’s book, article and play. Therefore, the jury just had to decide on the amount of damages. After an absence of almost four hours, the jury awarded Prchal £50000 in damages made up as £5000 for the play, £25000 for the book and £20000 for the newspaper article.

The court was told that the theatre and Andre Deutsch Ltd has both made substantial settlements.

He worked in education until his retirement in 1978.

Eduard Prchal died on 4 December 1984 in St. Helena, California.

On 15 August 1990, The Times newspaper reported that Hochbach’s play was to open at the Playhouse Theatre, London, on 2 October 1990 after performances in Clwyd and Leeds. The production was by the London company Co-producers in partnership with Theatre Clwyd.

The newspaper continued to report that plans for the National Theatre to stage the play were vetoed by the theatre’s board. Instead the company’s literary manager Kenneth Tynan produced the play at the New Theatre (now the Albery) with Michael White.


WLADYSLAW EUGENIUSZ SIKORSKI

Wladyslaw Eugeniusz Sikorski was born on 20 May 1881 in Tuszow Narodowy, Galicia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The third child of Tomasz Sikorski (a school teacher) and Emilia Harowska.

Sikorski attended the school in Rzeszow (now Konarski’s High School in Rzeszow) from 1893 to 1897, then transferred for a year to a Rzeszow teachers’ college. In 1899, he attended the Lwow Franciszek Jozef Gymnasium and in 1902 he passed his final high school exam there.

Starting in 1902, Sikorski studied engineering at the Lwow Polytechnic, specialising in road and bridge construction. He graduated in 1908 with a diploma in hydraulic engineering.

In 1909,, Sikorski married Helena Zubezewska who he had met when at school in Lwow. In 1912, they had a daughter Zofia.

In the days before the September 1939 invasion of Poland by Germany and during the invasion itself, Sikorski’s request for a military command continued to be denied by the Polish Commander-in-Chief Marshal Edward Rydz-Smigly. Sikorski escaped from Poland via Romania to Paris, where on 28 September 1939 he joined Wladslaw Raczkiewicz and Stanislaw Mikolajczyk in a Polish Government in exile, with Sikorski taking command of the newly formed Polish Armed Forces in France. Two days later, Sikorski was invited by President Raczkiewicz to be the first Prime Minister in exile. On 7 November 1939, Sikorski became Commander-in-Chief and General Inspector of the Armed Forces. Sikorski would also hold the position of the Polish Minister of Military Affairs, thus Sikorski held control over all the Polish military in wartime.

In 1943, the fragile relations between the Soviet Union and the Polish Government in exile reached breaking point with the German announcement of the discovery of mass burial pits containing the remains of 20000 Polish officers, in Katyn Forest, near Smolensk, Russia. Stalin claimed that the atrocity had been committed by the Germans. However, clothing and documents found with the remains dated the massacre to a period when the area was under Soviet control. In the 1990s, Russia finally acknowledged responsibility for the massacre of Polish officers at Katyn and other sites.

When Sikorski failed to accept Stalin’s explanation and requested an International Red Cross investigation, Stalin broke off diplomatic relations with the Polish Government in exile on 25 April 1943.

In Late May 1943, Sikorski started a moral boosting tour of Polish forces in the Middle East. He was also concerned with political matters and a growing rift between himself and Polish General Wladyslaw Anders, on the subject of cooperation with the Russians. Sikorski favoured a more pragmatic approach to the Russians, whereas Anders was completely opposed to dealing with the Russians.

After the fatal plane crash, Sirkorski remains were recovered.

On 8 July 1943, after a short service in the Catholic Cathedral, Sikorski’s coffin, draped in a Polish flag, was carried on board a Polish destroyer moored in the dockyard for the journey to the UK.

On 12 July 1943, members of the Polish Government in exile and the Polish National Council attended a mass for General Sikorski in the Cabinet Room of the Council in Kensington Palace Gardens, where his body lied in state.

Three days later, a requiem mass for General Sikorski was held at Westminster Cathedral, attended by the Polish President and Sikorski’s widow who had lost both her husband and only child.

After the mass, Sikorski’s remains were taken to be buried in Newark-upon-Trent Cemetery.

On 13 September 1993, Sikorski’s remains were exhumed and returned to Poland on a Polish Air Force TU-154M plane, escorted by 56 RAF Tornado F3 fighters. Sikorski’s remains were then buried in royal crypts at Wawel Castle, Krakow.

In 2008, an investigation was opened in Poland by the Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish nation of the Polish Institute of National Remembrance (IPN). Sikorski’s remains were exhumed and examined by Polish pathologists, who in 2009 concluded that his injuries were consistent with an air crash and that Sikorski had not been killed on the plane before the crash.

In 2010, the remains of Tadeusz Klimecki, Andrzej Marecki and Jozef Ponikewski were exhumed from Newark-upon-Trent and returned to Poland. All three remains were examined by Polish pathologists who confirmed that the injuries suffered were those expected to have occurred as a result of a plane crash.

In 2013, the investigation concluded that deliberate tampering to the aircraft could be neither confirmed nor rules out.


JOHN PERCIVAL WHITELEY

John Percival Whiteley was born on 7 January 1898 in Mafeking, South Africa; the son of Frank and Sarah Emily Whiteley. Frank Whiteley was in business in South Africa and was Mayor of Mafeking during the famous Boer War siege. John Whiteley was educated at Shrewsbury and the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich.

Whitely joined the Royal Artillery in 1916, when he was 18 years old. He served for two years in France and was severely wounded three months before the end of the First World War. In 1921-1922 Witeley was on the staff of the intelligence branch of the General Headquarters in Ireland. He retired in 1928.

On 3 November 1925, Lieutenant John Whiteley, Royal Horse Artillery, married Amy Beatrice Tetley at Stephen’s Church, Hampstead.

In 1929, Whiteley contested the Parliament seat of Ashton Division in Birmingham, losing to Mr. John Strachey by 1558 votes. Whiteley then entered the House of Commons by winning, at a 1937 by-election, the seat of Buckingham for the Conservative Party

CANDIDATEPARTYVOTES
Brigadier J. P. WhiteleyConservative17919
Lieu-Colonel J. V. DelahayeLabour12820
E. J. BoyceLiberal3348
Liverpool Evening Express, 6 July 1943.

In addition to being the Conservative Member of Parliament for Buckingham, he was also a magistrate, a member of the County Council and in the period before World War Two, commanded the 393rd Field Battery (Royal Bucks Yeomanry), Royal Artillery.

By 1939, the Whiteley family lived at The Grange, Buckingham Road, Bletchley, Buckinghamshire.

The remains of John Percival Whiteley were recovered after the crash and he is buried in Gibraltar (North Front) Cemetery, Plot 1, Row A, Grave 7.

Mr. Lionel Berry, eldest son of Lord Kemsley and deputy chairman of Kemsley Newspapers, was adopted by the North Bucks Conservative Association as a National Government candidate for Whiteley’s Buckingham seat. Lionel Berry had served as a captain in the Grenadier Guards and was invalided out of the army in early 1942.

The other local political parties agreed to follow the wartime electoral truce and Berry was returned unopposed.


LEWIS ZALSBERG

Lewis Zalsberg was born on 4 June 1920 in Stepney, London, to Polish born parents Hyman and Ann Spitalovich and was the youngest of five boys. Their father worked as a cleaner, before eventually owning his own shop selling cleaning materials.

Winning a number of scholarships, Zalsberg was educated at Cowper Street Central School.

Zalsberg joined the Royak Air Force before the outbreak of World War Two. After initial training he was posted as Sergeant (Observer) for operational service with 10 Squadron operating Whitley bombers from their airfield at Leeming, Yorkshire.

On the 23 September 1941, the London Gazette contained the notice of the award of the Distinguished Flying Medal to Sergeant Lewis Zalsberg.

For gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations.

London Gazette newspaper, 23 September 1941.

With his first tour of duty completed, Zalsberg transferred to transport command with 511 Squadron, which were operating Liberators. He had completed 31 flights with the pilot being Flight Lieutenant E. M. Perchal.

In 1942, Zalsberg married Gladys Oliver in Truro, Cornwell. Their daughter was born after Zalsberg’s death.

Lewis Zalsberg’s remains were recovered and are buried in Gibraltar (North Front) Jewish Cemetery.