Today I was enjoying a leisurely cruise along the Leeds-Liverpool canal.
As my son and I (pictured) were opening a bridge to let our barge through I noticed this memorial:
AT NOON on September 23rd 1943 the Polish crew of Wellington bomber HZ251 took off from Skipton on Swale in North Yorkshire for a routine training mission. Shortly afterwards their aircraft fell out of the sky; crashing on the banks of the Leeds-Liverpool canal at Bradley, near Skipton. None of the crew survived.
On April 22nd relatives of the men gathered at the crash site to unveil a memorial in their honour. They were joined by RAF Officers, cadets and veterans as well as the Battle of Britain Memorial Flightís Spitfire and Hurricane, which flew in tribute overhead.
Five of the seven man crew were novices but the pilot, Flight Sergeant Fraciszek Ciaston, had flown seven operational sorties. Navigator Instructor, Flight Lieutenant Jozef Wolnik then just 31, had completed 46 missions over enemy territory and received the Virtuti Militari, Polandís highest military decoration.