The Loss of Sgt Bradshaw
The Warsaw Uprising was a major operation by the Polish underground resistance to liberate Warsaw from German occupation in August 1944.
On the 2nd August 1944, the Home Army Commanding Officer, General Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski, cabled the commanding officer of the Polish Air Force base in Brindisi for help.
He asked for airdrops to be delivered to places which would be marked at night with an arrow.
The telegrams triggered an immediate response and preparations to aid the fighting in Warsaw started.
The distance between Brindisi and Warsaw was about 1,400 km. Numerous anti-aircraft batteries covered the route as well as German nightfighters.
Supply drops continued through August until a final US effort in September (Frantic-7).
The Allies suffered significant losses and sadly, only a small proportion of the supply cannisters reached the resistance fighters.
On the night of 16th /17th August, 18 planes set off.
5 Polish bombers as well as 13 RAF and SAAF planes.
A Liberator of 31 Squadron SAAF.
15 planes succeeded in carrying out air-drops.
The raid sustained severe losses; 2 Polish crews, 3 SAAF crews and 1 RAF crew never returned to the base.
Liberator EV 941 Q (The Little Queen Maureen) had flown supplies to the Polish Home Army before it was shot down by a Luftwaffe night-fighter over the village of Luborzyca in southern Poland.
At the Luborzyca cemetery, propeller blades from 'The Little Queen Maureen' are the main feature of a memorial, carefully tended by the Polish people.
The name of Sgt Bradshaw can be seen towards the bottom of the list.
In the Polish War museum in Warsaw there are large sections of the fuselage of 'The Little Queen Maureen' (including the section with the name) that have been preserved years after the crash.
The crew were:
Captain Leonard Charles ALLEN - Pilot
Lieutenant Anthony James MUNRO - Pilot
WO Douglas John PALMER - Wireless Op
WO Douwe Brandsma BRANDSMA - Wireless Op
Lieutenant Eric Ben Horton IMPEY - Observer
Lieutenant Walter KLOKOW - Observer
Sergeant John Richard William NICKERSON - Air Gunner
WO Edward BRADSHAW - Air Gunner
The SAAF Liberator named "Little Queen II Maureen".......it appears that four Liberators were named after the daughter of one of the ground crew. Little Queen IV was the only aircraft to survive the war.