Beer pays tribute to crews killed in WW2 plane crash

Polish airmen killed off Beer during WW2

Roman Smok, left, and Mieczysław Świerz were killed in the crash - Credit: 307 Squadron Project

Beer is to pay tribute to two Polish crewmen killed during WW2 when their plane crashed into the sea near the town.

Next Tuesday (April 12), the Polish flag will fly above the Congregational Hall in Fore Street as a tribute to the pair, who died on the night of April 12, 1942.

Other events planned on the day include a 307 Squadron exhibition in the hall, wreaths placed in the sea over the crash site and the unveiling of a new memorial to the airmen in the Jubilee Gardens.

A brief ceremony of remembrance will be held on the cliffs near Beer Head, attended by relatives of the men who died and representatives of the Polish Embassy, the Royal British Legion, Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) and Polish veterans’ groups.

A bugler will sound the Last Post and Reveille, and two minutes of silence will be observed.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the crash.

The aircraft was a Beaufighter from 307 Squadron based at RAF Exeter and was patrolling Lyme Bay to intercept German bombers en route to bomb Bristol, Cardiff and Liverpool.

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It crashed into the sea a mile off Beer Head in an incident observed by Beer Coastguards.

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Navigator Mieczysław Świerz's body was recovered from the sea and buried in Exeter. - Credit: 307 Squadron Project.

The body of the navigator, Mieczysław Świerz, was recovered from the sea and buried in Exeter, but the body of the pilot, Roman Smok, was never found.

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Pilot Roman Smok's body was never recovered. - Credit: 307 Squadron Project.

The 307 Squadron Project is a British-Polish organisation and registered charity established to promote and research the role of the Polish 307 Squadron, known as the ''Lwow Eagle Owls" in Exeter and East Devon during WW2.

Each year, the 307 Squadron Project holds an exhibition at Exeter Guidhall to educate people on the work of not only British aircrew but ally forces based at Exeter Airport.

The Beer branch of the Royal British Legion, in conjunction with a research group the 307 Squadron Project, plans to stage a number of events to mark the anniversary.