Supermarine Spitfire BM144 crash near Bangor, Co. Down

On 9th October 1943, Supermarine Spitfire BM144 crash-landed near Bangor, Co. Down. The R.A.F. 315 Squadron Pilot escaped with some injuries.

On 9th October 1943, Supermarine Spitfire BM144 PK-O crash-landed wheels-up near Bangor, Co. Down. The Mark V fighter plane experienced engine trouble on a training flight in the hands of a Polish fighter pilot. Although the plane was written off, Polish Flight Sergeant Kazimierz Lojek (P/733144) of R.A.F. 315 (City of Deblin) Squadron walked away with minor injuries.

Spitfire BM144 had spent most of its time with Polish Squadrons in the Royal Air Force joining R.A.F. 303 Squadron on 30th March 1942. First designated RF-D, the “Donald Duck” Spitfire was 1 of 3 planes flown by Polish Ace Commander Jan Zumbach. It later became RF-H (Halszka), the personal plane of Zygmunt Bieńkowski. Flying Officer Antoni “Toni” Głowacki also flew BM144 while based at R.A.F. Kirton-in-Lindsey, Lincolnshire, England. Zumbach scored at least 1 of his 12 victories in this plane.

On 1st June 1943, BM144 transferred to R.A.F. 315 Squadron. During this time, it sustained category CA damage. This meant the Squadron carried out repairs on site but the plane was relegated to use for instruction and training.

Spitfire BM144 escorts General Bernard Montgomery in 1943

Imperial War Museum Photo: NAM 16 (Part of the War Office Second World War Official Collection). A formation of Mark VB Supermarine Spitfires of RAF 303 Squadron escorting General Bernard Montgomery's Boeing B-17 from Prestwick to Northolt on his return from North Africa on 17th May 1943. Spitfire BM144 RF-H is likely flown by Squadron Leader Zygmunt Bieńkowski. Photo taken by Major Geoffrey Keating - No. 2 Army Film & Photographic Section.

Men from RAF 303 Squadron next to Spitfire BM144

Polish Air Squadrons Remembered Photo: Air crew of RAF 303 Squadron, one of several Polish squadrons, chalk up their 178th battle victory over the Luftwaffe next to Supermarine Spitfire BM144. Photo used with kind permission of Wilhelm Ratuszynski.

Spitfire BM144 with RAF 303 Squadron

A posed Royal Air Force image showing men from RAF 303 Squadron marking off the destruction of their 178th enemy plane. This plane would later crash-land near Bangor, Co. Down. Photo from "World War Photos". Copyright unknown.

General Sosnkowski at R.A.F. Ballyhalbert, Co. Down

Polish Air Squadrons Remembered Photo: General Sosnkowski in conversation with pilots of R.A.F. 315 Squadron who have just staged a flypast at R.A.F. Ballyhalbert, Co. Down. This was a highlight of the Squadron Day celebrations on 14th August 1943. Talking to him is Flight Lieutenant Zajac and Squadron Leader Jerszy Poplawski. In the background is Supermarine Spitfire PK-O BM144. Photo used with kind permission of Wilhelm Ratuszynski.