Unsolved Murders

Tadeusz Rybczynski

Age: 26

Sex: male

Date: 11 Nov 1945

Place: Westminster Bridge, London

Source: www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

Tadeusz Rybczynski was found shot through the heart on Lambeth Bridge on the morning of Armistice day.

During the investigation the police said that they thought that he had committed suicide, but there was no gun found at the scene. However, a revolver that was subsequently identified to be his property was later found in the river close by as a result of dragging operations.

A verdict of suicide was returned at his inquest on Wednesday 5 December 1945.

His body was found slumped in the shadow of a brick-built air raid observation post on the bridge on Sunday morning 11 November 1945 by a policeman at about 1am. When he was found it was thought that he had been dead for about an hour.

Near to where he was found, on a disused NFS pump house, the police found the scribbled chalk figure of 'Doomie', which was described as a gremlin-like creature with the words, 'Wot, no body?'. The writing was done in chalk and was about two inches tall and Tadeusz Rybczynski's body was found slumped just below it. The police said that they were trying to determine whether the chalk writing and drawing had any significance in relation to Tadeusz Rybczynski's death. However, it was also thought that the doodle had been on the wall several days before Tadeusz Rybczynski was found.

It was noted that 'Doomie' was an RAF character and a distant relation of pilot-fighter 'Prune' of RAF jargon. It was said that whilst 'Prune' made all the obvious mistakes with great determination, 'Doomie' was represented by an admonitory face peering over a brick wall, frequently with the phrase 'Care, Doomie's watching'. It was also noted that 'Doomie' was often used unofficially to emphasise safety precautions in aircraft and in handling dangerous materials and that he was a favourite subject amongst airmen for doodling.

The post-mortem revealed that he had been shot at very close range, but no one heard the shot. His tunic was found to have been badly burned around the bullet hole indicating that the gun must have been fired when held against his tunic or from a distance of 1 to 2 inches.

The police said that they were satisfied that he had committed suicide. However, the gun was not initially found, and the police spent a couple of days dragging the river under Westminster Bridge with a magnet in their search for the revolver. The police said that they thought that he had shot himself and that the gun had then fallen into the river. A rusty six-chambered service revolver was later recovered from the River Thames which was identified as belonging to Tadeusz Rybczynski.

He was a warrant officer, Class 1 with the Polish Air Force.

He had left his base, Dunholme RAF station in Lincolnshire on the Friday 9 November 1945 on a 24-hour pass stating that he intended to collect a civilian suit from a tailor.

It was thought that after leaving Dunholme RAF station he had broken his journey at Scunthorpe where he stayed the night.

It was later determined that he been in Lincoln on the Saturday where he had called at St Mark's Post Office where he drew £3 from his savings account.

He was noted as having had many women friends in London as well as the provinces, and it was thought that he had met a certain woman in London on the Saturday and the police said that they were interested in speaking to her.

The police said that they were trying to trace a middle-aged woman with whom he had been on friendly terms with for the previous two months and who he was seen with at a Polish Services Club in Albert Gate, Hyde Park.

They said that they were also trying to trace four Poles who had been absent from their units in Britain who they thought could give information about Tadeusz Rybczynski's movements immediately before his death.

The police said that their investigations revealed that Tadeusz Rybczynski had not only appeared morose and depressed recently but that he had also seemed to have had somthing weighing heavily on his mind and as such were more inclined to suspect that he had committed suicide.

Tadeusz Rybczynski was described as being about 5ft 9in tall with a medium build, green/brown eyes and with brown hair. He had been wearing his RAF officer's uniform which bore pilots’ wings and a Pathfinder badge.

When he was found he had a small sum of money in his pockets.

It was noted that the place that Tadeusz Rybczynski was found was only a few hundred yards away from Lambeth Bridge on which Frank Everett was found shot dead in a pump house a few weeks earlier on 18 October 1945.


*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.


see Dundee Courier - Monday 12 November 1945

see Gloucester Citizen - Tuesday 13 November 1945

see Birmingham Mail - Wednesday 05 December 1945

see Lincolnshire Echo - Tuesday 13 November 1945

see Birmingham Mail - Monday 12 November 1945

see Shields Daily News - Tuesday 13 November 1945

see Liverpool Evening Express - Monday 12 November 1945

see Dundee Courier - Monday 12 November 1945

see Lancashire Evening Post - Tuesday 13 November 1945

see Aberdeen Press and Journal - Tuesday 13 November 1945

see Manchester Evening News - Tuesday 13 November 1945

see Liverpool Echo - Monday 12 November 1945

see Evening Despatch - Monday 12 November 1945

see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Monday 12 November 1945