Thursday, 4 February 2010


He served as Sergeant Ryszard Tadeusz Sniezkowski (probably to protect family still living in Poland).  He was born in Galicia, Poland on 6th April 1917 and fought with the Polish army and air force before he escaped to France when the Russians invaded.  When France capitulated in 1940 he came to Britain and volunteered for the RAF in Liverpool.  He served with 304 and 307 Squadrons (flying Bristol Beaufighters and Vickers Wellingtons) before joining No 10 Air Gunnery School at Walney Island, Barrow in Furness.  He led a charmed life from the very start; he was just coming in to land at an aerodrome in Poland when a German bomber dropped three bombs across his path but they all failed to explode.  In December 1941 he was seriously injured when the engine on his Beaufighter failed on a patrol over the Solent in Hampshire.  It took him a year to recover and then he was posted to the Air Gunnery School.  The Polish Government in exile awarded him the Cross of Merit.

After the war he worked for Leyland Motors in Preston, Lancashire; he maintained his interest in aviation and was involved with crash site investigations and recovering the wreckage of downed planes.  He last handled the controls of an aeroplane at the age of 89 and died at Preston on 2nd January 2009 aged 91.

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