Tuesday, 30 March 2010

COMMENTS ON THIS BLOG

Whilst I welcome sensible comments on this blog, I will delete all offensive items as I have done today.  After a series of apparently harmless comments in Chinese, I have received a large comment (also in Chinese) which I have had translated and which has proved to be an offensive and obnoxious invitation to watch porn sites and movies.  My advice to the sender is simple: DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME as all comments from you will be blocked and/or deleted in the future.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

WLADYSLAW BONIFACY MINAKOWSKI

On the outbreak of war he was a soldier and evacuated to Romania where he was interned in a camp in Tulcea.  By November he had made it to France and moved on to England where he trained as a navigator.  He was posted in to the Squadron from 18 OTU RAF Bramcote on 27th April 1942 and he was known to be still in service on 13th July 1942. 

He was a crew member of a Wellington that was jumped by 6 Ju88 fighters whilst on anti-submarine patrol near Bishop Rock on 16th September 1942.  In a 12-15 minute battle, fought at 30 feet above sea level, this crew destroyed one enemy plane, saw large pieces break off the tail plane of another and scored hits on three more.  In return they had a two yard square section of wing torn off by cannon fire and their petrol tank was pierced.  They managed a power climb into the clouds and the action was broken off.  He stayed with 304 Squadron until the end of the war and flew 25 missions over France and the Atlantic Ocean.

He returned to Poland in June 1947 and rejoined the Polish army where he worked in intelligence and aerial photography and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.  In May 1951 he was arrested and accused of spying for England.  He spent six months in a dungeon where he was subjected to torture and held in a cell measuring 2 metres by 90 centimetres (about 6 feet 7 inches by 3 feet).  After a hearing lasting twenty hours per day, he was convicted on 13th May 1952 and sentenced to death.  He was executed, by firing squad, on 7th August 1952 in the prison at Rackowiecka Street, Warsaw – the trial judge was powerless to commute the sentence because of the nature of the alleged crime.  He was vindicated and received a state pardon on 7th May 1956.  He is buried in the Military Cemetery at Warsaw but the exact location is unknown.

A sad end for a hero who was awarded the Order of Virtuti Militari 5th class, the Cross of Valour (twice) and the Silver Cross of Merit.

LESLAW ROMAN MIEDZYBRODZKI

He was born on 24th March 1912 and known to be in service with 304 Squadron on 8th July 1943.

At the relatively late age of 27, he had completed his University education and was working in a Polish Air Force maintenance depot whilst waiting to be called up for his national service.  On the day that war broke out, the depot was attacked and suffered extensive damage.  It was decided to move the whole unit further east – probably towards Lwow (now in the Ukraine) – to make it safer from German attack.  Before they reached their destination, Russia had attacked them from the east and the whole unit crossed into Romania.

Internment seemed inevitable but he made his way independently to the Polish Legation in Bucarest and volunteered to join the Polish Air Force in exile.  He was provided with a passport and sent by train to Belgrade where the Polish Air Attache endorsed his passport and sent him, via Italy, to France.

Whilst waiting to join the air force, France capitulated and he made his way to St Jean de Luz in the Pays Basque near Biarritz in France, very close to the Spanish border.  At this little harbour town he took passage on the Polish liner turned troop ship, Sobieski bound for Plymouth.  From there he went by train to Liverpool and spent his first days in England in a tented encampment on Aintree race course.

He went on to the Polish Depot at RAF Blackpool and then RAF Kirby where he was assigned to the newly formed 302 Squadron and sent to RAF Leconfield near Beverley in East Yorkshire, where he served as ground crew.  In 1941 he was sent for pilot training and flew Airspeed Oxford light bombers/trainers at No 16 Flying Training School, RAF Newton near Nottingham.  He gained some experience flying as a second pilot in an OTU and was then posted to 304 Squadron.

In May 1944, flying NZ-N, he attacked 2 U-Boats which he found on the surface and engendered the only ever 2 way battle between U-Boats and Polish aircraft.  One submarine was seriously damaged, as was the Wellington, but it was successful in getting back to Britain with no serious injury to its crew in spite of the rear turret being riddled with holes.  As well as other serious damage, there was a direct hit on the starboard wing which left a hole big enough for a man to pass through.
 
He found these U-Boats using the Leigh Light which was a very useful piece of equipment but its installation reduced the forward armament to a single machine gun.  In spite of suffering hits and a fire breaking out, he pressed on with the attack, taking no evasive action to avoid the flak.  He was awarded the Order of Virtuti Militari Silver Cross, 5th class and the British Air Force Cross.  At the end of the war he was posted to the Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down in Wiltshire where he worked as an engineer and test pilot and finally he was posted to RAF Farnborough and retired from the Royal Air Force in 1961.

He then went to work in the defence industry for Ferranti Systems again as an engineer and test pilot.  He finally retired in 1983.  He died in Edinburgh on 18th January 2001, shortly before his 89th birthday.

TADEUSZ MIECZNIK

He was a pilot and was born on 25th February 1915 and he is known to have served in 304 Squadron, and was with them on 16th December 1942 but transferred to 138 Squadron, fling covert missions for the SOE; he was awarded the Order of Virtuti Militari Silver Cross, 5th class.  On one such mission, on 18th September 1943, Halifax BB309, flying out of Tempsford in Bedfordshire, was picked up by the German Radar station “Seehund” at Tybjerg, Denmark and shortly afterwards it was attacked by a night fighter.  The crippled aircraft made a forced landing and crashed into a house.  Three adults and two of the children were killed in the house; miraculously six other children survived.  Five of the crew were also killed and one other taken prisoner.  Flight Sergeant Miecznik suffered a broken arm and leg and was taken to hospital but later escaped to Sweden. 

The night fighter, a Ju88, was flown by Lieutenant Richard Burdyna from IV/NJG3 and he was so preoccupied with the carnage that he circled to watch then struck power lines, killing himself and his two crewmen.  They now rest in Vestre Cemetery, Copenhagen, Denmark.

The bodies of the dead Polish crew were buried by German troops in shallow graves in the churchyard and without ceremony.  On 30th September 1943 the horrified priest had the bodies exhumed, placed in coffins and buried properly, with a Christian service and they all now lie in Slagille Cemetery.  The funeral was paid for by A.P. Moller, a local ship owner.

F/Sgt Miecznik was taken to Ringsted Hospital and when the Doctor thought he was well enough to travel he contacted the local resistance who placed a ladder at his hospital window and helped him to get out.  He was taken overland to Copenhagen and then, in a small boat, to Sweden.

The seventh member of the crew, Sergeant  Roman Puchala, suffered only minor head injuries and escaped across the fields and was sheltered on a local farm, where he was captured after a few hours. He was initially taken to Dulag Luft, a Luftwaffe transit camp  near Frankfurt am Main, Germany for interrogation and then on to Stalag Luft VI Gross Tychow, near Tychowo, Poland..  Finally, he went to Stalag 357 at Fallingbostel  in Lower Saxony, Germany. 

JULIUS (OR JULIAN) MICHALSKI


He  was born on 5th February 1919 in Pulawy and joined the army in 1937and became a driver-technician in 24 Cavalry Pulku, who were in Krakow on the outbreak of war.  When the Russians invaded his unit crossed into Hungary and were disarmed but travelled on into Jugoslavia.  They were permitted to transit Italy and eventually reached France.

 When France’s defences were breached by the Germans, the Poles moved into Spain and attempted to take ship for Algiers.  He was held by  the Spanish authorities but escaped immediately and concealed himself amongst some crates; in this way he got on board the vessel and stowed away until the vessel docked in Algiers where he rejoined his unit.

From there they went to Casablanca but discovered that all available places on ships were reserved for airmen, who were desperately needed in Britain.  So they drove across the Sahara Desert and finally came to the banks of the River Niger.  They put their vehicles on rafts and crossed into Nigeria, finally reaching the British High Commissioner in Kano.  He arranged matters fom there.  After a spell in hospital, suffering a bout of malaria, he was sent by sea to Egypt where he joined the Polish contingent in Alexandria.  He fought at Tobruk and was later sent to Britain, via Cape Town, South Africa escorting German and Italian Prisoners of War.

On arrival at Liverpool, he volunteered for the Polish Air Force and was chosen to train as a navigator and was then sent to Glasgow from where he embarked for Canada.  He was to attend the navigator training school at Moncton, Ontario and later Prince Edward Island for advanced training at navigating over water.

He returned to Britain at the end of 1943 and was sent to the Polish Depot at RAF Blackpool where he was allocated to Coastal Command and 304 Squadron at RAF Benbecula on the Outer Hebrides, a remote island off the west coast of Scotland.  He flew many convoy protection and anti-submarine missions as far out into the Atlantic as fuel would permit.  At the end of the war he remained with the Squadron, flying transport duties to Italy, Greece and the Middle East until he was finally demobilised.

In civilian life, he returned to his studies, won a scholarship and became a lecturer, and later a professor, at Birmingham University where he worked for 25 years until his retirement.

JULIAN MICHALSKI

He was a navigator and was born on 12th July 1908; he was known to have been a member of 304 Squadron on 16th December 1942 but transferred to 138 Squadron at RAF Tempsford.  On 17th September 1943 his Halifax bomber BB309 was shot down at Slagille, Denmark on its way back from Poland.  The mission was part of Operation Neon 3 which involved successfully dropping weapons and two agents into occupied Polish territory.  They were detected by the German Radar Station “Seehund” and a Junkers Ju88 night fighter was scrambled and shot the Halifax down.  It crashed into a house, killing three adults and two children but six other children miraculously survived.

Four of the crew (including Sgt Michalski) were killed instantly, one died later of his  injuries (severe burns) and another suffered a broken arm and leg but escaped from the hospital, with the help of the local Resistance, to neutral Sweden three weeks later.   There was an immediate burial of the dead in shallow graves in the church yard without a service much to the chagrin of the local priest.  He arranged for them to have a proper burial with a Christian service rendered in English.  The expenses, including coffins and flowers, were covered by A.P Moller, a Danish shipping magnate.  Sergeant Michalski was awarded the Order of Virtuti Militari.

The German fighter, flown by Lieutenant Richard Burdyna from IV/NJG3, also crashed.  One report claims that it was hit by return fire from the Wellington, but the general consensus is that the aircraft was circling the wreckage and flew into power cables, killing the pilot and his two crewmen.  The Polish dead are buried in Slagille Kirkegaard Cemetery, Denmark and the German crew were interred in Vestre Cemetery, Copenhagen, Denmark.

The seventh member of the crew, Sergeant  Roman Puchala, suffered only minor head injuries and escaped across the fields and was sheltered on a local farm, where he was captured after a few hours. He was initially taken to Dulag Luft, a Luftwaffe transit camp  near Frankfurt am Main, Germany for interrogation and then on to Stalag Luft VI Gross Tychow, near Tychowo, Poland..  Finally, he went to Stalag 357 at Fallingbostel  in Lower Saxony, Germany. 

NIKODEM MATYLIS

He was a pilot, born on 16th May 1913;  he survived the War and was killed when his Handley Page Halifax crashed during a training flight at Lawshall Green, Suffolk on 23rd August 1946.  Pilot error was the reason given for the accident.  He is buried at Newark upon Trent Cemetery.  He was awarded the silver cross of the Order of Virtuti Militari Silver Cross, 5th class whilst serving with 305 Squadron and he won the Cross of Valour three times.


BOLESLAW ROBERT MATUSZEWSKI



He was a navigator, born on 28th November 1910 (one source gives his birth date as 28th February 1912) and known to be in service on 8th July 1943 and killed on a mission over the Bay of Biscay on H576 on 22nd August 1943, shot down by a night fighter crewed by Oberleutnant Kurt Necesany and Lt. Lothar Wolff of 14/KG 40 130Km west of Cape Ortegal, Spain.


Photo courtesy of ARS Group

LUDWIK ZDZISLAW MASLANKA



He was a navigator, born on 9th July 1911 at Lwow and killed on the way to an anti-submarine sweep when HX384 was struck by ferocious cross winds on 12th August 1942.  It was blown over the cliffs by the runway at RAF Dale.  He is buried at Newark upon Trent Cemetery.  He was awarded the Krzyz Walechznych (Cross of Valour) by Air Vice Marshal Ujejski on 21st November 1941; he won this medal four times and was also awarded the Silver Cross of the Order of Virtuti Militari

Photo courtesy of www.polishairforce

RUDOLF MARCZAK

He was a pilot, born on 6th May 1917 and is believed to have been awarded the Order of Virtuti Militari.

On 2nd February 1945, he attacked a U – Boat in the Irish Sea with depth charges; the results are not known.   However, there is an uncorroborated statement in “The Airmen” by Roger Horky, that this U-Boat was sunk.  On 2nd April 1945 he attacked a U-boat south west of Ireland and dropped depth charges, on a rapidly submerging submarine, from about 130 feet.  A large patch of oil was seen but no debris appeared.  Subsequent examination of German records showed that at the same time and in the same location (50.00N by 12.57W), U321 was lost on its first patrol.  The entire crew of 41 were killed.

He survived the war and died on 13th September 1969 at Wigan, Lancashire (now Greater Manchester).

JOZEF JAWOROSZUK

He was a radio operator and was born on 26th November 1916.  Returning from a raid on Manheim, On 8th November 1941, because of strong headwinds the aircraft was out of fuel and the pilot attempted to land his plane on an airfield in Belgium.  He landed at St Trond near Liege, which was a Luftwaffe fighter base.  The crew all survived and were taken Prisoner of War, but not before destroying all papers that might be useful to the Germans and then setting the aircraft on fire.  One of the crew (Jerzy Tomasz Mondschein) was later executed by the Gestapo in the aftermath of The Great Escape from Sagan.  

JERZY MAJEWSKI


He was a navigator, born on 11th March 1913 in Elizawetgradzie (now known as Kirowograd) near Odessa.The Jego rodzice (Artur - agrotechnik - i Zofia z domu Gruszecka) wyjechali do Rosji, gdyż ojciec otrzymał tam posadę.Tfamily left for Russia, because his father received a job there. Później rodzina powróciła do Polski, gdzie Jerzy Majewski uczęszczał do szkół - w Zakopanem, Białymstoku iw końcu we Lwowie. Later the family returned to Poland, where he was educated and graduated with an engineering degree in 1938.  After graduation he was conscripted and served in the Reserve Officers School of Communication at Zegrze close to Warsaw.

As a soldier, at the beginning of the war, he was posted to the airport at Lvov.  After the Russian invasion, he was evacuated to Romania where he was interned.  He escaped on the first night and made his way, through Jugoslavia, to Marseille, France and on to the Polish base at Lyon-Bron then on again to Normandy where he took on civilian work after being demobilised in May 1940.  The reason for this is not given.

After the Fall of France, he moved into Vichy territory where he worked for two years as a tennis coach and worked his way through University at Grenoble, where he gained another degree in electrical engineering.  At this time, he was active in the French Resistance.  At the end of 1942 he decided to re-enlist in the Polish military and, in the summer of 1943, he was sent to Canada for training at the British Gunnery School No 1 in Jarvis, Ontario.  He trained as a gunner and bomb aimer on Avro Ansons, Westland Lysanders, Fairey Battles and Bristol Bolingbrokes.  Subsequently he went to Malton, Ontario for navigator training at No 1 Air Observation School and the General Reconnaissance School on Prince Edward Island, the smallest of Canada’s Provinces.

In October 1944 he returned to Britain and was posted to RAF Silloth, where he trained on Wellingtons.  In December 1944 he was posted to 304 Squadron who were then at RAF Benbecula carrying out anti-submarine patrols.  On his ninth mission, in April 1945, his crew attacked a U-Boat and observed oil on the surface of the sea; they were credited with probable damage.  This was the last ever attack by 304 Squadron on a U-Boat.

He remained with the squadron until he was demobilised at the end of 1946.  He was awarded the Cross of Valour and the Bronze Cross of Merit with Swords.  He decided to return to Poland and arrived back in Gdansk on 23rd July 1947.

He settled in Krakow and worked as a designer of high voltage electricity grids and won the highly prestigious State Prize for the first 400Kv network near Wroclaw.  He then worked as a university lecturer in the faculty of electrical engineering.  He died in Krakow on 24th March 1980 at the age of 67 and was buried in Rakowicki Cemetery where all allied airmen shot down and killed over Poland are now buried.  He was awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Poland.

Photo © www.polishairforce

STEFAN MAGDZIAREK

He was an air gunner, born on 4th July 1920 in Poznan and known to be in service on 8th July 1943.  His Air Force career began in Swiecie in 1938 and he escaped to Britain via Romania and France.  After training he was allocated to 315 Squadron and later transferred to  304 Squadron.

He was killed on a special operations mission to Poland, flying with 1586 Flight.  He was on a Liberator BZ949 which was heavily iced up and was attempting an emergency landing at Grotaglia, Italy when it crashed in the mountains near Villa Castelli on 6th January 1944; the whole crew were lost.  He is buried in the British Military Cemetery in Casamassima near Bari.

JOZEF PAWEL MACZYNSKI


He was a navigator, born on 14th July 1917 and posted in from RAF Bramcote on 20th June 1941; he was killed when DV423 was shot down by a night fighter on a mission to Wilhelmshaven on 10th January 1942.  He had previously survived the crash of X3164 on 30th November 1941.  In Luftwaffe records it was claimed by Oberleutnant Rudolph Schoenert of 5/NJG2 10 kilometres north of Nordeney at 23.15hrs at an altitude of 5,000 metres (about 16,500 feet).
Photo © ARS Group

ALOJZY LOZOWICKI

He was a pilot and was born on 24th May 1915.  He was posted in to the Squadron on 20th June 1941 from RAF Bramcote.  He survived the crash landing of R1413 on 1st October 1941 at Micklefield, West Yorkshire and the crash landing of DV437 at March, Cambridgeshire on 12th April 1942.  The latter was following an abortive attack on the Krupps works at Essen.  En route, Sergeant Lozowicki and his crew fought off an attack by two Messerschmidt Me110 fighters and were unable to hit the primary target.  In spite of engine trouble, he still managed to bomb a Luftwaffe aerodrome at Dinant, France before limping home.  He was posted out to the Polish Depot at Squires Gate on 8th August 1942 pending a medical board following his injuries in the crash landing at March.  He was awarded the Krzyz Walechznych (Cross of Valour) by Air Vice Marshal Ujejski on 21st November 1941.

BOHDAN PIOTR RUSLAW LIPSKI

He was a radio operator and was born on 30th March 1916.  He survived the crash of W5627 on a mission to Cologne on 28th April 1942; the aircraft was shot down on its way home and crashed near Chatel-Censoir,  France.  He was made a Prisoner of War and was interned in camps L3 & 4B.  There are reports that Sgt Lipski was killed in this crash but the RAF records, the Lost Bombers website and Mariusz Konarski all state that he was interned.  Konarski states that the aircraft crashed in Spain but this seems unlikely as it was on its way home from Cologne.  The survival theory gains strength from the record of a death of Bohdan Lipski ( with the same service number) in Swindon, Wiltshire in April 1984, with a birth date one day earlier than the one given above.

MARIAN LEWANDOWSKI

He was an air gunner, born on 20th November 1919.  Returning from a raid on Manheim, On 8th November 1941, the aircraft was out of fuel and the pilot attempted to land his plane on an airfield in Belgium.  He landed at St Trond near Liege, which was a Luftwaffe fighter base.  The crew all survived and were taken prisoner, but not before destroying all papers that might be useful to the Germans and they set the aircraft on fire.  Sgt Lewandowski was confined to hospital because of his injuries; he escaped and made it back home.

He survived the war and changed his name to Elson; he was last heard of in Tollerton, Nottinghamshire in 1975.  

EDMUND ANDRZEJ LADRO

He was born on 17th July 1913  and he was awarded the Polish Krzyz Walechznych (Cross of Valour) on 21st November 1942 by Air Vice Marshal Ujejski, and the Distinguished Flying Cross.  On 26th October 1941,  W5720 was hit by flak and crashed into the sea.  After many hours in the water, all but one of the crew was rescued; this flier survived the crash but F/O Stenocki was killed.  By 5th January 1942 (F/O) Ladro’s rank is reported as P/O and he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant on 6th February 1942.  On February 9th 1943 he was jumped by 4 Junkers Ju 88s and successfully evaded them for almost an hour; his rear gunner accurately fired into the attackers (even though he was wounded) and their distress signals were picked up and a group of Bristol Beaufighters arrived and shot down at least 3 of the German aircraft.  This battle was fought almost at sea level and the aircraft was riddled with machine gun bullet holes and was hit by a single 20mm cannon shell which ripped away a 6 foot section of the starboard wing.  He was awarded the Order of Virtuti Militari Silver Cross, 5th class.
               
He died in July 1996 in Windermere, Cumbria.

TADEUSZ JAN KWAK

He was a pilot, born on 29th November 1911 and killed on X9829 which was shot down by a night fighter near the estuary of the River Ems close to Manslagt, during a raid on Rostock on 24th April 1942.  Luftwaffe records show that it was shot down by Hauptman Hans-Georg Schutze. He flew with 4/NJG2; shot down and confimed Wellington 304 squadron X9829 at 03.37 hrs over the River Ems near Pilum, 15 kilometres North West of Emden.  Hauptman Schutze was killed shortly afterwards in air combat on the 17/18th May 1942. He was credited with 5 kills, this Wellingtom was his 4th.   He is buried in the Sage War Cemetery, Oldenburg, Germany.

BOLESLAW KUZIAN



He was posted in from RAF Swinderby on 21st June 1941 and died on 18th July 1941 and is buried in Newark upon Trent Cemetery.  He was killed on N2840 (which was borrowed from 301 Squadron) when it was shot down by a German intruder at Cowtham House Farm, Balderton near Newark, Nottinghamshire.  It was returning from a bombing raid to Rotterdam. 

Photo courtesy of ARS Group

Saturday, 20 March 2010

BRONISLAW KUSZCZYNSKI


He was a pilot, born on 30th April 1905 at Dobra near Lodz and killed when R1392 crashed near Darwell Hole, Brightling, Sussex, on 28th May 1941, after having been hit by flak over Boulogne.  He is buried in Newark Cemetery.  He was awarded the Cross of Valour posthumously, for bravery in action, by Air Vice Marshal Ujejski on 28th June 1941.

Photo © ARS Group

PAWEL NAFTALI HIRSZ KUFLIK

He was a navigator, born 4th January 1923; he was Jewish and born in Cologne, Germany to a Polish family of German descent.  He trained at Eastbourne then the Air Observer School at RAF Jurby (Isle of Man) where he qualified as a navigator.  Then he went to Squires Gate at Blackpool for flying training.  After that he was posted to 6 OTU at RAF Silloth where the crews were assembled and he was finally posted to 304 Squadron in September 1943. 

Whilst returning from a U-Boat patrol over the Bay of Biscay on HF208 on 21st December 1943, the aircraft is thought to have been struck by lightning and went down in flames near Mount Brandon, Irish Republic.    He was not killed in the crash, but by exploding ammunition from the doomed aircraft. Pawel Kuflik was a Jewish volunteer, whose family had moved to the Netherlands to escape the Nazis.  He was laid to rest in the Jewish Cemetery at Carnmoney, Belfast.


FRANCISZEK KUBACIK


He was an air gunner, born on 9th May 1916 and was posted in from 18 OTU RAF Bramcote on 27th April 1942.  He was a crew member of a Wellington that was jumped by 6 Ju88 fighters whilst on anti-submarine patrol near Bishop Rock on 16th September 1942.  In a 12-15 minute battle, fought at 30 feet above sea level, this crew destroyed one enemy plane, saw large pieces break off the tailplane of another and scored hits on three more.  In return they had a two yard square section of wing torn off by cannon fire and their petrol tank was pierced.  They managed a power climb into the clouds and the action was broken off. He was killed on R1413 which was shot down by 3 Junkers Ju88 German fighters of V/KG40on 16th October 1942, whilst on patrol over the Bay of Biscay.

The fatal blow was delivered by Uffizier Steurich on the second attack after R1413’s rear gunner had knocked out one engine on the first attack by  Leutnant Dieter Meister, putting him out of the combat.

Photo © ARS Group

JOZEF KRZYWONOS


He was born on 12th February 1920 in Przemysl where he was educated and finally graduated in 1938.  His interest in aviation developed whilst he was still a teenager.  Because of financial difficulties, he could not continue his education to university leveland so he applied to join the aviation school in Warsaw.  He was accepted and, from January 1939, he trained as a technical officer.

On the outbreak of war he was evacuated to Romania and arrived at Tulcei where he learned that he would be interned and decided to make a break.  He returned to Poland and went to live with his paternal grandparents for a while and then he moved on to Bucharest and travelled by rail through Jugoslavia and Italy to France.  He arrived there on 4th February 1940 and was sent to the Polish Depot at Lyon-Bron.  Three months later he was transferred to Versailles where he learned the principles of radio and Morse code.

On the fall of France he went to La Rochelle and, in June 1940, he managed to find a ship to Plymouth in England.  He was sent to an infantry base near Biggar in Scotland and he objected because he was an aviator.  He was given 14 days in the glasshouse but served only seven and then, by a circuitous route, he managed to get to the Polish Depot in Blackpool during November 1940.

He was allocated to 309 army co-operation Squadron at Renfrew in Scotland after some time there, he moved on to RAF Cranwell in February 1942.  He took a shortened officer training course and passed out as best man on his intake.  In September 1942 he was assigned to 304 Squadron at RAF Dale as signals officer.

He was promoted to Pilot Officer on 1st October 1942 and moved on to 318 fighter Squadron in charge of maintenance of radio and navigation equipment.  His next move was to Port Said in Egypt to prepare for the invasion of Italy.  He remained with this squadron until August 1946 when they returned to England.  He had married an Italian lady and stayed behind pending his demobilization which occurred on 1st May 1947.  Unwilling to return to Poland, he applied to live in South Africa but was refused entry and so he moved to Argentina.  He took a job with Alpha Airlines as a communications technician on flying boats.

He moved on to the United States of America in 1959 and eventually took out a private pilot’s licence and settled in Shelburne, Vermont, USA.

Photo © ARS Group

TADEUSZ KRZYWON


He was a radio operator/air gunner, born on 6th June 1913 in Cieszyn.  On 26th October 1941, W5720 was hit by flak and crashed into the sea.  After many hours in the water, all but one of the crew was rescued; this flier survived the crash but F/O Stenocki was killed.  Sgt Krzywon was later killed on HF198 which crashed on 14th January 1944.  He won the Cross of Valour three times. 

Photo © ARS Group

LUCJAN KRETOWICZ

Tadeusz Krzystek lists him as a pilot with 304 Squadron but it is unclear whether this was before or after his stint flying special operations with 1586 Flight. He was born on 27th July 1913 and prior to the war he was a navigator with 217 Bomber Squadron, flying on the PZL37 Moose mainly .

On 16th August 1944 he was on board Handley Page Halifax JP220 on a mission out of RAF Brindisi in Italy.  This was a supply drop to the Polish resistance fighters during the Warsaw uprising.  As the supplies were being offloade, the aircraft was hit by flak, losing two engines and catching fire.  The pilot crash landed the aircraft near Bochnia in Poland and all but one of the crew survived, evaded capture and made it back to England in April 1945.  Stefan Bohanes (the crew member who was killed) was also an ex-304 Squadron member so it is more likely that Kretowicz was with the squadron before this flight.

He survived the war and was last heard of in England in 1947.

STANISLAW KRAWCZYK

He was born on 10th October 1912 and killed on 1st November 1942 in the crash of R1716 on patrol over the Bay of Biscay.  German records show that it was shot down by Hauptman Hein-Horst Hissbach of 15/KG40 west south west of Brest, France at 16.56hrs.  Previously, on 5th May 1942, serving with 305 Squadron on a mission to Stuttgart, his aircraft was hit by flak and he was wounded.  He gave his parachute to another crew member who was without one, then made an emergency landing at Mettet near Namur in Belgium.  In spite of his injuries, he successfully escaped back to England.  For these courageous actions he was awarded the Virtuti Militari (5th Class) which is the Polish equivalent of the Victoria Cross.

JERZY KRANC


He was born on 24th May 1909 at Brzezno, Konin District and in November 1927, he was accepted at the Officer Cadet School in Ostro-Komorowo.  In August 1930 he was promoted to second lieutenant and was posted to 58 Infantry Regiment as a platoon leader.  During the first half of 1933 he trained as an observer at the Air Officers Training School in Deblin.  In 1935/36 he was under training in the 2nd Air Wing at Krakow and then joined an air officers corps where he served in various capacities until he was accepted at the War College at Rembertow.

He was only there for three days (probably because of the imminence of the German Invasion) before being posted to II Bomber squadron where he took up the post of tactical officer.  He fought for the 17 days after the German invasion until Russia attacked from the rear.  At this time, he made his escape through Romania and reached the Polish Depot at Lyon-Bron, France on 16th November 1939.  He became a navigation instructor in the Polish Air Force in exile and remained as such until the French capitulation when he made his way to England.

On arrival in England he did conversion training and then served with 309 Squadron which, at that time were flying Westland Lysanders – probably on army co-operation duties.  He then moved to 304 Squadron; the date is uncertain but Marius Konarski lists him as a Squadron Leader with the squadron on 8th July 1943.  He became Squadron Commander on 10th April 1944 and held that post until 2nd January 1945.

He was not just nominal flight crew; he flew with his men on many occasions, sometimes as a supernumerary observer and sometimes as a navigator in the regular crew.  For his efforts, he was awarded the Cross of Valour, for bravery in action, by Air Vice Marshal Ujejski on 28th June 1941 and the Order of Virtuti Militari on 21st November 1941 also by Air Vice Marshal Ujejski.  He won the Cross of Valour on three other occasions.

His next move was to the Air Academy and on graduation, in September 1945, he was posted to the Polish Airforce HQ as the official Liaison Officer to the Navy.  Then from 14th May 1946 he served with BAFO 2 (British Air Forces of Occupation) Group HQ.

Sadly, on demobilisation from the Air Force, he returned to Poland and died in 1960 at the relatively young age of 51.  

EDWARD KOWALSKI


He was a navigator, born on 14th September 1919 at Ziemiany k. Lowicza  and killed on Z1088 which disappeared on a mission to Cologne on 28th April 1942.  It is believed to have been shot down near Villers la Ville, Belgium.  He is buried in Charleroi Communal Cemetery, Hainaut, Belgium.

Photo © ARS Group

ZYGMUNT KOWALEWICZ



He was a pilot, born on 15th August 1915 and was among the crew of a Wellington that was jumped by 6 Ju88 fighters whilst on anti-submarine patrol near Bishop Rock on 16th September 1942.  In a 12-15 minute battle, fought at 30 feet above sea level, this crew destroyed one enemy plane, saw large pieces break off the tailplane of another and scored hits on three more.  In return they had a two yard square section of wing torn off by cannon fire and their petrol tank was pierced.  They managed a power climb into the clouds and the action was broken off.

He survived the war and settled in England, changing his name to Kay.  He died in Blackpool on 21st August 2002.

PAWEL KOWALEWICZ

He was a radio operator, born on 9th February 1917 at Piaski Stare near Krakow or Lodz (there are at least three places of that name).  He was killed on HF208 on 21st December 1943. Whilst returning from a U-Boat patrol over the Bay of Biscay, the aircraft is thought to have been struck by lightning and went down in flames near Mount Brandon, Irish Republic.  He is buried in Milltown Cemetery, Belfast.  The bodies of the crew were thrown clear and were not burned; they had been killed by exploding ammunition.  They were given an  honour guard by the Irish army and their bodies were handed over to the British authorities at the border.


ANTONI KOSTURKIEWICZ


He was a pilot, born on 16th January 1914.  On the outbreak of war, in September 1939, he was flying reconnaissance and bombing missions in PZL23B Karas with 22 Eskadra Bombowa.  He was known to be in service on 5th January 1942.  He was promoted to Flight Sergeant on 12th February 1942 and accidentally killed on Z1072 on 11th July 1942.  Buried at Newark upon Trent Cemetery .  He is known to have won the Distinguished Flying Medal, the Cross of Valour (four times) and he was awarded the silver cross of the Order of Virtuti Militari on 21st November 1941 by Air Vice Marshal Ujejski.  During March 1942 he was seconded to Boscombe Down for “Experimental flying” – there was no further explanation given but this is believed to be a secondment to 18 OTU.

Photo © ARS Group

MARIAN WALENTY KOSTUCH


He survived the crash of R1268 near Edmondsley, Co Durham on 14th December 1940.  He was badly injured and did not return to the squadron for flying duties until 17th March 1941.  He is believed to have transferred to 301 Squadron and he was later awarded the Order of Virtuti Militari Silver Cross, 5th class and the British DFC.  Little is known of his service after that except that he was posted to 300 Squadron on 21st March 1945 from the Polish Depot at Blackpool.

He was born on 6th December 1908 and served as an Observer; he died on 26th June 1993 in Lodz, Poland.  New  evidence suggests that he was the leader of A Flight in 300 Squadron at the end of the War and that he was the recipient of the DFC.

Photo courtesy of Chris Kropinski