Friday, 19 March 2010


He was born on 4th October 1916.  On the outbreak of war,he was posted to Warsaw-Okecie airport;he was already a trained soldier with a speciality in radio telegraphy and radio location.  He was transferred to the airfield at Zielonka, near Warsaw, where there were two squadrons of fighters deployed to defend the city against aerial attack..  It was a hopeless situation with no back up aircraft, no spares and problems with fuel supplies.  They could only expect to hold out for a few days, especially  because of the sheer strength and technical superiority of the Luftwaffe, before  they had to withdraw.

When the Russians invaded on 17th September, they retreated to Romania, where , in spite of prior assurances, their weapons and equipment were taken away and the men interned.

He was sent to the camp at Turgu-Jiu  near Turnu-Severin in southern Romania.  With help from British and French agents, he escaped and travelled through Jugoslavia and Greece and then by sea to Marseille, France.

He was assigned to the air force base at Lyon-Bron but was quickly disillusioned when he found they were short of beds, blankets and uniforms.  Their living quarters were cold and without hot water; they had to wash their clothes in the river.  The worst part of all was the boredom and inability to get back in the war to fight the Germans..  He was unimpressed with the French and did not believe that they could win the war.

With many others, he quickly volunteered to go to England to join a bomber squadron; he was selected and was posted to RAF Eastchurch where his first task was to learn rudimentary English.  This was a large air force base but was not yet in operational use.  He was happy that Poles who had gone before had organised all the things that were missing in the French base and he was more impressed with the organisation and discipline.

Some time in late 1940, he was sent to RAF Blackpool and later transferred to 304 Squadron where he worked on maintenance of radio equipment.  In May 1942 he was moved to RAF Tiree in the Hebrides and shortly afterwards to RAF Dale.

In March 1943, he was given training in Radar, a new invention that had not previously been entrusted to “foreigners”.  He was selected because of his existing radio skills and his good English.  At this time Radar was so secret that the examination papers and course notes were taken away and destroyed as soon as the men passed the test.

In August 1944, he took part in a hunger strike organised by Poles to persuade their leaders to take action to support the Warsaw Uprising and for 304 Squadron to be involved. 

In September 1944 he was transferred to RAF Benbecula in the Hebrides, where he suffered adverse weather conditions, discomfort and accommodation in Nissen huts and yet his only complaint was that he could not understand the local Scottish accents!

In March 1945 he transferred to RAF St Eval in Cornwall where he stayed until the Squadron was assigned to Transport Command. 

He re-established contact with his family in Poland early in 1947 and returned home to Poland by sea from Edinburgh on 5th September 1947.

This may not be the most exciting story but it is the fullest that I have been able to uncover on the wartime experiences of any member of the Polish ground crew who were vital to keep the aircraft flying.

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