Friday, 19 March 2010

JERZY GLEBOCKI

He was a pilot, born on 4th January 1913 and known to be in service on 8th July 1943.  In 1944, he wrote the following letter, poignant and melancholy, from RAF Benbecula:

 “ Our quaint little isle, inhospitable and unfriendly as it seemed at first has many hidden charms. As if nature herself in recompense for bad weather and rain, wanted in the rare moments of respite, to stun and intoxicate us. Morning rose like many others, bathed in misty drizzle. A new flight was already hovering somewhere out over the icy Atlantic, tracking German U-boats, waging a cunning and ingenious war against the inventive skill of German engineers, and against the U-boat Schnorkel. An almost hopeless war. So many flights endured in vain in this terribly difficult struggle. So many hundreds of hours of torture, vomiting, engines and crews dying in wild, devilish burst of squalls, in the cruel clutch of icing 500 feet over the raging Atlantic. Till finally one morning in the grey dawn “X”, for X-Ray, from our Squadron reported that he was attacking a streak of smoke ahead of him. A flame growing from the water. He knew that it was the first and probably the last chance for attack. The explosion and the plume of foam blotted out the scene. When the water settled there was on the spot of the attack an ever-widening patch of shiny oil. That was all. Hundreds of flying hours for an attack lasting a few seconds.  Night again lengthens and at last the wind falls. Slowly we leave the mess. This solitude on the island, this desertedness, this overlooking of all our work. The uncertainty of our fate and our morrow, and the wrong done against the living body of our nation, against all that is holy to us. What is the aim, the essence of this war? The wind catches our words and tosses them into space. We do not know whether it is the wind or the rain, or whether tears flow over our cheeks”.   (With thanks to www.scotsatwar.org)

He survived the war and, having returned to Scotland, died on 26th April 1988 in Kinross, north of Edinburgh and was cremated at Mortonhall crematorium.

5 comments:

Catherine said...

Very touched to find this. George and his family were our neighbours when I was growing up and I went to school with his kids. I knew he'd been in WW2 but hadn't seen this.

ARCHIVE said...

Thank you Catherine - this was written several years ago but there is much more to come. Jerzy Glebocki's story is in preparation and it will be featured here quite soon

Catherine said...

Great. I didn't know George very well, but they went to our church, and Monica & Andrew used to take me to school. I might even have an address for Monica somewhere if that would help.

ARCHIVE said...

That certainly would help. Anything that improves the story would be most welcome.

Anonymous said...

This is fascinating. I have found this page searching for Jerzy Glebocki, having read his account from life in a remote unnamed Hebridean island. Actually, it was published in Polish, in a volume of essays on the Polish pilots in RAF, published in Poland, 1958 (the story had title Wyspa Wiatru, Island of the Wind). Waiting for the story on your page!