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 16th September 1942.
On that date he was a serving crew member on a Wellington that was jumped by 6 Junkers Ju88 fighters whilst on anti-submarine patrol near Bishop Rock.At their briefing they were informed that a new squadron of long range fighters had been seen in their patrol area on the previous day and had shot down a British Whitley and a Czech Wellington.To prepare for the eventuality of an attack, they decided to patrol at an altitude of 2,000 feet so they could quickly drop to sea level to protect themselves from an attack from below.
They had been patrolling off the coast of Spain when they saw four aircraft patrolling and they immediately dropped to an altitude of 500 feet.As soon as they were identified as German, the pilot dropped down to 50 feet; at this time they were aware of the presence of six fighters.They were attacked by three Ju88s in turn on the front left side and were flying between 15 and 50 feet above the sea.They were then attacked by two more from the front right side.They were hit and the fuselage filled with smoke but there was no fire.They managed a power climb into the clouds and the action was broken off
In a 12-15 minute battle, fought at an average of 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 one yard by two yards section of wing torn off by cannon fire and their petrol tank was pierced in four places.They counted at least forty three machine gun and cannon hits on the aircraft including four to the fuel tank and nine to the right engine. Amazingly, none of the crew were injured.He stayed with 304 Squadron until the end of the war and flew a total of 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.
I am a local historian who got involved with the Polish Air Force because one of their aircraft fell out of the sky near the village where I was born. That was in December 1940 and I never even heard of it until September of 2007. It started as a local history project, then snowballed into an obsession as I realised the huge contribution made by Polish exiles who fought for our freedom. I never realised just how big was the Polish contribution, nor how badly the British and Americans treated them at the end of the War - just to appease Joseph Stalin's territorial ambitions - a matter of expediency taking precedence over decency and with no justifiable reason.
Now that all, or almost all, of these Polish heroes are dead, it is not too late to ensure that these brave men are remembered and that those memories are preserved forever. It's time the British showed the Poles that some of us remember and appreciate just how much they did for us. They fought, and very often died, for our freedom - and we owe them a debt of honour.