Friday, 22 October 2010


He was a pilot, born on 31st March 1918 at Zagorzycach near Krakow.

In 1936 he qualified as a glider pilot at Ustianowa and in 1939 he was assigned to the Air Reserve Officers School at Sadkow near Radom and later the Air Observers School in Deblin After the outbreak he was captured by the Russians but he escaped and travelled via Kaunas (Lithuania), Riga (Latvia), Stockholm (Sweden) and Oslo (Norway) to France where he joined L’Armee de l’Air at Lyon-Bron.

After the fall of France he escaped to England and joined the Polish forces at the Blackpool Depot, where he trained as a radio operator. On 20th August 1941 he was promoted to Flying Officer and posted to 304 Squadron. On 24th April 1942 he made his first combat mission to bomb the docks at Rostock. He flew 47 missions over Germany and Occupied Europe and was promoted to Flight Lieutenant.

In the summer of 1943 he finally achieved his ambition and was sent for pilot training; he qualified in October 1944. During his war service he was awarded the Silver Cross of the Order of Virtuti Militari as well as the Cross of Valour three times and the British DFC.

After the war he settled in Britain and remained with the RAF as an instructor until December 1948 when he was recruited, on a three year contract, into the Pakistan Air Force. During 1948/49 he fought in the first Kashmir War. He was in a transport squadron based at Peshawar, flying Douglas Dakotas. After his contract expired he worked as a pilot for Orient Airways (now known as Pakistan International Airlines).

In 1952 he married an American woman and, the following year, he moved to America where he worked as a salesman for Encyclopaedia Britannica, an insurance salesman and a bus driver.

On 28th November 1992 celebrations were held, by the Polish Embassy in San Francisco, for the bicentenery of the inception of the Order of Virtuti Militari. He was one of four Cavaliers of the Order to be awarded honorary citizenship of the Sate of California.

He had three brothers; one was killed whilst on Special Duties flights in support of the Warsaw Uprising, another was killed fighting with the Armia Krajowa at Wilno (now Vilnius, Lithuania) and the third survived the war whilst fighting with the RAF.


According to the list of Tadeusz Krzystek, he was on board R1072 when it crashed on 11th July 1942 but he is not listed as being on that aircraft in other sources and is not mentioned on the Squadron ORB. This is a bit of a mystery, but there were unofficial passengers on board and, as he was unhurt, he may not have reported his presence, possibly to avoid disciplinary action.

He died in North Scituate, Providence, Rhode Island, USA on 1st July 2006 and, in accordance with his wishes, his ashes were buried in the Military Cemetery at Warsaw on 12th September 2006. He was accorded full military honours.

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