Sunday, 3 October 2010


He was born on 29th November 1920 in Gorzkowice near Lodz and in 1937 he joined the training school in Bydgoszcz. His course was shortened by the impending war and he qualified as a wireless operator at Krosno in 1939. He was evacuated from his base at Luck to Romania and made his way to France, arriving there in October 1939.

Once there he was placed under the command of Squadron Leader Jan Bialy (who later became the first Commanding Officer of 304 Squadron) and was based at St Jaques aerodrome near Rennes where it was intended to form a squadron of bombers. However, France capitulated in June 1940 and he was moved to Casablanca in Morocco and from there he took a ship to Glasgow, where he arrived on 17th July 1940. He was sent to the Polish Depot at Blackpool and did further training before being posted to 304 Squadron at RAF Bramcote near Nuneaton in Warwickshire in March 1941.

On 14th July 1941 his aircraft, R1002 (NZ – L), was on a mission to Bremen and was hit by flak; he survived the crash landing near Stiffkey, Norfolk but was seriously injured. He returned to duty early in 1942. He also survived the crash landing of R1697 at RAF Lindholme on 24th April 1942 following a mission to Rostock. The aircraft jettisoned its bombs from 16,500 feet over Flensburg, following a surprise attack by a Messerschmidt Me110 fighter. The aircraft was damaged and the pilot (Squadron Leader Czetowicz) and rear gunner (P/O Apanasik) were struck by bullets but all survived.

In May 1943, after 42 operational missions, he was posted back to the Blackpool Depot for a rest from operational flying and in December of that year he was medically grounded and given a desk job at the Polish Headquarters in London. He had been decorated with the Silver Cross of the Order of Virtuti Militari on 21st November 1941 by Air Vice Marshal Ujejski, the Cross of Valour on 28th June 1941 and two subsequent occasions and the Air Medal four times. He was finally discharged in 1948.

He took a job in the motor industry and retired in 1982. He died on 29th May 2001 at Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire and was cremated at Boston crematorium.

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