Saturday, 2 October 2010


He was born on 4th August 1920 in Stoczki near Lodz and he enrolled in the training school at Bydgoszcz in 1937 but his course was shortened due to the impendcing war; he qualified as an aircraft mechanic at Krosno in 1939.

He was evacuated from his base at Luck and crossed the border into Romania. He travelled on to France via Syria and stayed there until the capitulation was imminent and he came to Britain in May 1940. Once here, he trained as an air gunner at 18OTU at Bramcote near Nuneaton, Warwickshire and was posted to 304 Squadron on 30th September 1941 when they were based at RAF Lindholme in Yorkshire and still part of Bomber Command. He completed 50 missions with the squadron (17 with Bomber Command).

Early in 1943 he was posted back to the Blackpool Depot as a rest from operational flying and to re-train as a pilot. However he did not complete this training before the war ended. He was discharged in early 1947 and settled in Blackpool where he started his own upholstery business.

After the war he was also known under the name Piekarski-King (although he actually changed his name to King). He died in Blackpool on 10th February 2005; he is buried in the Polish plot at Carleton Cemetery. His son, also Marian but known simply as Roy King, became one of England’s foremost archers and bowmakers. Marian junior died in November 2009 and in his obituary, in the Daily Telegraph, it states that his father was a rear gunner who survived being shot down in a Wellington bomber – but there is no further information included.

In fact this occurred on 31st May 1942 when Wellington DV781 lost both engines and was forced to ditch in the sea – this was the first time one of the squadron’s aircraft had ditched whilst they were in Coastal Command. The crew were all safe and were rescued by the destroyer HMS Boadicea. At some stage he was awarded the Silver Cross of the Order of Virtuti Militari, the Cross of Valour three times and the Air Medal.

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