Friday, 15 October 2010


He was a navigator, born on 4th September 1907 at Skierniewice. On 1st September 1927, he joined the Infantry Officers School in Ostrow Mazowiecka. After a three years he qualified and was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on 15th August 1930. He was posted to 28 Infantry Regiment in Lodz. He was promoted to Lieutenant on 1st September 1933. Immediately prior to the war (November 1937 until August 1939 he was commander of II platoon, 59 Squadron. On 3rd November 1933 he began Officer Training at the Deblin Aviation School Application taking a 9 month observer (navigator) course. He qualified in August 1934 and was posted to 55 Squadron within the 5th Air Regiment in Lida flying on the Potez XXV, a French built single engined two seat bi-plane. He soon moved to 56 Squadron where he was flying on the Lublin XIIIC army co-operation plane.

Between September and November 1936 he worked in the personnel section of the 5th Air Regiment, later returning to 55 Squadron as a tactical officer. In August 1937, he was transferred to 59 squadron at Lida, where he commanded II platoon. He was promoted to Captain on 26th April 1939 and given the post of Commander of the NCO School at Lida. On 24th August 1939 he was given command of the squadron’s base school.

After the outbreak of the war he remained at Lida throughout the heavy bombing of that aerodrome; he was ordered to evacuate to Romania on 17th September 1939 but because of the great distance and the entry of Russia into the war, he chose to escape to Latvia. On the following day they crossed the border at Turmonty and were interned at Daugavpils and, from 21st September 1939, at Liepaja. On 17th November he was transferred to a camp at Ulbroka near Riga. He escaped from the camp and got to Riga and the Polish section of the British embassy where he obtained travel papers for himself and his family.

As a result, he was able to leave Latvia and head for Sweden; from there he flew from Stockholm to Norway and on 30th December 1939, he made it to England. On 13th February 1940 he joined the Polish Air Force at RAF Eastchurch on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent. His first task was to learn English and then, in the early summer of 1940, he was moved to the Polish Depot in Blackpool to be out of reach (or at the maximum range) of German bombers.

On 5th August 1940 he was sent to 1 Air Observer Navigation School at RAF Prestwick in Ayrshire, Scotland and after successfully completing the course, he went to 18OTU at RAF Bramcote near Nuneaton in Warwickshire for his operational training. He actually completed this training with 12OTU at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire. He was then posted to 304 Squadron, reporting for duty on 24th July 1941.

He spent months bombing targets in France, Belgium and Germany and on the night of 9/10 March 1942 he was bombing the Krupps armament factory in Essen. The mission was successful but bad weather meant they were unable to locate their home base and landed at RAF Oakington in Cambridgeshire. Whilst parked, their aircraft (Wellington R1602) was struck by another aircraft and was totally burnt out.

He was killed when X9764 was shot down by a night fighter near Geetbetz, Belgium on 6th April 1942. Luftwaffe records show that they were detected by radar and pusued by a Messerschmidt Bf110; they were shot down by Oberleutnant Heinrich Petersen and Feldwebel Leidenbach of 6/NJG1 Geerbetz 10 KM North West of Sint Trond at 02.28hrs. Their port engine was hit by a burst of close range gunfire and immediately burst into flames and they crashed within a few minutes. He received head wounds and died in the arms of Belgian citizens at the scene of the crash.

He was buried Sint Trond but later exhumed and reburied at Heverlee War Cemetery, Leuven, Belgium. He was awarded the Krzyz Walechznych (Cross of Valour) by Air Vice Marshal Ujejski on 21st November 1941; he also won this decoration on another occasion. He was a married man (having married Elizabeth Michalowska on 15th June 1937) with one son, Thomas.

Photo © ARS Group

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