Thursday, 9 December 2010


He was a pilot, born on 1st February 1915 in Krakow and trained at the Air Force Academy at Deblin between 1935/39; he was in service, on the outbreak of war, with 21 Bomber Squadron as a cadet pilot flying PZL23B Karas during the September Campaign.

He escaped from Poland via Romania and served with L’Armee de l’Air in France prior to coming to England; this photograph was taken in Toulouse in 1940.

After his arrival in England he was sent for operational training before being attached to 304 Squadron fling missions mostly over Germany. Whilst returning from a raid on Manheim, On board Wellington R1215 on 8th November 1941, the aircraft experienced problems with its navigational systems and the pilot attempted to land his plane on an airfield in Belgium. He successfully landed at St Trond near Liege, which was a Luftwaffe fighter base. The crew all survived and were made Prisoners of War, but not before destroying all papers that might be useful to the Germans and then setting the aircraft on fire causing the fuel tanks and ammunition to explode.

He was held in Stalag Luft III at Zagan in Poland and wrote an excellent narrative of the events leading up to The Great Escape and its aftermath, including the return of the ashes of the executed escapees – including his fellow crew member, Jery Tomasz Mondschein. This, and much more can be seen on which is an excellent website created by his nephew Andrzej Kalus.

He was awarded the Cross of Valour, for bravery in action, by Air Vice Marshal Ujejski on28th June 1941. He also won the Order of Virtuti Militari and the French Croix de Guerre with two stars for mentions in dispatches, the Cross of Valour three times and various Polish and British campaign medals.

He survived the war and emigrated to San Francisco, California, USA; he was last heard of in Paradise, California, USA in 1999 but it is now known that he died there on 16th March 2010; he was cremated in Martinez, California and his ashes were returned to the Powazki Cemetery in Warsaw for burial on 23rd September 2010.
Photo courtesy of Andrzej Kalus


Anonymous said...

Thanks for mentioning this. If you allow I will forward your website address to the ┼╗agan Museum (the Great Escape POW camp currently within Polish territory)- also worth seeing...

if you need help with Polish texts- contact me at

Anonymous said...