Tuesday, 27 November 2012

HELP ME PLEASE

I have lost touch with a number of my regular correspondents - and I don't know why - so, if you have not heard from me in a while, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, contact me again.  I am talking to you, John A, Ryszard K, Damian, Beth and the Swedish Group - and others.  I have not abandoned contact with you!  Please get in touch!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

SPAM IS LOVELY

In line wth the title of this post, I really do like Spam - the processed meat wartime canned product - however, I really do despise spammers, which I interpret as the low life of the Internet.  Ironically, spam = scum and scum = lightwight floating material = another four letter word "S***".
 
This blog has been victimised by spammers who have posted advertising material for ladies clothing on the Obituary notice of the wife of a war hero, and equally obnoxious advertising on other posts.  I would love to name and shame you, but you have cleverly hidden your names behind anonymously illegitimate web identities, which follow complimentary comments on the blog.  Oh, how very subtle and clever you are not!
 
A well known Hotel chain is amongst you and they have persistently refused to respond to my emails, but be aware that I am gathering evidence to present to the International press and national consumer associations.  Oh, how CHEAP can you get?

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

LIPSKI

Would the grandson of Andrzej Lipski, please, contact me.  You have set the cat amongst the pigeons!  Please get in touch again on one of the email numbers shown on my site.  This is a mystery I would love to solve - and your Grandfather has a place of honour on my site.
 
Please get in touch, as I cannot contact anonymous commentators on my site.

Monday, 29 October 2012

EDWARD WRONA

WRONA L/Ac Edward P-782160
© Mme A Heritier

He was born on 6th October 1918 at Jaworzno, Upper Silesia, Poland. He escaped from Poland at towards the end of the September Campaign and made his way to France, via Romania, and Lebanon. On the capitulation of France, he escaped again and made his way to Scotland, probably by sea from Marseilles or St Jean de Luz – either way, a very hazardous journey.


He was a member of the ground crew (mechanic) who was on board R1413 when it crash landed at Micklefield, near Leeds, West Yorkshire on 1st October 1941, It was repaired but shot down over the Bay of Biscay on 16th October 1942 with the loss of the whole crew.

Unlike that bomber, he survived the war and he was thought to have returned to Poland in 1947 but his daughter, Aline, informed me that he was demobilised in that year and moved to Douai, near Lille, in Northern France. He lived there for the rest of his life; he died there on 29th August 1985. She also told me that he met her mother there during 1945-1946, which suggests that he left 304 Squadron and joined another Polish Squadron, operating as part of the 2nd Tactical Air Force (2TAF) following the Normandy landings after D-Day (6th June 1944).

The photograph shows a POLAND shoulder flash, which indicates that it was taken after he joined the exiled Polish forces in Great Britain.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

STANISLAW KIELTYKA IN ARGENTINA

KIELTYKA Sgt Stanislaw P-784039

He was a pilot, born on 1st January 1920, in Libusza, Gorlice County, Poland and known to have been in service on 8th July 1943 and on 17th July 1943 he baled out of Wellington Mk X HE304 which crashed near Ballickmoyler, Co Laois in the Irish Republic. He attacked a U–Boat on 12th February 1944. He survived the war and died in ARGENTINA on 26th July 2002.

If anyone can help with photographs or information on him and any of his fellow crew members please contact me on the number shown in contacts. I would be very happy to hear from anyone who knew him in Argentina and to give him a better entry in this tribute.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

MIKOLAJ PAWLUCZYK

He was born on 1st or 15th November 1914 (accounts vary) in Minsk, Russia and he joined the training school at Bydgoszcz in 1930 but appears to have failed the course as he was released after two years. In August 1939 he was conscripted and sent to 6 Air Regiment in Lwow. He was evacuated after the September Campaign and arrived in France in January 1940. He stayed there until the fall of France and arrived in Britain on 27th June 1940.

After a period of training he was posted to 307 Fighter Squadron on 27th September 1940 at RAF Kirton in Lindsey in Lincolnshire. He requested aircrew duties and began wireless operator training at the Blackpool Depot on 24th November 1941; he completed the course at 1 Signal School RAF Cranwell, Sleaford, Lincolnshire on 17th September 1942. Next day he went to 8 Air Gunnery School at RAF Evanton, Invergordon, Scotland where he qualified on 16th October 1942. On 16th December 1942 he went to 7 Signal School and then on to 6OTU at RAF Silloth in Cumberland (now Cumbria) for operational training. On 15th April 1943 he was posted to 304 Squadron at RAF Docking in Norfolk.

He was on board Wellington bomber HE304 on 17th July 1943 when it ran out of fuel on the return journey from the Bay of Biscay. The whole crew bailed out and landed safely at Carlow in the Irish Republic and the plane crashed near Ballickmoylar, County Laois. He managed to send out an SOS and three aircraft were sent out to look for them but they failed to find the crash because they were unable to violate Irish neutrality and the visibility was so poor.

I have not been able to trace his immediate movements after this, perhaps he was detained in Ireland for a while. However, I have traced a further 27 missions flown with 304 Squadron between December 1943 and June 1944, with a regular crew:

Some missions flown by Sgt Mikolaj Pawluczyk after the crash of Wellington HE304 in Ireland and with his new regular crew during his time in Coastal Command.

The normal crew referred to in this partial reconstruction of his missions was as follows: F/O L. Krempa, Sgt J. Zientek, P/O S. Sawicki, Sgt W. Szerszun, Sgt M. Pawluczyk and Sgt J. GumiƄski

19 Dec 43     Wellington XIV     2E (HF198)
Anti-submarine patrol      T.3 Percussion extended to 49.30N
Normal crew flying out of RAF Predannack

None of the crew on this mission were on board this aircraft when it crashed into the sea, for unknown reasons, on a training flight between RAF Predannack and Cardigan Bay (Wales), less than four weeks later, on 14th January 1944. All five crew were killed.

13/14 Jan 44    Night     Wellington XIV     2F (HF199)
Anti-submarine patrol T.3 Percussion
Normal crew flying out of RAF Predannack

20/21 Jan 44    Night     Wellington XIV     2R (HF275)
Anti-submarine patrol M.3 Percussion
Normal crew flying out of RAF Predannack

28/29 Jan 44    Night    Wellington XIV    2V (HF121)
Anti-submarine patrol N.1
Normal crew
Flying out of RAF Predannack

None of the crew on this mission were on board this aircraft when it was shot down on the night of 7/8 April 1944 whilst on patrol over the Bay of Biscay. The crew managed to send off an SOS call but all were killed. This was the second off last 304 Squadron plane to be lost to enemy action.

05/06 Feb 44    Night    Wellington XIV    2F (HF199)
Anti-submarine patrol M.2 Percussion
Normal crew flying out of RAF Predannack

08/09 Feb 44    Night    Wellington XIV    2G (HF202)
Anti-submarine patrol M.1 Percussion
Normal crew flying out of RAF Predannack

20/21 Feb 44    Night    Wellington XIV    2H (HF200)
Anti-submarine patrol Patrol No 2
Normal crew flying out of RAF Predannack

24/25 Feb 44    Night    Wellington XIV    2D (HF196)
Anti-submarine patrol Patrol No 3
Normal crew flying out of RAF Predannack

28/29 Feb 44    Night    Wellington XIV    2P (HF181)
Anti-submarine patrol Patrol No 2
Flying out of RAF Predannack

F/O Ejbich replaced Sgt Zientek
Bohdan Ejbich is still alive and living in Canada – he is now a novelist and PAF Historian

02/03 Mar 44    Night    Wellington XIV    2H (HF200)
Anti-submarine patrol Patrol No 3 flying out of RAF Predannack

F/O Ejbich replaced Sgt Zientek
Bohdan Ejbich is still alive and living in Canada – he is now a novelist and PAF Historian

04/05 Mar 44  Night    Wellington XIV    2R (HF275)
Anti-submarine patrol T.2 Percussion
Normal crew  flying out of RAF Predannack

07/08 Mar 44    Night    Wellington XIV    2R (HF275)
Anti-submarine patrol Patrol B
Normal crew flying out of RAF Predannack

10/11 Mar 44    Night    Wellington XIV    2C (HF179)
Anti-submarine patrol R.2 Percussion
Normal crew flying out of RAF Predannack

15/16 Mar 44    Night    Wellington XIV    2R (HF275)
Anti-submarine patrol S.1 Percussion
Normal crew flying out of RAF Predannack

19/20 Mar 44    Night    Wellington XIV    2P (HF181)
Anti-submarine patrol S.4 Percussion
Normal crew flying out of RAF Predannack or RAF Chivenor. 19th March 1944 was the official movement date to the latter RAF Station.

22/23 Mar 44    Night    Wellington XIV    2A (HF188)
Anti-submarine patrol R.1 Percussion
Normal crew flying out of RAF Chivenor

None of the crew on this mission was on board this aircraft when it was shot down by German fighters on a patrol over the Bay of Biscay, less than three weeks later on 11th April 1944. The crew managed to send off an SOS but all were killed. This was the last 304 Squadron plane to be lost to enemy action.

25/26 Mar 44    Night    Wellington XIV    2A (HF188)
Anti-submarine patrol T.3 Percussion
Normal crew flying out of RAF Chivenor

Shot down over the Bay of Biscay on 11th April 1944 (see previous entry)

05/06 Apr 44    Night    Wellington XIV    2B (HF185)
Anti-submarine patrol Patrol A
Normal crew flying out of RAF Chivenor

27/28 Apr 44    Night    Wellington XIV    2N (HF330)
Anti-submarine patrol Patrol No.2
Normal crew flying out of RAF Chivenor

30 Apr/01 May 44    Night    Wellington XIV    2K (HF388)
Anti-submarine patrol Patrol No.2
Normal crew flying out of RAF Chivenor

06/07 May 44    Night   Wellington XIV    2D (HF386)
Anti-submarine patrol Patrol No.4
Normal crew flying out of RAF Chivenor

11/12 May 44    Night    Wellington XIV    2M (HF334)
Anti-submarine patrol Patrol No.4
Normal crew flying out of RAF Chivenor

16/17 May 44    Night    Wellington XIV    2M (HF334)
Anti-submarine patrol Patrol No.4
Normal crew flying out of RAF Chivenor

23/24 May 44    Night    Wellington XIV    2M (HF334)
Anti-submarine patrol Box 1 patrol
Normal crew flying out of RAF Chivenor

09/10 Jun 44    Night    Wellington XIV    2Q (HF420)
Anti-submarine patrol Patrol V
Normal crew flying out of RAF Chivenor

14/15 Jun 44    Night    Wellington XIV     2Q (HF420)
Anti-submarine patrol Patrol No.52
Normal crew flying out of RAF Chivenor

21/22 June 44    Night    Wellington XIV    2K (HF388)
Anti-submarine patrol Patrol Y
Normal crew flying out of RAF Chivenor

He returned to the Blackpool Depot and was later posted to RAF Morecambe Polish training wing in Lancashire on 16th November 1944. Subsequently he was commissioned as an officer and transferred to 133 Wing as adjutant. On 3rd September 1945 he received his final posting to RAF Dunholme Lodge in Lincolnshire which appears to have been a storage facility for Hamilcar gliders at this time. He was awarded the Cross of Valour three times and the Air Medal.

After his discharge he returned to Poland and later joined the Merchant Navy, travelling the world until his death from a heart attack on 6th December 1975; he is buried in the Central Cemetery in Szczecin, Poland.

Unfortunately, there are no wartime photographs available.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

PERSONAL

I have often wondered why I bother doing this blog; but I have never even entertained the idea of giving it up!  The answer struck me this morning when I accidentally uncovered the flying log of my own Uncle Jack (who was not Polish) and I read it properly - for the first time.  He was a nice, gentle, man who I cannot envisage as a fighter. 


He always told me that he was only in the war "for the last five minutes" because he was too young to have  been a hero.  He said that the most dangerous thing he ever did was "chuck tinsel (chaff) out of bombers to confuse enemy radar and the worst injury he had suffered was varicose veins caused by spending time in draughty and unheated aeroplanes."


That was not strictly true!  This morning I discovered that he was only in the war for the last few months but that he had flown 13 (!!!) operational missions as a Flight Engineer - all of them over Germany - in Halifax or Lancaster bombers.


This is typical of the men of all the Allied Air Forces (and probably the Axis Air Forces too).  Ignore the politics and look at the men who had to do the fighting and you will see why I continue to do it.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

STANISLAW JOZEF BORZECKI

 

He was a pilot, born on 5th August 1921 at Slobodka Dzurynska in the Tarnopol province, Poland (now Ukraine) and he was the youngest of four children of Jan Borzecki and his wife Maria. He was educated in Trembowla and applied for the SPL in Deblin in 1938. He joined 54 Infantry Regiment on 30th September 1938 for a basic course which he completed on 3rd January 1939.

He went on to join No 1 Squadron attached to the Air Force Academy in Deblin where he initially studied theory and followed that up with a flight course from 1st April 1939 until 10th June of that year; this training was cut short because of the imminence of hostilities with Germany. He was promoted to Corporal at the end of August and, with the other cadets under the command of Major Moszkowski, he crossed the border into Hungary during the September Campaign. They were immediately interned in the camp at Nagy-Kata.

At this early stage in the war, the regime was not harsh and he escaped from the camp on 16th October 1939 and made his way via Budapest, Belgrade (then Jugoslavia – now Serbia) and Thessaloniki to Athens in Greece. This was almost certainly with help from the Polish Diplomatic Corps along the way. Wherever possible, they provided false papers and money to help military personnel to reach the West.

On 25th October 1939, he sailed from Piraeus, the port of Athens, for Marseilles in France, where he rejoined the Polish forces in exile. He arrived at Lyon-Bron but had no opportunity to continue his flying training. When France capitulated, he left Lyon-Bron and made his way to Britain by sea, and arrived here on 1st July 1940.

He was sent to RAF Kirkham, Lancashire and later, on 5th August 1940, to the Polish Depot at nearby Blackpool, where he joined the Polish Air Force in Exile and was given the service number P-783410, where his tasks were learning English and familiarising himself with British equipment and methods.

During the six months from 23rd January to 23rd July 1941 he attended courses at No 1 Polish Flying Training Unit at Hucknall, Nottinghamshire; No 10 Bombing and Gunnery School at Dumfries, Scotland and 18 OTU at Bramcote, Nuneaton, Warwickshire. He was posted to 304 Squadron on 24th July 1941 at RAF Lindholme near Doncaster, Yorkshire.

On the night of 5th/6th August 1941, he flew his first combat mission to Frankfurt as second pilot to P/O Onoszko.

N2852 (NZ - D FOR Dolores) probably at RAF Lindholme in the summer of 1941

On the night of 11th/12th August 1941 he survived the forced landing of Wellington N2852 (NZ-D) at RAF East Wretham in Norfolk. They had been on a bombing mission which was recalled due to bad weather. They failed to hear the recall and could not find the primary target so they bombed Essen instead. On the return journey, the port engine seized and they were forced down. On the orders of Sgt Zykow, he bailed out successfully, along with Sgt Klimiuk and Sgt Juk but the aircraft landed safely and only Sgt Juk was slightly injured and was taken to hospital in Ipswich, Suffolk. Sgt Borzecki and the rest of the crew were flown back to RAF Lindholme the next day.

On 2nd September 1941, he set off on a mission to Frankfurt, the aircraft developed engine trouble and they were forced to abort the mission, jettison their bombs in the sea and return to RAF Lindholme. Just under two weeks later, on 15th September 1941, he was commissioned as a Pilot Officer and his service number was changed to P-1543. He was killed on 20th October 1941 when his aircraft, N2852 (NZ-D for Dolores), was hit by flak and lost an engine during a raid on Emden. It crashed into the sea near the island of Heligoland (German: Helgoland), off the coast of Germany. A distress message was sent and another aircraft saw a distress flare but no trace of him was ever found, in spite of a search, and he has no known grave.  Only two bodies were recovered.  F/O Gisman and Sgt Zykow are buried in the Sage War Cemetery at Oldenberg, Germany.

The crew were: F/O Adam Gisman, P/O Stanislaw Jozef Borzecki , Sgt Wilhelm Adamik, Sgt Ryszard Klimiuk, Sgt Henryk Plis and Sgt Mikolaj Zykow.


The crew of Vickers Wellington N2852 (NZ-D for Dolores):
Sgt Klimiuk, Sgt Plis, F/O Gisman, P/O Borzecki, Sgt Adamik and Sgt Zykow

He is recorded as having flown seven missions, with a total flying time of 37 hours and 50 minutes. He is remembered at the Bomber Command Memorial in London and at Powazki Cemetery in Warsaw.

He was awarded the Cross of Valour and the Polish Pilot's Badge.

As a footnote, Polish Airmen became attached to their own aircraft and gave them affectionate names, so NZ - D became Dolores rather than callsign Delta in the phonetic alphabet.

My sincere thanks to Ryszard Kolodziejski for his help and advice with this article.

Photographs courtesy of Mr W Sankowski, Chief Editor of Lotnictwo z Szachownica magazine, edition no 42, April 2011 in an article “P/O Borzeckis Seven Combat Missions” by D.Parzyszek.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

THE FINAL GROUP

Well, here it is!  The final list of names on whom I have very little information.  If you can help with any information on any of these heroes, please contact me so that I can add them to the tribute site.  All information is welcome - no matter how trivial.  Your little bit of trivia might just be the missing link that ties together all the information I have on a particular airman.  In other words, the difference between an entry that shows name, rank and number and a whole life biopic.  But please don't offer to help and then send nothing at all.

ZABIK    F/Lt Jan    P-1782

ZAGOROWSKI    Sgt Romuald    P-794522
ZAJAC    P/O Jan    P-780403
ZAKROJKO    Sgt Jozef    P-782089
ZAKRZEWSKI     Zdzislaw    P-706084
ZAREMBA    F/Lt Antoni    P-0512
ZARUDSKI    F/O Edward F Karol    P-0855
ZAWADA    Sgt Czeslaw    P-783003
ZAWADKA    L/Ac Wladyslaw    P-782009
ZAWADZKI    F/O Jozef
ZAWILINSKI    Sgt Stanislaw Adam    P-794326
ZAWISTOWSKI    L/Ac Czeslaw Roman    P-704475
ZDASIEN    Sgt Henryk    P-704421
ZEBALA    Sgt Bronislaw    P-706430
ZEISKE    Sgt Zygfryd Henryk    P-781375
ZEJDLER    F/Sgt (later Ac1) Aleksander    P-780528
ZENTAR    Sgt F
ZESKO    Sgt S
ZEYFERT    F/Lt Zdzislaw Ludwik    P-2334
ZGODA    Sgt Tadeusz Pawel    P-782810
ZIEBA    F/O Tadeusz Stefan    P-1744
ZIEBA    Sgt
ZIELENIEWSKI    F/O Stanislaw    P-0831
ZIELINSKI    P/O Antoni Aleksy   P-1954
ZIELINSKI    Cpl Aleksander Marian    P-782662
ZIELINSKI    Sgt Edmund    P-780928
ZIELINSKI    Cpl Jan    P-781773
ZIELINSKI    Sgt Stanislaw    P-783882
ZIELINSKI    F/Lt Tadeusz    P-2433
ZIELINSKI    P/O WJ
ZIEMIANSKI    P/O Kazimierz    P-1586
ZIEMKIEWICZ    W/O Marian    P-794991
ZIENTEK    Sgt Jan Jozef    P-783190
ZIETEK    Sgt Franciszek    P-782066
ZIOLKOWSKI    F/Sgt Konrad    P-782064
ZIOLO    Sgt Tomasz Michal    P-784370
ZIOMEK    L/Ac Emil    P-782153
ZIOMEK    Ac1 Eugeniusz    P-782152
ZIPSER    Sgt Zbigniew    P-782078
ZLAMANIEC    Sgt Wladyslaw Karol    P-780752
ZOBOLEWICZ    W/O Henryk    P-705730
ZOLNOWSKI    Sgt Wladyslaw    P792950
ZOLOBKA    Cpl Wincenty    P-793138
ZURAWINSKI    F/Lt Henryk    P-1745
ZUREK    W/Cdr Stanislaw Jozef    P-1102
ZUREK    W/O Stanislaw Zbigniew    P-781225
ZUWALA    Sgt Zbigniew    P-780720
ZWOLINSKI    Cpl Zygmunt    P-784832
ZYKOW    Sgt Mikolaj    P-782065

Please help, if you can; all these men gave up their youth to fight for freedom; help me give them more than just name, rank and number to honour their lives.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

THE ASSAM BOMBER I

ASSAM BOMBER I

This bomber does not appear to be in my immediate field of interest, because it was a 300 Squadron machine, BUT it is causing me some sleepless nights for several reasons:

Firstly, the accompanying photograph shows that it was 'fit and well' so to speak, at RAF Hemswell in 1942 and the aircraft is clearly marked Assam Bomber I in the picture.  The crew includes Stanislaw Boczkowski, who was a former 304 Squadron pilot (Co-pilot on R1268).  The problem is that the Assam Bomber I was a gift from the people of South Africa. 

 OH! NO IT WASN'T!  Firstly, Assam is in North East India - a very long way from South Africa.  Secondly, the real Assam Bomber I WAS a gift from the Assam War Fund in Simla, India.  They didn't make a physical presentation, as such, but they did donate the money to buy the aircraft.  This aircraft was manned by 300 Squadron aircrew and was shot down in July 1941 under the serial X9639 - BH-E not BH-T as in the above photo (I believe that this is R1211) which is allegedly taken in 1942 - yet it clearly shows the name!

The possibilites are that a second bomber was assigned the name to avoid (political) embarrassment over losing such a valuable gift, so quickly, ridiculous though that seems under wartime conditions - censorship would see to it that this bit of news was not released!  Alternatively, the photograph is wrongly dated and/or captioned, although Stanislaw Boczkowski was serving with 300 Squadron from March 1941.  His crew names do not match the names of the crew lost with X9639 and I believe that the former possibility is more likely.

I am checking this out with the official historian of the Indian Air Force, but I would value any opinions.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

YET MORE SAD NEWS

Stan and Maria Boczkowski, somewhere in England during WW2
photo courtesy of their son, Richard Boczkowski

I am sad, but honoured, to be the one to pass on the news that Maria Regina Boczkowski (nee Malinowska) has died; she was the wife of Stanislaw Boczkowski, veteran of 300 and 304 Squadrons.  He is very special to me because he was on board the crashed Wellington Bomber R1268 which started my interest in 304 Squadron and gave me a new respect for Polish airmen and but for that incident, this account would never have been written - not by me at any rate.

Maria went to school with Stanislaw and they met again, in England, after they both escaped from war ravaged Poland.  They married and settled in Lincoln, where their son Richard was born in January 1948.  Maria and her mother had endured the hardships of deportation to Russia and came to England, via Palestine, when they were released from the Gulags and joined Anders' Army.

They both endured hardships and both lived a long and happy life together in Canada.  I hope that everyone reading this will join me in sending Stanislaw, Richard and their family our best wishes and sincere condolences at this very sad time.

RIP Maria Regina Boczkowski, heroine and wife of a hero.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

POLISH (AIR FORCE) DIASPORA

I am trying to contact the following people (or their families) who were in the crew of Wellington Bomber  HE304 and survived the crash in Ireland in July 1943.

KIELTYKA Sgt Stanislaw P-784039

He was a pilot, born on 1st January 1920 and known to have been in service on 8th July 1943 and on 17th July 1943 he baled out of Wellington Mk X HE304 which crashed near Ballickmoyler, Co Laois in the Irish Republic. He attacked a U–Boat on 12th February 1944. He survived the war and died in ARGENTINA on 26th July 2002.

DUSZCZAK Sgt Remigiusz P-794723

He was born on 9th September 1913 and was a radio operator/air gunner and known to be in service on 8th July 1943 and on 17th July 1943 he safely baled out of a Wellington Mk X HE304 which crashed near Ballickmoyler, Co Laois in the Irish Republic. He was later commissioned as an officer and his service number changed to P-2897. He is thought to have emigrated to BRAZIL in 1946.

PASIEKA Sgt Karol Stefan P-783096

He was born on 29th December 1919 and was a pilot, known to be in service 8th July 1943. He is known to have survived the crash of HE304 near Ballickmoyler, Co Laois, Irish Republic. It is thought that he was living in SOUTH AFRICA in 1956.

SALEWICZ P/O Stanislaw P-794661

He was born on 2nd April 1909 and was known to be in service on 8th July 1943 as a navigator and on 17th July 1943 he survived the crash of HE304 in Ballickmoyler, Co Laois, Irish Republic. Using the new Leigh Light, he attacked and damaged a U–Boat on January 2nd 1944. In every case his service number is the same but more than one record gives his forenames as Mieczyslaw Franciszek. He survived the war and died in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, ENGLAND on 11th May 1997.

KACZAN Sgt Wladyslaw P-704211

He was an air gunner, born on 3rd July 1923 and known to be in service on 8th July 1943 and on 17th July 1943 he safely baled out of HE304 which crashed near Ballickmoyler, County Laois, Irish Republic. He survived the war and was known to be living in Killingworth, Newcastle upon Tyne, ENGLAND in 1981.  Recent research suggests he was still living there in 2010

If anyone can help with any information or photographs, please contact me on nevillebougourd@gmail.com or, if you know the families, please ask them to contact me.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

POLISH AIRMEN - PENULTIMATE GROUP

This is the penultimate group of airmen on whom I need information and photographs to give them a proper entry on this tribute site.  If you can help me, please send me an email on one of the addresses given in the CONTACT box at the top of the page. 

WATOR Sgt Jozef P-793911

WATOR Sgt Wladyslaw P-781532
WDOWIK L/Ac Stanislaw P-782524
WEBER F/Lt Wilhelm Franciszek Adam P-2283
WEDRYCHOWSKI L/Ac Czeslaw P-794295
WEISS Sgt Adam P-780096
WEJNER L/Ac Octawian P-708929
WENDTK Ac1 Augustyn P-708598
WERAKSO W/Cdr Jozef P-0972
WERBOWSKI F/Lt Kazimierz Franciszek P-0288
WERESZ Cpl Mieczyslaw Marian P-784344
WERSCHNER F/Sgt Marian Kazimierz P-781759
WESOLOWSKI Sgt Antoni
WESOLOWSKI Sgt Wladyslaw P-703326
WICZLING L/Ac Franciszek Alfons P-793711
WIDANKA F/Lt Stefan P-0553
WIDAWSKI F/Lt Adam P-2430
WIDMUNT L/Ac Tadeusz P-707089
WIECKOWSKI Sgt Stanislaw P-704244
WIECKOWSKI Sgt Stefan P-792063
WIECZOREK F/O Cezary P-0040
WIERZBICKI L/Ac Edward P-707939
WIERZCHNIEWSKI Cpl Franciszek P-703314
WIESZCZECZYNSKI L/Ac Julian P-794002
WIGDORCZYK Cpl Hirsz P-703979
WIJASZKO Cpl Tadeusz P-792149
WILCZYK L/Ac Jan P-704577
WILCZYNSKI P/O
WINKIEL Sgt Leon Jan P-792294 (Name may be spelled WINKEL)
WISNIEWSKI Sgt Stanislaw
WISNIEWSKI-PRUS S/Ldr Wiktor P-0942
WITKOWSKI F/O Edward Piotr
WITKOWSKI Ac2 Edwin Franciszek P-704969
WITKOWSKI F/Sgt Jerzy Franciszek P-781655
WITKOWSKI Sgt Zygmunt P-780144
WITOWSKI Sgt Edmund P-781947
WLODARCZYK Cpl Jan Stanislaw P-793960
WLODARCZYK F/Lt Waclaw P-1633
WLODARCZYK F/Lt Wladyslaw Dominik P-1420
WLOSZEK Cpl Henryk P-782179
WODZIANSKI Cpl Jozef Juliusz P-780098
WODZINSKI P/O Mieczyslaw Sebastian P-1667
WOJAS Sgt Jan P-781144
WOJCIK F/Lt Stanislaw Marian P-0043
WOJDA Sq/Ldr Julian Stanislaw P-0017
WOJNILOWICZ F/Sgt Jan P-794500
WOJSA Sgt Stanislaw
WOJSA Ac2 Stanislaw P-792401
WOJTKOW-WATSON Cpl Jerzy P-793298
WOJTOWICZ Sgt J
WOJTOWICZ Sgt Stanislaw Rudolf P784066
WOLAGIEWICZ Sgt Mieczyslaw P-781175
WOLNIK F/Lt Jozef P-1145
WOLOSEWICZ F/Sgt Jozef P-780212
WOLSKI W/O Kazimierz P-782621
WOZIGNOJ Sgt Franciszek P-782100
WOZIGNOJ L/Ac Stanislaw P-781441
WOZNIAK Sgt Lucjan Jan Stanislaw P-780835
WOZNIAK F/Lt Stanislaw P-2114
WOZNIAL Sgt Boleslaw
WOZNICZKA Ac2 Tadeusz Zbigniew P-706560
WROBLEWSKI W/O Alojzy Kazimierz P-703945
WROBLEWSKI Cpl Marian Jan P-780656
WROBLEWSKI F/Lt Roman Witold Jerzy P-2481
WROBLEWSKI F/Sgt Stefan P-706566
WROBLEWSKI Sgt Tadeusz P-704339
WROBLEWSKI Wladyslaw Jan P-1583
WRONA L/Ac Edward P-782160
WRZASZCZ Cpl Franciszek P-782970
WYGLADALA Sgt Mieczyslaw P-703702
WYSOCKI Cpl Tadeusz Stefan P-794525

MORE NAMES - INFORMATION NEEDED

Here is another batch of Polish Airmen for inclusion in the tribute site. Some of them have a lot of military information but nothing personal about their lives before or after the war. As previously stated, I want to show them as human beings and not just fighting men. They have all earned a place in this site, but name, rank, number and date of birth is a poor tribute. If you can help with information and/or photographs, copy documents etc., please contact me on the following email address: nevillebougourd@gmail.com Please DO NOT leave a message in the comments section as these are posted anonymously and I cannot reply by email. Any reply can only be posted as a comment by me and relies on you seeing it and replying to me by email. If you must leave a message in the comments section please also include your name and email address, which I will edit out before posting.

TALACH Sgt Nikita    P-781912
TALADY L/Ac Ryszard Antoni    P-705172
TALAJ L/Ac Marian    P-707355
TAMULEWICZ F/Sgt Albin Mieczyslaw    P-703942
TARAS Sgt Wladyslaw
TARASIEWICZ L/Ac Mikolaj    P-705313
TARGOWSKI Sgt Franciszek Jan    P-793828
TARGOWSKI P/O Stanislaw Marian    P-1073
TEICHER Sgt Ludwik    P-794143
TETTAMANDI P/O Konrad Witold Antoni    P-1887
TEUBERT W/O Witold Henryk    P-794380
TEYCHMANN F/O Norbert Edward    P-2006
TOBA Sgt Jozef    P-782184
TOFIN Sgt Stanislaw    P782062
TOMASZEWSKI F/Lt Jan Jerzy    P-0221
TOMASZEWSKI Sgt Janusz    P-783678
TOPOLEWSKI L/Ac Jozef    P-792550
TOSIO F/Lt Zbigniew Jaroslaw    P-0826
TREMBECKI Sgt Tadeusz    P-707352
TRUSZKOWSKI Sgt Jerzy Jozef    P-792959
TRZEBSKI P/O Janusz Antoni Jozef    P-780401
TUREK L/Ac Jozef    P-703312
TURSKI F/Lt AM
TUSIEWICZ F/Sgt jerzy Maciej
TUSIEWICZ Ac1 Witold    P-706931
TUSKIEWICZ Sq/Ldr Olgierd
TWARDOCH Sgt Gerard
TYCHOLIS Sgt Antoni    P794730
TYDMAN F/Sgt Ryszard Jan    P-2679
ULICKI Sgt Antoni    P-783141
URBANEK F/Sgt Henryk    P-793901
WACHOWIACZ L/Ac Alojzy    P-780926
WACINSKI P/O J
WACLAWSKI Sgt Stanislaw    P-781833
WADOLOWSKI L/Ac Mieczyslaw    P-782576
WALAS Sgt Zygmunt    P-781625
WALCZAK Cpl Antoni    P-784787
WALCZYNSKI Sgt Karol P-781776
WALENDOWSKI F/O
WALESKA L/Ac Stefan Mieczyslaw    P-781982
WALKIEWICZ F/Sgt Wiktor    P-794206
WALTERA F/O Waclaw Alfred    P-0679
WALUDA L/Ac Marian    P-780715
WALUKIEWICZ Sgt W
WALUKIEWICZ Sgt Emil Feliks    P781315
WANCISIEWICZ F/Sgt Jan    P-782234
WARCZYK Cpl Jozef    P-793243
WAROCZEWSKI F/O Jan Stanislaw    P0016
WASILEWSKI F/O Leszek Teofil    P-0795
WASILEWSKI F/Lt Wincenty
WASILONEK F/Sgt Piotr Jan    P-705047

Saturday, 19 May 2012

LYON-BRON

Over the past few years, I have written much about Polish airmen serving at, or passing through, Lyon-Bron air base, in France.  Can anyone please help me with photographs of identified Polish airmen serving there before the fall of France in June 1940?  I have been disparaging about French politicians who caved in and served the Germans - but not about the Free French Forces (and, indeed, the Maquis) who were just as brave as the Poles and the Brits who fought on against the Nazi menace.  I would love to publish pictures which show Poles fighting in France.  Those Poles who moved on to fight in 304 Squadron will be shown here with their French compatriots and those who went to other squadrons will be passed on to other researchers.  So, to my French readers, please send me photos if you can.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

ANDRZEJ WESOLOWSKI

He was a wireless operator/air gunner and was born on 17th November 1916 at Alexandrow Kujowski near Torun. He initially served with the Polish Army and was captured in 1939, by the Russians, during the September Campaign. He escaped and was later captured by the Germans and held as a POW in France where he volunteered to work in the Commandant’s garden, thereby supplementing his diet with the odd potato he was able to liberate!

He escaped again and made it to England in early 1943 where he joined 304 Squadron after training as a wireless operator/air gunner and being a regular rear gunner with them before transferring out to 6OTU for a three month course. Near the end of his time there, he was on board Wellington Mk X HE747 when it crashed, on 18th February 1944, during a training flight out of RAF Silloth, Cumberland (now Cumbria).

He was participating in a co-operation exercise with fighters when the engines on the Wellington overheated and the pilot made a forced landing near the village of Skinburness, about a mile north of Silloth. In an effort to avoid buildings, the plane lost speed and crash landed – killing the pilot and another crew member. Andrzej Wesolowski was one of three survivors but he was injured and recuperated at the Polish Depot in Blackpool. As soon as he was fit, he rejoined 304 Squadron and completed 27/29 operations with them (sources vary). During his military service he was awarded the Cross of Valour.

He survived the war and decided to stay in England, settling in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, where he became a tailor with the business of Julian Jelonek. The business was successful and he eventually took it over and ran it until he was well into his seventies. He only retired when his shop was demolished to clear the ground for a new road.

He had always been a keen gardener and worked an allotment until he was in his late eighties, specialising in growing things that theoretically should not be able to grow in England. Happily, at the time of writing (May 2012), Andrzej is still alive and well.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

JERZY TOMASZ MONDSCHEIN

Gestapo picture taken the day before his murder - wearing clothes he probably made himself from old uniforms and blankets

 He was an observer (navigator), born on 18th March 1909 in Warsaw. He was murdered as a POW. Returning from a raid on Mannheim, on 8th November 1941, the aircraft was out of fuel and the pilot attempted to land his plane on an airfield in Belgium. He landed at St Trond near Liege, which was a Luftwaffe fighter base – unfortunately for the crew. They all survived and were made prisoners of war, but not before destroying all their papers and anything that might be useful to the Germans and setting the aircraft on fire. The aircraft was Vickers Wellington 1c, R1215 (NZ-?). The rest of the all Polish crew were F/O Blicharz, P/O Rekszyc, Sgt Jaworoszuk, Sgt Krawiecki and Sgt Lewandowski.

He was one of the 50 Officers executed on 29th March 1944 after an escape from Stalag Luft III (The Great Escape) in Sagan, Germany (now Zagan, Poland). He was Prisoner of War No 680 and active in the year long preparations for this mass escape which seriously disrupted the German war effort by tying up large numbers of German troops and resources at a critical time (less than ten weeks before D-Day), which was a serious blow to the Germans – even though only three, of the seventy six who escaped, actually made it home.

In the scheme of things, he was a very useful member of the escape team and performed some very useful functions. He was one of a group of tailors who skilfully converted uniforms into civilian clothes and made warm coats from the POW blankets. In the pre-war days, before he joined the Polish Air Force, he worked on building sites and developed a skill at cutting out shaped profiles from concrete and then replaced them invisibly. This must have been extremely useful when they were concealing the entrances to the tunnels – it was certainly successful. He is also said to have built all the trapdoors in the tunnels, but that is not confirmed.

His other duty was to scan any German newspapers and magazines for any information that might prove useful to the escape effort. He was assigned this intelligence gathering task because he was fluent in speaking German and he could also read it.

Once clear of the wire, he was part of a group of twelve who made for the local railway station and he made further use of his German language skills by buying tickets for the group. The ticket seller was suspicious of so large a group, but Jerzy held his nerve, explaining that they were all Spanish workers in the local mills.

The basic idea was to get as far away from the camp as possible before the inevitable manhunt started; so they took the early morning train in the general direction of Jelenia Gora and, on arrival, the party split up into smaller groups. Jerzy and his three companions headed south with the intention of getting into Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) and seeking help from the Czech partisans – who had no love for the Germans after their occupation first of the Sudetenland, and later the whole country.

The party had to walk through waist deep snow for about 20 kilometres and were recaptured by a German patrol whilst crossing the border mountains near Reichenberg (now Liberec), in what was then Czechoslovakia. They were taken to the prison at Reichenberg where they were reunited with other recaptured prisoners (Johnny Stower and Ivo Tonder) and interrogated (possibly tortured) before being taken into the countryside near Brux (now Most) and executed. Stories vary as to whether they were machine gunned or killed with a single bullet to the back of the head – but that seems to be academic – by an unknown Gestapo killer. The bodies were cremated at Brux the next day and the urns were returned to Stalag Luft III. Cynically, the cremations were ordered the day before the executions took place.

His ashes were later buried in the Old Garrison Cemetery at Poznan, Poland. It is a sad irony that he was incarcerated in Stalag Luft III in Sagan (now Zagan) which is in Upper Silesia in modern Poland.

The actual killers are unknown but the “executions”, or rather murders, of Jerzy Mondschein and his three travelling companions (F/Lt Lester J Bull DFC of 109 squadron RAF, F/Lt Reginald V “Rusty” Kierath and Squadron Leader John EA Williams DFC, both of 450 squadron RAAF) were orchestrated by local Reichenburg Gestapo leader Bernhard Baatz, Robert Weissman and Robert Weyland. Baatz and Weyland lived on with impunity and with the complicity of the Russian authorities. Weissman was later arrested by the French military authorities but his fate remains unknown.

He was a married man with at least one child (a daughter) and, at age 35, he was the oldest of the group of Polish officers who set off for Czechoslovakia. He was in the Polish Air Force before the war and escaped, via Romania, on 17th September 1939. At some point, he was awarded the Cross of Valour.

On 25th March 2012, the Czech Republic held a ceremony honouring these men and unveiling a plaque in their memory in the city of Most (formerly Brux) where they were murdered. The Czech Air Force organised a fly past and a Guard of Honour at the ceremony, which took place on the 68th anniversary of their escape. Members of the families of the four airmen met for the first time at this event.

The photograph I have used was taken, presumably by the Gestapo, the day before he was shot and was part of the evidence gathered in the subsequent Nazi War Crimes investigation. He is wearing clothes he probably made himself. Copyright is unknown but presumably comes under the Crown or the National Archives.

FOOTNOTE:
Jonathan F Vance, in his classic book on the Great Escape - "A Gallant Company", has stated that Jerzy Mondschein suffered frequent bouts of depression - being convinced he would never see his wife and daughter again.  As a result, when these depressions occurred, he spent many lonely night time hours pacing the corridors of Hut 110, in Stalag Luft III.  Be that as it may, he bore these personal agonies in private.  He never let them interfere with his escape duties.

General Artur Nebe, the man tasked with compiling a list of the fifty recaptured escapees to be murdered, was executed by the Gestapo for his part in the July 1944 plot on Hitler's life.  He was hanged, with typical Nazi savagery, with piano wire, early in 1945.  Ironically, this happened at Sachsenhausen concentration camp where he had sent so many others - and this included Stalag Luft III escapers who ultimately survived the war.

More information and photographs will be added later...............watch this space.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

JAN PRAZMOWSKI


A lot more research is going to be needed but the following items have come to light. On 5th November 1942, it is recorded in the Station ORB, at RAF Talbenny, that he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant with the quite unusual qualification of Bombing Leader. Six days later, it records the award of the Virtuti Militari (5th Class), but quotes his earlier rank.

He was born on 27th November in Wegrzce near Krakow and completed his conventional education in 1932. He then went to the Officer Cadet School in Ostrowia Mazowiecka, North eastern Poland, for three years, graduating in 1935 as a Second Lieutenant and being posted to 22 Infantry Regiment in Piotrkow.

In 1938 he enrolled on a navigators’ course which he completed and was posted immediately to 26 Observer Squadron in Krakow. During the September Campaign he was active in reconnaissance until 20th September 1939, when he was evacuated to Romania via the border town of Kuty. He was interned but security was not tight and he escaped and made his way back to Poland.

From there he assisted with the evacuation to Hungary and, in late April 1940, he was ordered to make his escape to Hungary. During May 1940, he travelled through Jugoslavia to the Port of Piraeus, near Athens, in Greece from where he took a ship to France and joined the Polish forces there. Soon after his arrival, France capitulated and he escaped once again - via Bayonne and probably the port of St Jean de Luz which was the main route for Polish airmen coming to England. He then travelled to the Polish Depot at Blackpool where he completed further training and became familiar with British aircraft and the English language.

He was posted to 304 Squadron and served at RAF Stations Lindholme (Yorkshire), Tiree in the Outer Hebrides (off the West Coast of Scotland), Dale and Talbenny (both in Pembrokeshire, Wales). The maximum time span was between 20th July 1941 and 30th March 1943 but he served at all of them, being mentioned in all their Operational Records Books. He may have stayed with them for his full tour of 30 missions – or even more - but that is yet to be established. At this time, the Squadron was mostly in Coastal Command and involved with anti-submarine warfare and convoy protection. In the earlier days he would have been involved with bombing Germany and Occupied Northern Europe.

He was seconded to RAF Manby in Lincolnshire for a Bombing Leaders course on 18th April 1942 and was promoted to Flight Lieutenant on 5th November 1942.

Being presented with his Virtuti Militari by Air Vice Marshall Ujejski 
11th November 1942 at  RAF Talbenny

During his service, he was awarded the Virtuti Militari, 5th Class which was presented to him by Air Vice Marshall Ujejski at RAF Talbenny on 11th November 1942 – which was a significant date for poles and British alike. Being Armistice Day, for the British, and National Independence Day, for the Poles. He also won the Cross of Valour three times, at least one of which was presented to him at RAF Lindholme by General Kopanski on 25th April 1942. In addition he was awarded the Air Medal three times.

In 1947 he was honourably discharged and returned to Poland where he undertook a variety of jobs. He was arrested and briefly imprisoned, at one point, under the Stalinist puppet government, but was “rehabilitated” and given an appointment at the People’s Army Cadet School in Radom. That year he was sent to Vietnam as a part of the Military Mission of Reconciliation. He retired in 1967, having achieved the rank of Major. He died on 21st September 1995 in Warsaw.
Relaxing with a fellow airman - undated but no POLAND shoulder flash

Photos courtesy of Peter Jefferies and text with thanks to Kamil Nowak