Sunday, 22 January 2012


He was a mechanic and was born on 25th May 1918 in Bochnia, a small town in Southern Poland, about 35 kilometres from Krakow. His mother died when he was 3 years old and he had an unhappy relationship with his stepmother. He left school at 13 and took up manual labour. In 1936 he enrolled in the NCO School at Bydgoszcz and which moved to Krosno in 1938. Because of the impending war, his course was cut short by six months. He asked for, and was assigned to, the 2nd Air Regiment in Krakow and on the outbreak of war he was among the first to be hit by the Luftwaffe bombing campaign as his airfield was destroyed in bombing raids on 1st and 2nd September 1939.

He was sent to Lwow with the other ground crew where they were issued with rifles to defend the city. However, they were sent from there to Stanislaviv (now Ukraine) then on from there to the Romanian border. He crossed the border and was immediately interned and marched to a camp at Pitesti, a major city in the Wallachia region. After some time there, he heard that the British and French were recruiting air and ground crew and he made his escape. He was caught and returned to the camp where he was subjected to severe punishment.

He was moved to a camp at Komiszani from where he escaped again – but with help this time. A car was waiting for him and two others and they rode for some time in the boot until the driver stopped and told them to get out. They ran off and made their way to an apartment in Ploiesti where they met more escaping Poles and were fed by local women. They stayed there for about six weeks then made their way to Constanza on the Black Sea where he eventually boarded the Romanian vessel Transylvania. This ship took them through the Dardanelles, across the Aegean Sea and into the eastern Mediterranean to Beirut, Lebanon. The Poles spent about two months there and were housed in a former French Foreign legion barracks.

From there he went by sea to Haifa in Palestine (now Israel) and on to Alexandria in Egypt. Ultimately he made it to Marseilles and was posted to Le Bourg with many other Poles. Here he decided to join the British Army rather than the French and he was quickly accepted because of his experience serving in the 2nd Aviation Regiment - Britain was desperately short of airmen and ground crew. His next moves are unclear but he came to England by sea a few days after his enlistment and spent three months at RAF Eastchurch, learning English and doing initial training on British aircraft.

Initially he was sent to RAF Peterborough but was soon sent to the Polish Depot at RAF Blackpool and was allocated to 304 Squadron ground crew at RAF Syerston. He stayed with the squadron during most of its time in Bomber and Coastal Commands and transferred to 663 Artillery Observation Squadron, based in Naples, and later Eboli, in Italy, probably in the late summer of 1944. By this time he appears to have been aircrew although it is not certain whether he was a pilot or an observer, flying in unarmed Auster reconnaissance planes. He was unwilling to return to Poland and stayed in Italy until 1946 when he returned to Britain and was demobilised.

After the war he settled in Britain and worked in the motor industry for Perkins, the diesel engine manufacturers, in Peterborough where he stayed until 1960. He then worked for the British Motor Corporation until he retired in 1984. He frequently visited his family in Poland and is thought to have arranged for his burial to be in the family plot in Bochnia but I have been unable to confirm this. He died in Devon on 23rd November 2008, aged 90.


anna said...

This person can be my relative become may great grandfather father surname was Drescik and he was born in bochnia to will ask my grand mother for him

ARCHIVE said...

Thank you Anna. I look forward to hearing from you and if your family can help me to add anything to this story please contact me by email on