Wednesday, 7 March 2012


He was born in Cieszyn on 24th December 1920. He graduated from the SPLdM military school in Deblin in 1939 but was captured by the Russians on 18th September 1939 – the day after they invaded Poland – and taken to the prison in 15th Century Dubno Castle (now Ukraine) – a transit camp for those bound for the gulags. He was moved to Siewzeldorlag camp in the autonomous republic of Komi (Russia) arriving there on 15th June 1940. The following year he was moved to Juza camp in the Russian Province of Iwanowska and on 24th October 1941, he arrived at Aktiubinsk camp in Khazakhstan where he appears to have stayed until he was released to join the Polish forces.

After being released from Russian captivity, he suffered from a severe illness, probably aggravated by malnutrition, he joined the newly forming Polish forces in Samarkand (Uzbekistan) in 1942 but he became ill again and remained in hospital until the spring of 1943.

He was then taken, via Baghdad, Iraq, to the Suez Canal where he boarded a ship and sailed for Glasgow in Scotland. He was accepted for the Air Force and probably sent to the Polish depot at RAF Blackpool, where he would complete his basic training and begin to learn English.

He was eventually posted to 304 Squadron where he was probably a member of the ground crew whilst he waited for his place in 16 Service Flying Training School at RAF Newton near Nottingham. He trained there as a pilot and qualified in 1945. Afterwards he was transferred to RAF Dunholme Lodge in Lincolnshire.

On 30th September 1946 he married Maria Machowska, who was in the Womens Auxiliary Force at RAF Hucknall in Nottinghamshire. She had also been arrested and sent to Mucznaja Labour Camp in Archangel, Russia, on 11th March 1940. After his honourable discharge in 1947, they returned to Poland with their first born son Zbyszek. They later had another son, Kazimierz and a daughter.

After that Ernest worked in a coal mine as a planner and manager. He died on 8th December 1990 in the mining hospital at Bytom, Poland.  He is buried in the Catholic Cemetery, Bracka Street, Katowice.

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