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.