Tuesday, 2 October 2012



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.

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