He was born on 11th March 1913 in the County of Lubaczow, to Roman Szklarski and Katarzyna (nee Hamuda). He began his education at the Piramowicz School in Przemysl on 1st September 1919 and stayed there for the first three years, completing his education there in 1922. After that, his father, who worked for PKP (Polskie Koleje Panstwowe), the Polish state railways, was moved to Domazyr near Lwow. Following that, he passed the entry examination for the Koscuiszko Gymnasium School in Lwow, where he stayed until 1928 after being accepted for higher education. He was forced to leave school because his father could no longer support the cost, because of events leading to the Wall Street Crash in 1929.
He stayed with his parents until October 1931 and, in May 1931, he applied to Panstwowej Komendy Uzupelnien in Grodek Jagiellonski for help to enrol him in the army. He was accepted as fit for army service and remained there from October 1931 until September 1933 in 61st Line Squadron of 6th Air Regiment, based in Lwow. From January to April of 1932, he trained as a mechanic and then did practical training as an assistant aircraft mechanic (apprentice?) until September of that year.
After this, he was placed on the reserve list and returned to civilian life. He applied to a private school to finish his studies in the humanities, but had to give it up because these were the Depression years and his family could not support his studies. He applied to Government Agencies such as the state railways, the Police, the Post Office and the Ministry of Trade, but without success.
In September 1937, he was recalled for four weeks refresher training in the 6th Air Regiment and then returned to his civilian life.
In April 1938 he applied to Malopolski Zwiazek Mleczarski (roughly equivalent to the British Milk Marketing Board) and was accepted for three months unpaid training in the accounts department of one of the 1,475 co-operatives then extant. He worked there from 1st May 1938 until 30th July 1938 and obtained good references but was not retained as paid staff.
Three months later, he was accepted as an assistant in the Trade Department (Commercial Office?) of the railway station at Hmirdyczow-Kochawina where he was paid 1 zloty 50 groszy per day but it only lasted until the end of 1938, when the budget for that post ran out. At the time of writing (June 2013) that would just about buy one cigarette, half a bar of chocolate, a small bread roll or pay half the postage on a single letter within Britain! I realise that there has been vast inflation over the intervening years but, even then, that must have been very low pay.
Two weeks later, on 15th January 1939, he took up a post at the paper works at Kochawina, near Stryj, where he worked until 14th September 1939 as a clerk. During this time, with war imminent, he did a further four weeks training (19th June to 15th July) as a reservist with 6th Air Regiment.
He was lucky, in that he was not conscripted by the Russians, and left the area, escaping to Hungary via Ujhely and Miskolc to a little place named Merohoveod, where he remained until April of 1940. During this time, he made contact with an illegal underground group in Eger who helped him to get to Budapest (where he arrived on 12th April 1940).
Later that night, he joined a group of Poles and they moved to the border with Jugoslavia. Two days later, they made a night crossing of the River Drava and made their way to Zagreb, where they arrived on the 18th April. Six days later, they arrived at Split, where they waited for a boat to evacuate them. On 27th April 1940, they boarded the SS Patris and sailed for Marseilles, where they arrived on 1st May 1940. And made his way to join the rest of the Polish forces.
There appears to be some dispute about where the Poles gathered, but Sgt Szklarski’s own report states that they initially dispersed to Carpiagne the home of the 4th Regiment of Dragoon Guards. He was moved to the barracks at Lyon-Bron on 4th May and left there on 17th May 1940 ‘as a member of 108 Batallion (Park) in Montpellier. He remained there as a working assistant mechanic until the fall of France.
At that time, he was under the control of a Captain of Artillery, Loboda – and another named Tregano – and he left Montpellier en route for St Juan de Luz, where he boarded the SS Arandora Star. He arrived in Liverpool on 27th June 1940 and, five days later, was sent to RAF Weeton in Lancashire and later to RAF Blackpool. He was there until 17th August 1940, when he was attached to the newly forming 304 on Squadron at RAF Bramcote. He started work as a clerk there on 28th August 1940.
On 1st October of that year he was accepted as medically fit and trained as an airman and was sent for training as a wireless operator/air gunner on 12th October 1941 – a course that he completed on 22nd November 1941, after which he was sent to the Blackpool Depot. On 9th December of that year, he was transferred to 18 OTU at RAF Bramcote, remaining there until 26th April 1942, when he was returned to 304 Squadron. Two days later, he reported there and began his service with them. During this service, he was awarded the Cross of Valour on three occasions and the Virtuti Militari on 7th May 1943.
He is known to have survived the war and settled in England, changing his name to Scot. He died on 15th October 1986 in Blackpool and is buried in Carleton Cemetery.With many thanks to Grzegorz Korcz for the additional information he supplied