Thursday, 8 January 2015

WITOLD JACEK PIOTROWSKI


He was born on 25th November 1906 at Chelmno Lubelskie.  In 1925 he joined the Infantry Cadet Officers School, later moving to the Air Force Officers School at Grudziadz.  In 1928 he qualified as a pilot observer and was then posted to No 4 Air Wing at Torun; by November 1937 he was the Commander of 42 Flight.  On the Russian invasion of Poland he made his way to France via Romania, Jugoslavia and Italy and served at the Polish Depot in Lyon-Bron.  On the capitulation of France he came to England.

By July 194o he had been assigned to 301 Squadron and, almost exactly a year later, he took command of the squadron but remained an operational pilot.  On completion of his 30 mission tour of duty he moved to RAF Bramcote as an instructor.

On 15th February 1943 he changed tack and became Commander of 309 Fighter Squadron – again he remained an operational pilot.  In October 1943 he was sent, as an Air Force liaison officer, to Brigadier General Maczek’s 1st Armoured Division.  He then took over command of 304 Squadron from September 1945 until its disbandment in December 1946.

Later he graduated from the Air Academy and went to the Polish Air Force HQ until his demobilisation.  In 1948 he emigrated to Canada where he worked on the land and later in industry.  He died in Hamilton, Ontario on 3rd December 1973.

He was awarded the Silver Cross of the Order of Virtuti Militari, the Cross of Valour (four times), the Silver Cross of Merit with Swords and the British Distinguished Flying Cross.

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