Friday, 3 July 2015


He was born on 25th February 1907, one of five children of Stanislaw and Bronislawa Zejdler and between 1916-1922 he attended the Stanislaus Jachowicza school in Plock.  Due to the unfortunate death of his father, he was obliged to leave school in October 1922 and take a job to help his mother maintain the family.  However, he still had to do his military service and he was conscripted into the Air Force, starting on 1st October 1925 in the 1st Aviation Regiment.  He graduated from the NCO School in June 1926 and joined his regiment.  On completion of his National Service, he remained in the Air Force and moved on to a course in bombing and gunnery which he completed at Grudziadz in January 1929.

His first experience in flying came on a French Breguet XIX and, over the next 10 years he built up an impressive number of hours fling in a wide range of aircraft, surviving a crash, just outside of Okecie airport, in which his aircraft was a total write-off.  On May 31, 1936, he married Natalia Krzesiak and they had three children, the last of which was born in May 1939.

During the 17 day war in Poland, he served with 211 Eskadra and was transferred to the air base at Ulez and on the outbreak of war, three days later, he was sent to Kuciny Alexandrov as part of the crew of a PZL P37B bomber.

Roman Bonkowski, the pilot of the PZL P37B “Moose” 72.18 described a flight which took place on 4th September 1939.  He said that they set off to attack a German armoured column close to the airport at Kuciny Alexandrov near Lodz.  Their plane was attacked by three German fighters and was also hit by anti-aircraft fire from the ground.  In flames, they crash landed in a field near Rychlocice after suffering severe damage from German flak and gunfire from a Messerschmidt Bf109D, most probably from 1 Staffel I/ZG2.  German records do not claim that his plane was shot down, but equally they do not acknowledge the Me109Bf claimed by the pilot on behalf of Zejdler. 

Roman Bonkowski (the pilot) stated that Aleksander Zejdler showed superhuman courage in strafing the German armoured columns from only 50-100 feet and also for bringing down this German fighter.  Injuries incurred during this action (bullet wounds in the knee and lower leg) are likely to be the reason why he was no longer fit to fly and had to take up a ground crew position.  They destroyed secret and vital parts of the already burning aircraft and set off on foot for Skierniewice.

On 17th September he flew to Romania where he was disarmed and theoretically interned and presumably acquired a false identity, money and travel documents from the diplomatic mission in Bucarest.  Eight days later he arrived in Constanta  and a couple of weeks later in Balcic (now in Bulgaria).  He waited there for a few days before boarding a Greek vessel that took him to Beirut via the Levant (Syria), Istanbul and Cyprus.  From Beirut he sailed on the French ship Ville de Strasbourg via Malta, Tunis and Sardinia to Marseilles.  He was billeted at Istres about 40 miles north west of Marseilles.  He was clearly unhappy there and volunteered to come to England, arriving here, via Paris and Cherbourg, in mid-December 1939.

He formally enlisted in the Royal Air Force on 8th February 1940 at RAF Eastchurch in Kent.  Due to his wounds he was no longer fit to fly and joined the ground training staff as a mechanic.  Later he was transferred to the Polish Depot at Blackpool.  In 1943 he was transferred to 304 Squadron at RAF Docking in Norfolk until September 1944 when he transferred to 25 (Polish) Elementary Flying Training School at RAF Hucknall in Nottinghamshire.  He is believed to have also served in 307 Squadron at some point.  He survived the war and returned to Poland in October 1946.

He worked in a clerical capacity but retrained and achieved managerial status in a variety of places, ending up as Head of Supply in a brewery.   He died in Plock on 5th December 1977 and is buried in the communal cemetery there.

During the course of his military career he was awarded the Polish Air Medal and several British campaign medals.

Photo courtesy of Wojciech Zmyslony

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