Tuesday, 19 July 2016

JAN STANISLAW AWDZIEJEW


 
He was born on 20th June 1920 at Lwow (now Lviv, Ukraine) and after his formal education, he attended the school for non-commissioned officers at Bydgoszcz.  His course was accelerated because of the imminence of war and he qualified as an aircraft mechanic at Krosno in 1939.  He was there during the September Campaign and was evacuated from Luck to Romania.
 
He was one of the many who quietly slipped out of the detention camp and travelled to France with the help of false papers and cash provided by the Polish Embassy in Bucarest.  Like so many others, he was not happy with the fact that he was not used or given training.  When France fell, he was again evacuated and made the journey to England where he arrived on 26th July 1940 and rejoined the Polish forces.
 
He was given immediate language training and familiarisation with British aircraft; he completed several courses and was then deployed to airfields with combat and auxiliary units.  One of his postings was with 317 Fighter Squadron where he was a corporal mechanic working on fighters.  He then volunteered for flying duties and was selected for pilot training.  He started the training in December 1942 and passed out as a pilot in April 1944 and was posted to 577 Army Co-operation Squadron to gain experience of flying.
 
    Awdziejew as a mechanic (behind pilot) with 317 Squadron

His duties there were mainly target towing, probably in Airspeed Oxfords as he had trained on twin engined aircraft.  The Squadron was based at RAF Castle Bromwich in Warwickshire but he may have served almost anywhere as they had detachments spread widely across the North, the Midlands and Wales.

He was later posted to No 6 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit where he became a member (second pilot) of the crew of F/O Dabrowski and was involved in ripping together a crew.  Together, they were posted to 304 Squadron on 15th December 1944 who were then serving in Coastal Command and based at RAF Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides.
As with so many of the long, dreary patrols over the water there was very little action but, on the night of 21st/22nd April 1945, his crew spotted the wake of a U-Boat;  they were unable to attack, but saw it again on two occasions during the patrol.  On the final sighting they dropped six depth charges, spaced 60ft apart and from a height of 170ft.  Nothing was seen but a large oil slick appeared along the track of the wake and was still visible an hour later indicating probable damage to the U-Boat.
 
During his career he was awarded the Cross of Valour, the Polish Air Medal, the 1939-1945 Star, the War Medal, the Air Crew Europe Star and the Defence Medal.  After the War ended, on 9th July 1945, he was posted to 17 ACHU (Air Crew Holding Unit) at RAF Snaith near Goole on Humberside and then on to RAF Hucknall in Nottinghamshire as an instructor.
 
He was then transferred to the Polish Resettlement Corps where he remained until he emigrated to Brazil in 1946.

2 comments:

Zbigniew Majewski said...

I was thrilledtoread the biography of the member of the crew which my father F/O Jerzy Majewski belonged to when the attack on U-boot took place on April 20/21 1945. The logbook page documenting it is available in the scan on http://www.polishairforce.pl/dyw304zdj.html

ARCHIVE said...

Hello Zbigniew,

I am so leased that you liked the story. I would like to expand the story on Jerzy Majewski - with your help! I cannot contact you on here so please email me direct on nevillebougourd@gmail.com