Polish Pilots in the Battle of Britain

Polish Pilots in the Battle of Britain



After the swift and successful invasion of Poland on September 1st 1939, many young Polish Air Force fighters made their way to Britain. The Luftwaffe had full control of the skies over Poland. Any attempt to fight the Nazis in the air over Poland would have been futile. However, rapidly modernising French and British air forces were an attractive alternate from doing nothing, especially as the RAF had been equipped with the ultra-modern Spitfire and Hurricane. Many made their way from Poland via Romania to France where they fought in the Battle of France and then to Britain.

 

In total 139 Poles fought in the Battle of Britain and they gained a reputation for aggressive aerial combat.

 

At the start of the Battle of Britain, Polish airmen were distributed among already established fighter squadrons in Fighter Command. However, on July 13th, 1940, they were given their own – 302 (City of Poznań) Squadron. It was equipped with Hurricanes and became operational towards the end of the battle. 302 Squadron was overshadowed by the highly successful 303 Squadron.

 

303 (Kosciuśzko) Squadron was based in Northolt. 303 was formed on August 2nd and was first blooded on August 30th when during a training flight it came upon German aircraft that had penetrated into 11 Group’s forward defences. The squadron leader, Ronald Kellett, failed to respond to a Hurricane pilot, Flying Officer Ludik Paszkiewicz, who asked permission to attack a Dornier. Despite this lack of permission, Paszkiewicz attacked and brought down the Dornier. The intelligence report made for this attack referred to ‘Green 1’ (Paszkiewicz) as closing to 100 yards before eventually closing to “point blank range” and destroying the aircraft. Paszkiewicz was given a public dressing down in front of other Polish pilots by Squadron Leader Kellett for leaving the formation without permission. After this Kellett privately congratulated him and announced that the squadron was now fully operational.  

 

Despite arriving ‘late’ to the Battle of Britain, 303 Squadron became a highly successful unit. It destroyed more Luftwaffe aircraft than any other Hurricane equipped squadron and by the time the battle had finished, 303 had the fourth highest tally of all squadrons.

 

By the time the Battle of Britain had ended, the Poles had shot down around 20% of all Luftwaffe aircraft. “The experience of seeing their homeland at the mercy of the Germans had hardened the Poles and they were regarded by fellow pilots as more than usually concentrated and aggressive.” (Patrick Bishop)  

 

One Polish pilot – Witold Urbanowicz – was one of just a few Battle of Britain pilots credited as a ‘Triple Ace’ – with 15 ‘kills’ to his name.

 

Polish pilots in the Battle of Britain:

 

Sgt. T Andruszkow
F/Lt. W Baranski
Sgt. A Beda
Sgt. M Belc
P/O B Bernas
F/O J Borowski
F/Lt. S Brzezina
Sgt. M Brzezowski
Sgt. J Budzinski
F/O A Cebrzynski
P/O S J Chalupa
P/O M Chelmecki
F/Lt. T Chlopik
P/O F Czajkowski
P/O J M Czerniak
F/Lt. J T Czerney
P/O T Czerwinski
P/O S Czternastek
P/O J K M Daszewski
Sgt. M B Domagala
P/O B H Drobinski
F/O M Duryasz
Sgt. S Duszynski
F/O J Falkowski
P/O M Feric
F/Lt. J Frey
F/O A K Gabszewicz
Sgt. P P Gallus
P/O J Gil
Sgt. A Glowacki
P/O W J Glowacki
Sgt. F Gmur
P/O W Gnys
P/O M Gorzula
F/O B Groszewski
F/O F Gruszka
F/O B Grzeszczak
 F/Lt. Z K Henneberg
P/O Z Janicki
P/O J Jankiewicz
F/O W Januszewicz
F/Lt. F Jastrzebski
Sgt. J Jeka
P/O E W Jereczek
Sgt. S Karubin
P/O W E Karwowski
P/O T W Kawalecki

F/O W S Krol
P/O T L Kumiega
F/O Z Kustrzynski
F/Sgt. J Kwiecinski
F/Lt. P Laguna
P/O S Lapka
P/O W Lapkowski
F/O W Lazoryk
P/O W Lokuciewski
F/O K Lukaszewicz
Sgt. A Lysek
Sgt. M M Maciejowski
P/O J Macinski
Sgt. B Malinowski
P/O J L Malinski

Sgt. M S Marcinkowski
Sgt. A L Markiewicz
P/O L Martel
P/O B Mierzwa
P/O W Miksa
Sgt. K A Muchowski
Sgt. W Mudry
S/Ldr. M Mumler
P/O A R Narucki
P/O P Niemiec
P/O Z Nosowicz
P/O T Nowak
Sgt. E J A Nowakiewicz
F/O T Nowierski
F/O Z Olenski
Sgt. B Olewinski
S/Ldr. J Orzechowski
F/O P Ostaszewski-Ostoja
P/O A Ostowicz
Sgt. J Palak
P/O J H Palusinski
F/Lt. W Pankratz
F/O L W Paszkiewicz
Sgt. E Paterek
P/O J P Pfeiffer
P/O S Piatkowski
P/O E R Pilch
F/O M Pisarek
P/O K Pniak
P/O J Poplawski
P/O J Radomski
P/O G Radwanski
Sgt. J A Rogowski
P/O M Rozwadowski
P/O W Rozycki
P/O W M C Samolinski
Sgt. W Sasak
F/O T Sawicz
Sgt. A Seredyn
Sgt. A Siudak
P/O H Skalski
P/O S Skalski
Sgt. H Skowron
P/O J J Solak
F/O M J Steborowski
P/O S Stegman
P/O F Surma
Sgt. L Switon
Sgt. W Szafraniec
Sgt. E Szaposznikow
P/O H Szczesny
Sgt. J Szlagowski
P/O W Szlagowski
F/O J Topolnicki
S/Ldr. W Uurbanowicz
P/O S Wapniarek
P/O A Wczelik
Sgt. M Wedzik
P/O S Witorzenc
P/O B A Wlasnowolski
Sgt. A Wojcicki
Sgt. M I Wojciechowski
Sgt. S Wojtowicz
P/O Z T A Wroblewski
F/Sgt. K Wunsche
P/O B Wydrowski
F/O W Zak
Sgt. J Zaluski
P/O P Zenker
P/O A Zukowski
P/O J E L Zumbach
P/O J Zurakowski

 

P/O = Pilot Officer

 

F/Labour = Flying Officer

 

F/Lt = Flight Lieutenant


MLA Citation/Reference

"Polish Pilots in the Battle of Britain". HistoryLearningSite.co.uk. 2010. Web.






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