Pole Most Popular RAF Pilot

Discussions on all aspects of Poland during the Second Polish Republic and the Second World War. Hosted by Peter K
User avatar
henryk
Member
Posts: 2233
Joined: 27 Jan 2004 01:11
Location: London, Ontario

Pole Most Popular RAF Pilot

Post by henryk » 21 Sep 2017 18:53

http://www.thenews.pl/1/11/Artykul/3267 ... s[quote][b] Polish WWII pilot leads British poll to honour RAF heroes[/b]
Polish Radio 21.09.2017 13:30

A Polish World War II pilot is well ahead in a poll held by a London museum to honour the heroes of Britain’s Royal Air Force.

Supermarine Spitfire Vb 'BL614 / ZD-F'. Photo: Alan Wilson, [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Franciszek Kornicki, now 100, leads the poll, which the London-based RAF Museum has launched in the run-up to next year’s centenary of the British air force.

The aim is to select heroic RAF Spitfire pilots to be highlighted at a major exhibition.

An image of the winner of "The People’s Spitfire Pilot" title will be turned into a life-sized cut-out to stand beside an iconic Spitfire VB BL614 plane in the exhibition gallery.

Museum curators have decided that instead of being based on how many enemy aircraft were shot down by each pilot, the selection will be done online, with voters choosing the most captivating individual story.

Kornicki is among the 11 pilots whose biographies have been selected by members of the museum as well as academic and popular historians.

The last surviving Polish World War II squadron leader, Kornicki turned 100 last December. He is well ahead of the other pilots in the poll, with close on 200,000 votes, ahead of Sir Douglas Bader, with around 3,000 votes.

Kornicki’s short biography compiled by the society of Friends of the RAF Museum says that, after Poland was invaded by both Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia in September 1939, "Kornicki found himself flying an outdated PZL P.7 fighter in a losing battle."

It adds: "Undaunted by the collapse of Poland’s defences, he, like thousands of other servicemen, made his way to Britain to continue fighting. His ability as a pilot and quiet authority were noticed and, in February 1943, he took command of 308 Squadron which operated Spitfire Vbs.

"He was, at 26, the youngest squadron commander in the Polish Air Force. After surviving more than three years in the front line, he became a staff officer in 1944. After the war, Poland was controlled by Stalin’s communists, so he decided to remain in exile and joined the RAF; serving as an officer for over 20 years.”

To cast a vote in the poll go to: https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/london/wha ... les-pilot/. (mk/gs/pk)
[/quote]

User avatar
henryk
Member
Posts: 2233
Joined: 27 Jan 2004 01:11
Location: London, Ontario

Re: Pole Most Popular RAF Pilot

Post by henryk » 21 Sep 2017 18:58

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francisze ... i[quote]By August 1940 the Polish Air Force already had more than 8,000 men on its strength in Britain and eventually it consisted of sixteen fighter and bomber squadrons had been formed which were operationally subordinate to the RAF. After flying training on the Boulton Paul Defiant he was posted on 11 October 1940 to 303 Squadron, just after it moved north to rest and reform after achieving in six weeks the highest score of all the squadrons that took part in the Battle of Britain. On joining 303 Squadron he converted to the Hawker Hurricane. In January 1941 he joined 315 Squadron, which in July moved to RAF Northolt and was reequipped with Spitfire MkIIs. On 23 July he flew his first mission over France, with the usual instructions to stick close to his section leader. He described the experience as follows: "We were over twenty thousand feet with France below us when I heard on the RT [radio transmitter] that enemy aircraft were approaching, and later there were reports of attacks and warning shouts - somebody was fighting somewhere. I thought we were moving about a bit nervously when I remembered the golden rule: never fly straight and level for any length of time - and so I too weaved behind my energetic leader, trying desperately not to collide with anybody and not to lose him. I managed, but I did not see much else except him and my immediate neighbours. Our squadron was not molested and we all came back in one piece. I landed drenched with perspiration, jumped out of my aircraft, lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply" [2]

On 13 February 1943, he took over command of No. 308 Polish Fighter Squadron: at 26 he was the youngest squadron commander in the Polish Air Force and the first from the twelfth entry at Dęblin to reach such a position. At the end of the month he came down with appendicitis, and on 7 May he became commanding officer of No. 317 Polish Fighter Squadron, which he led until December 1943. From January 1944, having survived over three years as a fighter pilot, Kornicki was transferred to a ground job as a liaison officer. He then attended the Polish Air Force Staff College in Weston-Super-Mare, after which he served in staff positions at 84 Group HQ, 2nd Tactical Air Force, in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. As a staff officer he was forbidden to fly operational sorties but he had just received permission to retrain on the latest model of Spitfire when the war in Europe came to an end. For his wartime service he was awarded the Silver Cross of the Virtuti Militari (War Order No. 08487) and the Cross of Valour with two bars
[/quote]

User avatar
henryk
Member
Posts: 2233
Joined: 27 Jan 2004 01:11
Location: London, Ontario

Re: Pole Most Popular RAF Pilot

Post by henryk » 25 Sep 2017 19:09

http://www.thenews.pl/1/11/Artykul/3273 ... vote[quote]
Pole wins ‘People’s Spitfire Pilot’ vote

Polish Radio 25.09.2017 10:15

A Polish World War II squadron leader has won an online poll to pick a heroic RAF Spitfire pilot to be highlighted at a special exhibition.

Supermarine Spitfire Vb 'BL614 / ZD-F'. Photo: Alan Wilson, [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Franciszek Kornicki, now 100, won 325,000 votes -- sixteen times more than all the other nominees put together.

The poll was launched by the London-based Royal Air Force Museum together with The Telegraph newspaper in the run-up to next year’s centenary of the British air force.

The ballot saw a wave of support for Kornicki from Poles, including the Polish diaspora in Britain, totalling nearly 1 million people.

An image of Kornicki, the winner of "The People’s Spitfire Pilot" title, will be turned into a life-sized cut-out to stand beside an iconic Spitfire VB BL614 plane in the exhibition gallery.

Museum curators decided that instead of being based on how many enemy aircraft were shot down by each pilot, the selection would be done online, with voters choosing the most captivating individual story.

The last surviving Polish World War II squadron leader, Kornicki turned 100 last December.

(pk) Source: PAP
[/quote]

User avatar
henryk
Member
Posts: 2233
Joined: 27 Jan 2004 01:11
Location: London, Ontario

Re: Pole Most Popular RAF Pilot

Post by henryk » 18 Nov 2017 19:16

http://www.thenews.pl/1/9/Artykul/33570 ... n-UK[quote]
Veteran Polish RAF hero dies in UK
Polish Radio 18.11.2017 12:05

Franciszek Kornicki, winner of “The People’s Spitfire Pilot” title this year , has died a month before his 101st birthday. The news of his death was announced to the Polish Press Agency by his son Richard.

Franciszek Kornicki as a young pilot. Photo: Gabukasv/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

He died on Thursday, with his wife, Pat, and two sons, Peter and Richard, as his side. He had been married for 69 years.

“We have lost our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Long live his memory!”, Richard Kornicki wrote.

His biography compiled by the Friends of the RAF Museum group says that after the invasion of Poland in September 1939 by both Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia, Franciszek Kornicki “found himself flying an outdated PZL P.7 fighter in a losing battle. Undaunted by the collapse of Poland’s defences, he, like thousands of other servicemen, made his way to Britain to continue fighting.

“His ability as a pilot and quiet authority were noticed and, in February 1943, he took command of 308 Squadron which operated Spitfire Vbs. He was, at 26, the youngest squadron commander in the Polish Air Force. After surviving more than three years in the front line, Franciszek Kornicki became a staff officer in 1944. After the war, Poland was controlled by Stalin’s communists, so he decided to remain in exile and joined the RAF; serving as an officer for over 20 years.” He retired in 1972.

Two months ago, Franciszek Kornicki scored a landslide victory in a poll to select a Spitfire pilot with the most captivating individual story to be highlighted at a major exhibition marking next year’s centenary of the Royal Air Force.

His full-length image will be turned into a life-sized cut-out to stand beside an iconic Spitfire VB BL614 in the exhibition gallery.

Kornicki’s honours included the Order of the Virtuti Militari, the Cross of Valour and the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.

Adam Kwiatkowski, a senior official in Polish President Andrzej Duda’s Office, told the Polish Press Agency: “Another hero of the struggle for an independent and free Poland has passed away. Colonel Kornicki was among those who created our history. It is a challenge for us to see to it that young generations remember these heroes.”
(mk/pk)[/quote]

Return to “Poland 1919-1945”