13.03.1943 No. 316 (P) Squadron Spitfire F.IX EN171 SZ-B F/O. Franciszek J. Kozłoski KW.
Date: 13th March 1943 (Saturday) (notes)
Unit: No. 316 Squadron
Type: Spitfire F.IX
Base: RAF Northolt
Location: Fesques, near Neufchatel-en-Bray
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Franciszek Jan Kozłoski KWx4. 76729 PAF Age 25. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
On Sunday 18th August 1940, Kenley and Biggin Hill were under heavy attack by the Luftwaffe. 501 Squadron (with whom he was serving) amongst others were scrambled to intercept. Very late response as the bombers were flying very low avoiding radar. The first that Fighter Command knew about the impending attacks was from the observer Corps based at Beachy Head.
501 which were sweeping an area between Tunbridge and Maidstone were bounced by Bf109’s taking them completely by surprise. The squadron lost 6 aircraft in the furious battle that followed, 4 pilots baling out, 1 other pilot killed - 30 year old P/O. John Wellburn Bland 90895 RAF from Cotham Park, Bristol.
Above: Oblt. Gerhard Schöpfel. The Merlin engine was recovered many years later as shown.
P/O. Kozlowski was shot down by Oblt. Gerhard Schöpfel of 9./JG26 (1). Wounded by a bullet in the leg he bailed out of his Hurricane I P3815 over Canterbury at 13:30 hrs. He spent several months convalescing before he joined 308 and then finally 316 Squadron.
On a Ramrod operation during the afternoon of 13th March escorting USAAF B-17’s when they were engaged by units from JG26 and JG27. Shot down and crashed at Fesques, near Neufchatel-en-Bray in France. One of 8 allied fighters lost this day, EN171 the only 316 squadron Spitfire lost.
(1) Oblt. Gerhard Schöpfel a German ace claimed 4 of 510 Squadronss Hurricanes this day. He survived the war (40 + abschüsse) and died of natural causes on the 17th May 2003 age 90. 9./JG26 named ‘Schlageter’ after Albert Leo Schlageter, a World War I veteran and Freikorps member arrested and executed by the French for sabotage in 1923.
Note: 13th March 1943 is very much remembered in Poland - the day the Nazis carried out final liquidation within the Krakow Ghetto of Poland, some 2,000 jews were murdered in the streets or sent to Auschwitz, a further 8,000 sent to Plaszow labour camp.
Fl/Lt. Franciszek Jan Kozłoski KWx4. Canadian War Cemetery, Hautot-sur-Mer. Grave H.36. Born 14th April 1917 from Wodzisław, Poland.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot. We welcome contact from them with a view to adding additional photographs or information. We understand that soil from his grave was placed in the family tomb back in Poland.