14.09.1943 No. 303 Squadron Spitfire IX MA754 RF-K F/O. Tadeusz Kołecki
Operation: Ramrod 218
Date: 14th September 1943 (Tuesday)
Unit: No. 303 Squadron (Polish)
Type: Spitfire FIX
Base: RAF Northolt
Location: South corner, Moor Park golf course.
Pilot: F/O. Tadeusz Kolecki P-1685 PAF Age 24. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Weather conditions: 3/10 cloud – vis. 4 miles – sunshine. 303 Squadron took off at 16.40 hrs. on a Ramrod operation with 12 aircraft taking part led by W/Cmdr. Falkowski and W/Cmdr. Gabszewicz of 316 squadron.
Fighter sweep under Appledore control to 72 Marauders to bomb Lille-Nord airfield. Crossed the French coast at 17.20 hrs. at 17,000 ft. Weather over the area was 8/10 cloud up to 30,000 ft.
F/O. Tadeusz Kołecki on extreme left (courtesy Robert Gretzyngier, Woitek Matusiak)
Squadron returned at 18.30 hrs. but during his return from this Ramrod operation F/O. Tadeusz Kołecki was killed as a result of an accident (Engine failure - No further details as yet) The aircraft caught fire after crashing and F/O. Kołecki died in the wreckage.
Funeral service held on the 17th September 1943 at the base prior to his body being sent to Blackpool for burial.
(Polish tradition is that the funeral takes place on the 3rd day after death)
F/O. Tadeusz Kołecki Blackpool (Layton) Cemetery, Lancashire. Section Bb. Grave 498. Born: 24th May 1919. Poland.
Acknowledgments: Jol Martyn-Clark, Robert Gretzyngier, Woitek Matusiak, Wadldemar Wojcik and Josef Zielinski for Polish information that we may have used.
Right: F/O. Tadeusz Kołecki, grave at Layton Cemetery (courtesy Jol Martyn-Clark)