15.05.1943 No. 315 Squadron Spitfire IX BS554 PK-P Sgt. Lewandowski
Operation: Circus 297
Date: 15th May 1943 (Saturday)
Unit: No. 315 Squadron (Polish)
Type: Spitfire IX
Base: RAF Northolt, Middlesex.
Location: Caen area, France
Pilot: Sgt. Piotr Lewandowski 780888 PAF Age 23. PoW (We understand that he was awarded the M.B.E, at a later date - would appreciate any further details)
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off at 16:07 hrs to rendezvous with 6 Mitchells that were to bomb the airfield at Caen. Shot down during a combat with four Fw190's from JG2 which took the squadron by complete surprise coming from behind and above near Caen, France.
Sgt Lewandowski was shot down, 3 aircraft patrolled the area on a rescue mission, after the combat, but no trace could be found. F/O. Blok destroyed one, F/O. Dubielecki claimed another Fw190 as damaged.
Squadron landed back at Northolt at 17:45 hrs.
However, a further twist in this operation, Group Captain Stefan Pawlikowski managed to 'join' the squadron as a 'guest' - sadly, he was shot down and killed.
Course 24, 58 O.T.U. Grangemouth, Scotland: Front row: Sgt. Kulczycki, F/O. Tatarski, F/O. Zegallo, F/O. Jenik, F/O. Karnkowski, F/O. Frackiewicz - Centre row: Sgt. Martens, Sgt. Bedkowski, Sgt. Michalkiewicz, Sgt. Swistun, Sgt. Lewandowski, Sgt. Smidowicz, Sgt. Jastrzebski, Sgt. Nawarski - Rear row: Sgt. Makosz, Sgt. Judek, Sgt. Loska, Sgt. Mindykowski, Sgt. Kempka, Sgt. Lojek.
Notes: Spitfire IX BS554 first flew on the 29th October 1942 after being built at Rolls Royce Factory in Hucknall, fitted with the Merlin 61 engine.
None, Sgt Lewandowski was made a PoW. No further details regarding his release etc. But we would like to expand on the information as he is recorded as having received the MBE. Please contact us. Born on 28th June 1920.
Researched for relatives of the pilot. With thanks to the following for further information supplied, the 1333 (Grangemouth Spitfire) Squadron and the Grangemouth Spitfire Memorial Trust who provided me with so much information and assistance during my visit, Polish Squadron O.R.B. 'website'. Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses' Vol. 2.