01.01.1945 No 317 Squadron Spitfire LEIX MK190 Fl/Lt. Powierza
Date: 1st January 1945
Unit: No. 317 Squadron (Polish)
Type: Spitfire LEIX
Base: B.61 Advanced Landing Ground, Ghent, Belgium
Location: Sint-Denijs-Westrem, Ghent, Belgium
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Tadeusz Powierza KW. P-1646 PAF Age 30. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
During the morning of January 1st 1945 the Luftwaffe launched Bodenplatte (1) or Baseplate and it was an attempt by the German forces to destroy allied aircraft and gain air superiority. Although Allied losses were high as most of the aircraft were lost on the ground that could and would be replaced within days - pilots were saved, the luftwaffe lost irreplaceable fighter pilots.
Fl/Lt. Powierza KW (2) did manage to take off to defend the landing strip and was one of two lost this day in the air, shot down by a pilot from II.JG1 at 09.35 hrs. Fl/Lt. Tadeusz Powierz crashed just south of Ghent and sustained severe head injuries and although taken to a hospital in Ghent, succumbed to his injuries and died the same day.
(1) Bodenplatte - Wikipedia has a great explanation of this operation with a great deal of other information.
(2) K.W. – Krzyż Walecznych (Polish Cross of valour) – awarded after demonstrating deeds of valour and courage on the field of battle.
58 O.T.U. (Operational Training Unit) Course 20 / Squad 1 - Front row: Sgt. Pawlowski, F/O. Wyanaowski, P/O. Powierza, P/O. O'Brien, F/O. Zegallo, F/O. Kolanko, Sgt. Barnes, Sgt. Dowding - Centre row: Sgt. Malec, Sgt. Blore, Sgt. Bassett, Sgt. Bushell, Sgt. Clymer, Sgt. Gray, Sgt. Hawkey - Back row: Sgt. Idrjan, Sgt. Caldecott, Sgt. Mikusek, Sgt. Haynes, Sgt. Bell, Sgt. Nahlik.
Initially buried at the Roman Catholic Cemetery, Sint-Denijs-Westrem, Belgium Grave Nr.1025 but reinterred later at the Polish War Cemetery in Lommel.
Fl/Lt. Tadeusz Powierza. Polish War Cemetery, Lommel, Belgium. Grave: I.C.12. Born in Warsaw on 24th August 1914, no N.o.K. details available as yet.
The Grangemouth Air Cadets and the Grangemouth Spitfire Memorial Trust who provided me with so much information and assistance during my visit, Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945'.