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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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308 Squadron Spitfire IIa P7845 Fl/Sgt. Jozef Biel

Operation: Circus 40

Date: 08th July 1941 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 308 Squadron (P)

Type: Spitfire IIa (Presentation Spitfire 'Newfoundland II')

Serial: P7845

Code: ZF-C

Base: RAF Northolt

Location: Lille, France

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Jozef Biel 780378 PAF Age 24. Injured PoW Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang


Taking with 11 others to escort Stirling bombers on an operation to Bethune. They were detailed to fly as high cover, together with 303 squadron.

It is thought that he was shot down by Ofw. Magnus Brunkhorst of 9./JG-2 at 15:48 hrs. The aircraft caught fire and despite serious burns managed to bale out. Taken prisoner by the Germans and remained in a German hospital for two years before being sent to Stalag Luft Barth Vogelsang. Returned to England in May 1945.

A 303 squadron pilot was also shot down - 31 year old Sq/Ldr. Tadeusz Aleksander Arentowicz P-0251 flying Spitfire P8502 (Presentation Spitfire 'The Heart of England). Fell in the sea off Dunkirk and was listed missing - believed killed.

Above left Fl/Sgt. Jozef Biel with Sgt. Sgt. Pawel Piotr Gallus whilst with 3 Squadron, Castletown, November 1940.

Burial and other details:

W/O. Jozef Biel - Survived the war. Born on the 30th of January 1917 in Łęki Myślenice Poland. Served with 3 squadron after training with 55 Operational Training Unit. Received extensive treatment from Archibald McIndoe after his release. Died on the 08th January 1985 and buried in Handsworth Cemetery.

Sgt. Pawel Piotr Gallus 794124 - survived the war. Born on the 28th of April 1920 in Szczawin, Poland. Died on the 10th April 2011 in Northampton.

Sq/Ldr. Tadeusz Aleksander Arentowicz P-0251 - Polish Memorial to Aircrew in Warsaw and the Polish War Memorial, Northolt. Born on the 19th April 1909 in Sierpc, Poland.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot, thanks to Air-27-1678-15/37, other sources as quoted below:

KTY 05-08-2022

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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