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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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302 squadron badge
18.10.1940 No. 302 Squadron Hurricane I P3930 WX-X F/O. Borowski

Operation: Scramble/interception

Date: 18th October 1940 (Friday)

Unit: No. 302 Squadron (Polish)

Type: Hurricane I

Serial: P3930

Code: WX-X

Base: RAF Northolt, Middlesex

Location: Kempton Park Race Course, Sunbury, Middlesex

Pilot: F/O. Jan Borowski P-0250 PAF Age 28. Killed

Update October 2015 - Jockey Club of Gt. Britain hosted unveiling for the Aircrew Remembered Memorial Plaque


Took off from Northolt in bad weather conditions to intercept German bombers and fighter escort. Section became lost in clouds and descending, went into low clouds and fog and got lost over the Surrey Hills, Aircraft hit the ground at Kempton Park, Sunbury, Middlesex at 200 mph. at 15:06 hrs.

It is thought that the aircraft hit a barriage balloon cable. Hurricane caught fire.

It is also understood that the patrol leader ordered all of them to try and force land on the race course.

Left: F/O. Jan Borowski (courtesy Peter Sikora)Any eye witness to his crash contacted us in November 2014: Mrs. Brenda Telander, who in 2014 is 83. With thanks to Brian Gates who interviewed Brenda for us:

"I was sent on an errand by my mother to collect a 1lb. of sausages which she had ordered in advance from the butchers. Instead of returning via Manor Lane, I decided to go via French Street instead. I turned left in to Staines Road and was walking towards White Lodge Garage. On the corner was a café and as I continued walking there was a tremendous roar and a very loud explosion. The first plane came down very fast and blew up on impact setting the fence and trees alight. (Webmaster note: This first crash was that of F/O. Jan Borowski)

Then a second plane came and was breaking up, bits seemed to fall in the field near by, and as I stood there a pilot fell from the sky landing about 25-30 feet in front of me in the road. There was no movement but his parachute had been deployed as it came down over his body. Both planes had crashed onto Kempton Park.

I was so shocked at what I had seen I was rooted to the spot.

Then the bullets started to explode and were firing in all directions. A Warden then picked me up to remove me from the danger. Once he put me down I ran home the way I should have gone, via Manor Lane.

When I got home I told my mother what I had seen. She scolded me for not coming back the way I should have. When she saw the sausages she noticed that my fingers had pierced the skin of two of them from the shock of what I had seen. She said those two will be for you for tomorrow nights dinner. I was 10 years old in 1940".

Brenda added. "French Street still exists but White Lodge Garage and the café have gone. The field now has houses and flats. There is a turning Batavia Road from Staines Road nearly opposite where the planes crashed. The fence has been re built and the trees have grown up there.

Where this happened at Kempton Park is still open ground - it would be nice to have a plaque there to commemorate two brave men".

Webmaster note: Aircrew Remembered presented a plaque in a ceremony in the Royal Box courtesy of Kempton Park Racecourse on October 18th 2015.

Reception - courtesy of Kempton Park management.

Above: media coverage for the event - Brian Gates and webmaster outside the Royal Box at Kempton Park Racecourse.

A bad day for 302 Squadron as they lost another three pilots:

P/O. Peter E.G. Carter attached to 302 Squadron (formerly of 605 and 73 Squadron) Hurricane P3931 WX-V also crashed on the course.
P/O. P-1292 Aleksy Žukowski flying Hurricane V6571 WX-Q.
One Polish pilot escaped hurst after a crash landing - 76820 Sgt. Bronislaw Bernas flying Hurricane I P2918 WZ-Y. He survived the war settling in England. Died 3rd September 1980. Buried in Folkestone, Kent.
P/O. P-1291 Stefan Wapniarek flying P3872 WX-R.

The other 302 squadron pilots lost this day L-R: P/O. Carter, P/O. Wapniarek, P/O. Žukowski

Left and grave photo above Northolt Cemetery, as visited by Aircrew Remembered March 2013

Burial Details:

F/O. Jan Borowski. Northwood Cemetery, Middlesex. Sec H. Grave 29. Next of kin details not currently available. Born on 31st May 1912, in Radom, Poland. Joined 302 Squadron from 5 OTU (Operational Training Unit) on 17th October 1940. Served during Battle of Britain. 3 kills to his credit.

Researched for relatives of the pilot. With thanks to the following for further information supplied Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Polish Squadron ORB website which we regret is no longer online.


Day 101 of Battle of Britain: Fighter Command serviceable aircraft as at 09:00 hrs

Blenheims - 43. Spitfires - 218. Hurricanes - 408. Defiant -16. Gladiator - 7.

Sporadic attacks on London, Kent and South East coast. Over 40 in total for this day.

Weather: Fog in Straits of Dover and Thames Estuary. Low cloud. Visibility poor.

Patrol - Maidstone:

Hurricane P3872 WX-R P/O. Stefan Wapniarek P-1291 VM. Up at 15:05hrs — crashed 16:05hrs.
Hurricane P3923 WX-U Fl/Lt. Franciszek Jastrzębski P-1296. (note). Up at 15:05hrs — down 15:45hrs.
Hurricane V6371 WX-Q P/O. Aleksiej Zukowski P-1292. Up at 15:05hrs — crashed 16:05hrs.
Hurricane P3930 WX-X F/O. Jan Borowski P-0250 VM. Up at 15:05hrs — crashed 16:05hrs.
Hurricane P3931 WX-V F/O. Peter Edward George Carter 41375. Up at 15:05hrs — crashed 16:05hrs.
Hurricane P2918 WX-Y P/O. Bronisław Bernaś 76820 (note). Up at 15:05hrs — force landed 16:25hrs.

Scramble - patrol over Maidstone at 30.000ft.

Hurricane V6744 WX-C P/O. Włodzimierz Eugeniusz Karwowski P-1284 (note). Up at 15:10hrs — down 17:05hrs.
Hurricane V6865 (1) WX-L Fl/Lt. James A. Thomson RAFVR. Up at 15:10hrs — down 17:05hrs.
Hurricane P3538 (2) WX-J Sq/Ldr. Mieczysław Mümler P-1288 VM. CBE. DFC. (note). Up at 15:10hrs — down 17:05hrs.
Hurricane P3085 (3) WX-A F/O. Julian Kowalski P-1400 VM. DFC. (note). Up at 15:10hrs — down 17:00hrs.
Hurricane V6860 (4) WX-B Fl/Lt. Antoni Wczelik P-1419 (note). Up at 15:10hrs — down 17:05hrs.
Hurricane P3205 WX-E Sgt. Eugeniusz Jan Adam Nowakiewicz P-1913/793583 VM. (note). Up at 15:10hrs — down 17:10hrs.
Hurricane P3085 WX-A F/O. Julian Kowalski P-1400 VM. DFC. (note). Up at 17:30hrs — down 18:00hrs.

(1) On 17th January 1942 Hurricane V6865 whilst with 56 OTU collided with Stirling W7467 from 7 squadron. Hurricane pilot, 19 year old P/O. Derek Malcolm Browne 107991 RAFVR from Bournemouth, Hampshire, killed. Stirling pilot, 31 year old P/O. Ronald Wilkins Taylor DFM AUS/402263 RAAF of Strathfield NSW, Australia killed with all his 7 other crew.

(2) Hurricane P3538 was lost on the 8th November 1940 whilst with 302 Squadron. Pilot Sgt. Wilhelm Kosarz 780828 PAF killed.

(3) Hurricane P3085 force landed on 9th November 1940 whilst with 27 MU - pilot ok.

(4) Hurricane V6860 is thought to have been the aircraft that crashed whilst with 59 OTU. Pilot 24 year old Sgt. George Robert Dawson 1393903 RAFVR from San Paulo, Brazil killed when the aircraft flew into the ground at Kelso, Roxburghshire, Scotland.

Notes: P/O. Włodzimierz Eugeniusz Karwowski. Born 13th September 1912 Kielce, Poland. Died 21st May 1978 in Auckland New Zealand. Retired as Sq/Ldr. - Sq/Ldr. Mieczysław Mümler. Born 10th December 1899 Lwów Poland. Died 05th September 1985 London, retired as W/Cdr. - F/O. Julian Kowalski. Born 10th July 1910. Died 07th December 1986 Ipswich, Suffolk, England. Retired as W/Cdr. - Fl/Lt. Antoni Wczelik. Born 04th October 1910 Kalinowszczyzna, Poland. Killed 14th April 1942. Sq/Ldr. - 306 Squadron. - Sgt. Eugeniusz Jan Adam Nowakiewicz. PoW 23rd July 1942. Born 02nd January 1919 Jaslo, Poland. Died 05th January 1998 Bury, Lancashire, England. Retired as Fl/Lt. - Fl/Lt. Franciszek Jastrzębski. Born 10th November 1905 Zglechów, Poland. - killed 25th October 1940. - P/O. Bronisław Bernaś. Born 06th August 906 Lwów, Poland Died 3rd September 1980, Folkestone, Kent England.

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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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