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W/Cdr. Tadeusz Mieczysław Czołowski VM DFC

Born 27th December 1904 in Lwów Poland. Died 23rd February 1996, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Tadeusz Mieczyslaw Czołowski, 92, a decorated Polish war hero at age 14, died Feb. 23 in his Jefferson Park home. Mr. Czołowski was recruited into the Polish Army when he was a high school student in Poland, according to his son, Tadeusz. He fought in the infantry in Poland's war against the Bolsheviks in 1918 and was awarded the Cross of Valour.

Appointed to a Polish military academy and, after he was commissioned, transferred to the Air Force in Poland. During World War II, Mr. Czołowski served as commanding officer of a French pilot training school.

In 1942 escaped injury when he ditched his Wellington II W5519 SM-U successfully. All his crew survived this, some were killed on later operations.

In the 1940s, he joined the Polish forces in England, carrying out night bombing missions. For these missions, he was awarded the equivalent of the Polish medal of honour and the Distinguished Flying Cross by King George VI, among other military honours.

Joint citation with Sgt. M. Seredyn who was awarded the DFM:

"On the night of 28th August, 1942, Fl/Lt. Czołowski and Sgt. Seredyn were 1st and 2nd pilot respectively of a Wellington aircraft detailed to attack a target at Saarbrucken. When nearing the objective, flying at 18,000 feet, the Wellington was subjected to separate attacks by 2 fighters. The first attack was driven off leaving a trail of black smoke. During the second attack the rear gunner in the bomber was mortally wounded whilst the aircraft sustained severe damage and the fuselage filled with smoke from ignited incendiary bombs. Height had been lost to 5,000 feet and the undercarriage, bomb doors and flaps were hanging down and there were no lights. Fl/Lt. Czołowski jettisoned his bombs and ordered the crew to abandon the aircraft. Sgt. Seredyn volunteered to remain and after assisting others of the crew to abandon the aircraft succeeded in extinguishing the fires. Displaying superb airmanship Flight Lieutenant Czołowski continued the return journey and despite further difficulties which were encountered, returned to base where a crash landing was made successfully. Fl/Lt. Czołowski and Sgt. Seredyn displayed courage and fortitude worthy of high praise".
Mr. Czołowski came to the United States in 1952 and eventually settled in Chicago's Jefferson Park neighbourhood. He was a co-founder of the Polish Air Force Association in the United States.

Besides, his son, survivors include his wife, Wiktoria and another son, Tadeusz Antoni.

Standing in front of Wellington II, SM-U, W5519). From left- Brunon Malejka, unknown (fitter), Marian Zajac, Tadeusz Czołowski, Jan Jezycki, Czeslaw Poniatowski, Kazimierz Wziatek.

His Wife: Resistance Heroine

Wiktoria K. Czołowski, 92, who aided the Polish resistance for six years during World War II and immigrated to Chicago in 1952, died Friday, January 12th 2001, of heart failure in her Jefferson Park home.

Mrs. Czołowski was born in Przemysl, in eastern Poland, and studied to become a teacher. In 1933, she married Tadeusz Mieczysław Czołowski, a pilot in the Polish Air Force. After Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Mr. Czołowski escaped to France and served as a commanding officer at a pilot training school. He then joined Polish forces in England.

Mrs. Czołowski left the couple's villa in western Poland to live with her parents in Przemysl. There, she became involved in the resistance, arranging for money and supplies to be provided to the partisans. In 1941, her brother, who had been accused of helping the resistance, was killed at Auschwitz.

She worked as a financial officer for her father's company until her husband sent someone to help her and her son Tadeusz escape with false passports in 1944.

Mrs. Czołowski and her son traveled from Poland to Prague to Pilsen, where they were shot at by Czechoslovakian border guards. After six days, they reached Germany, where they met up with Mr. Czołowski, who was the chief liaison officer for the Allied Air Forces in Europe.

After moving to England and having another son, the couple came to Chicago and settled in the Jefferson Park neighbourhood. They continued to help Polish immigrants through the Polish Air Force Association, which Mr. Czołowski co-founded. In addition to her son Tadeusz, Mrs. Czołowski is survived by another son, Tadeusz Krystian; five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

With thanks to James O’Connor who for many years had been his neighbour and contacted us with this information. Also to the Chicago Tribune for the obituary details.

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