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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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316 Squadron Crest
13.03.1943 No. 316 (P) Squadron Spitfire F.IX EN171 SZ-B F/O. Franciszek J. Kozłoski KW.

Operation: Ramrod

Date: 13th March 1943 (Saturday) (notes)

Unit: No. 316 Squadron

Type: Spitfire F.IX

Serial: EN171

Code: SZ-B

Base: RAF Northolt

Location: Fesques, near Neufchatel-en-Bray

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Franciszek Jan Kozłoski KWx4. 76729 PAF Age 25. Killed


On Sunday 18th August 1940, Kenley and Biggin Hill were under heavy attack by the Luftwaffe. 501 Squadron (with whom he was serving) amongst others were scrambled to intercept. Very late response as the bombers were flying very low avoiding radar. The first that Fighter Command knew about the impending attacks was from the observer Corps based at Beachy Head.

501 which were sweeping an area between Tunbridge and Maidstone were bounced by Bf109’s taking them completely by surprise. The squadron lost 6 aircraft in the furious battle that followed, 4 pilots baling out, 1 other pilot killed - 30 year old P/O. John Wellburn Bland 90895 RAF from Cotham Park, Bristol.

Above: Oblt. Gerhard Schöpfel. The Merlin engine was recovered many years later as shown.

P/O. Kozlowski was shot down by Oblt. Gerhard Schöpfel of 9./JG26 (1). Wounded by a bullet in the leg he bailed out of his Hurricane I P3815 over Canterbury at 13:30 hrs. He spent several months convalescing before he joined 308 and then finally 316 Squadron.

On a Ramrod operation during the afternoon of 13th March escorting USAAF B-17’s when they were engaged by units from JG26 and JG27. Shot down and crashed at Fesques, near Neufchatel-en-Bray in France. One of 8 allied fighters lost this day, EN171 the only 316 squadron Spitfire lost.

(1) Oblt. Gerhard Schöpfel a German ace claimed 4 of 510 Squadronss Hurricanes this day. He survived the war (40 + abschüsse) and died of natural causes on the 17th May 2003 age 90. 9./JG26 named ‘Schlageter’ after Albert Leo Schlageter, a World War I veteran and Freikorps member arrested and executed by the French for sabotage in 1923.

Note: 13th March 1943 is very much remembered in Poland - the day the Nazis carried out final liquidation within the Krakow Ghetto of Poland, some 2,000 jews were murdered in the streets or sent to Auschwitz, a further 8,000 sent to Plaszow labour camp.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Franciszek Jan Kozłoski KWx4. Canadian War Cemetery, Hautot-sur-Mer. Grave H.36. Born 14th April 1917 from Wodzisław, Poland.

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot. We welcome contact from them with a view to adding additional photographs or information. We understand that soil from his grave was placed in the family tomb back in Poland.

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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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