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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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306 Squadron Crest
14.04.1942 306 Squadron Spitfire Vb AA919 UZ-J F/O. Jankowski

Operation: Circus 123

Date: 14th April 1942 (Tuesday)

Unit: No. 306 Squadron (Polish)

Type: Spitfire V

Serial: AA919

Code: UZ-J

Base: RAF Churchstanton, Somerset

Location: English Channel

Pilot: F/O. Edward Jankowski P-0714 PAF Age 28. Missing - believed killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

Took off with eleven other Spitfires on Circus 123 at 11:50 hrs, covering 12 Boston aircraft that were to bomb the power station at Mondeville, near Caen, France.

During the return flight the squadron was attacked by four Me109's, F/O. Jankowski was lost about 5 miles from the French cost in the English Channel.

Above: Sq/Ldr. Antoni Wczelik, the CO of No. 306 Polish Fighter Squadron, briefing his pilots on the next operation. RAF Churchstanton, January 1942. From left to right - Sq/Ldr. Antoni Wczelik, F/O. Adam Fliśnik, Sgt. Witold Krupa (with mascot-dog), unknown, Sgt. Jan Śmigielski; F/O. Bohdan Arct (in the background), unknown, Fl/Lt. Tadeusz Czerwiński.

Also lost during the same operation:

31 year old, Sq/Ldr. Antoni Wczelik P-1419 PAF. Flying Spitfire V AB182 UZ-W. Missing believed killed in the English Channel.

25 year old, Fl/Sgt Jan Adam Smigielski 784738 PAF. Flying Spitfire V AA860 UZ-M. Suffered damage and had to make a belly landing at RAF Tangmere. Aircraft suffering 40% damage, but pilot uninjured.

25 year old, Sgt. Edward Olszewski 780959 PAF. Of 317 Squadron Flying Spitfire V AR329 JH-R was lost about 2 miles from the French cost in the English Channel.

25 year old, F/O. Paul Charles René Coignard 30453 FFAF Flying Spitfire BL908 GW-J wounded in the leg but managed to return to base. Missing - believed killed in the same aircraft on the 23rd August 1942.

Above as described, his wife Florence was serving as a WAAF during the war. Their daughter, Janina Faye went on to become an actress. Performing on many occasions with Ingoushka Pitt (née Petrov - 21st November 1937 - 23rd November 2010) Known professionally as Ingrid Pitt, Polish/British actress/author. (courtesy Ingrid Pitt)

Fl/Sgt Jan Adam Smigielski VM V kl., 3xKW, 3xML, DFC. Born on the 13th March 1917 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Passed away on the 24th April 1992 in South West London.

Burial details:

F/O. Edward Jankowski. 2xKW. 2xML. Commemorated on the Polish Memorial at Northolt and on the Warsaw Memorial for missing airman. Born on the 27th September 1913.

Sq/Ldr. Antoni Wczelik. 3xKW. ML. Commemorated on the Polish Memorial at Northolt and on the Warsaw Memorial for missing airman. Born on the 04th October 1906 in Kalinowszczyzna (now in Ukraine.

Sgt. Edward Olszewski. ML. Commemorated on the Polish Memorial at Northolt and on the Warsaw Memorial for missing airman. Born on the 08th September 1917.

F/O. Paul Charles René Coignard. Born on the 21st July 1917 at Cormes, France. No further details - are you able to assist?

Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Archiwum Mielnika, Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', other sources as quoted below:

KTY 13.12.2019

Acknowledgements: 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', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', 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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