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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 Crest
21.05.1944 No. 308 Squadron Spitfire LF.IX ML215 ZF-R Fl/Lt. Jan K. Kurowski

Operation: Rhubarb

Date: 21st May 1944 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 308 Squadron (Polish)

Type: Spitfire LF. IX

Serial: ML215

Code: ZF-R

Base: RAF Chailey

Location: 1 km west of Wiry, 16 km south of Abbeville, France

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Jan Kazimierz Kurowski P-1213 PAF Age 28. Killed 


This day saw the start of a massed attack against German communication and radar targets over Northern France  - this was to be maintained until the invasion. Consequently these actions resulted in a huge increase in casualties, in particular on this day (30 aircraft lost) and the 22nd May 1944 (A further 13 lost).

Fl/Lt. Jan Kazimierz Kurowski (courtesy Stanislaw Bochniak DFC - Via Peter Sikora)

Fl/Lt. Jan Kazimierz Kurowski's aircraft received a direct hit from flak, he pulled up but was then hit again, the aircraft exploded (8.5 West of Lillebonne).

Spitfire LF. IX ML 215 (courtesy of Gretzyngier, Matusiak, Wojcik, Zielinski)

The squadron's ORB states how the Rhubarb went, they were performing a sweep in the area north of the Seine to Mount Gassicourt Crepy En Val Gayeux. Orders to attack the enemy railway communications. 

Pilots involved in this operation - carried out between 07:30 and 08:40 were: 

Fl/Lt. Jeka (1) his Spitfire IX ML254 was badly hit by flak at 08:10 S.W of Buchy, seen to open his canopy after crash landing and consequently taken PoW.

Fl/Lt. Czarnecki (2) flying Spitfire ML116 wounded also after being hit by flak at 08:00 West of Buchy - (see photo below). Other pilots involved in this mission were: Sawoszczyk (3), Korwel (4) Chojnacki (5).

Outside Officers Mess, Northolt Left to right: Zielonka, Kurowski, unknown with Miksa's monkey, Ptocki, Jeka and Kedzierski.

308 Squadron with Fl/Lt. Jan Kazimierz Kurowski 5th from right, Stanislaw Bochniak DFC playing the accordion (courtesy Stanislaw Bochniak DFC - Via Peter Sikora)

(1) Fl/Lt. Józef Jeka 780836 PAF died on the 15th April 1958 aged just 41. (Buried at Newark)

(2) 26 year old, Fl/Lt. Stanisław Jan Czarnecki P-0241 PAF emigrated to Argentina after the war, we have no further information about him.

(3) 23 year old, W/O. Józef Sawoszczyk 792373 PAF, died 31st December 2001 in Doylestown, USA.

(4) W/O. Wacław Korwel 783144 PAF killed by communists on the 24th March 1952 after he returned to Poland (he was a Guinea Pig Club member)

(5) F/O. Wacław Chojnacki 783435 PAF killed on 1st of January 1945 during battle over Ghent (Bodenplatte operation).

Left to right: Langhamer, unknown, Kurowski, Pomietlarz, Bondarczuk, unknown, Jeka and Pietrzak. Used for the cover of the book "For Your Freedom" (courtesy of the late F. Tomczak, 306 Squadron, via Peter Sikora)

Above: Grave of Fl/Lt. Jan Kazimierz Kurowski (courtesy André Demaret)

Right: Memorial at Chailey, West Sussex (courtesy David Boyce who sent this into us August 2015)

The memorial commemorates the loss of the only two Polish pilots who lost their lives flying from RAF Chailey - Fl/Lt. Jan Kurowski and F/O. Adamek - killed on the 18th May 1944. Memorial dedicated in 2000 on the site of the Plough public house in Plumpton, Sussex.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Jan Kazimierz Kurowski. Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension - Somme, France. Plot VI Row E Grave 3. Further information:  Born on the 4th March 1915, in Prague. On 3rd January 1936 joined the PAF Cadets School for training, graduating in March 1938. 

Joined Air Regiment Warsaw and on 15th October promoted to the equivalent of P/O. Joined 217 EB Bomber brigade - took part in operation until around the middle of September 1939 when they were evacuated to Romania - eventually leaving via France to Britain early in 1940. 


After a short period with 300 Squadron as a navigator he was sent on pilot training. Promoted to F/O. in March 1941. 29th May 1942 posted to 306 Squadron. Transferring to 308 Squadron on 25th August 1943.

Awarded Cross of Valour with bar.

Page of Remembrance dedicated to John Kaye - son of Fl/Lt. Jan Kazimierz Kurowski, a good friend of the webmaster. Aircrew Remembered would like to thank Peter Sikora for the detailed information on Jan. To André Demaret for the grave photo, we hope to have others from the Abbeville Cemetery. Laurent Viton of France for the very accurate crash location. Robert Gretzyngier, Woitek Matusiak, Wadldemar Wojcik and Josef Zielinski for the use of some of these photographs.

KTY 26.07.2015 Map added

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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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