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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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315 squadron badge
15.05.1943 315 Squadron Spitfire IX BS554 PK:P Sgt. P. Lewandowski

Operation: Circus 297

Date: 15th May 1943 (Saturday)

Unit: 315 Squadron (Polish)

Type: Spitfire IX

Serial: BS554

Code: PK:P

Base: RAF Northolt, Middlesex.

Location: Caen area, France

Pilot: Sgt. Piotr Lewandowski P780888 PAF Age 23. PoW *

* Stalag Luft 3, Sagan-Silesia, Germany, now Żagań in Poland. (Moved to Nuremberg-Langwasser, Bavaria)


Taking off at 16:07 hrs to rendezvous with 6 Mitchells that were to bomb the airfield at Caen. Shot down during a combat with four Fw190s from JG2 which took the squadron by complete surprise coming from behind and above near Caen, France. Sgt Lewandowski was shot down, 3 aircraft patrolled the area on a rescue mission, after the combat, but no trace could be found. Fg Off. Blok destroyed one Fw190 and Fg Off. Dubielecki claimed another as damaged. The rest of the Squadron landed back at Northolt at 17:45 hrs.

However, a further twist in this operation, Group Captain Stefan Pawlikowski managed to 'join' the squadron as a 'guest' - sadly, he was shot down and killed.

Course 24, 58 OTU in Grangemouth, Scotland: Front row: Sgt. Kulczycki, Fg Off. Tatarski, Fg Off. Zegallo, Fg Off. Jenik, Fg Off. Karnkowski, Fg Off. Frackiewicz - Centre row: Sgt. Martens, Sgt. Bedkowski, Sgt. Michalkiewicz, Sgt. Swistun, Sgt. Lewandowski, Sgt. Smidowicz, Sgt. Jastrzebski, Sgt. Nawarski - Rear row: Sgt. Makosz, Sgt. Judek, Sgt. Loska, Sgt. Mindykowski, Sgt. Kempka, Sgt. Lojek.

Note: Spitfire IX BS554 first flew on the 29th October 1942 after being built at Rolls Royce Factory in Hucknall, fitted with the Merlin 61 engine.

Burial Details:

None, Sgt. Lewandowski was promoted to Warrant Officer (WO) whilst a PoW. Born on 28th June 1920.

Aircrew Remembered would like to expand on the information as he is recorded as having received the MBE.

Aircrew Remembered has been contacted by Steve Sherriff who believes that Piotr Lewandowski was a co-founder of the Markham Ontario Canada Airport in 1965 together with a Wg Cdr. Jan Falkowski also of 315 Squadron before becoming CO of 303 Squadron. Steve took flying lessons at that airport in 1972 and 1973 and remembered a pilot named Falkowski who gave him his private pilot flight test, Steve vividly remembers the name Lewandowski who he thought was also an RAF pilot but did not know any further details. The operation was called Lewmar Air Service.

Above: Clipping courtesy of the Calgary Herald, dated Monday July 26th, 1965

Research has confirmed that Jan Falkowski was indeed the retired Wg Cdr. in the Polish Air Force, the former CO of 303 Sqn and was a co-founder as believed by Steve. However, Aircrew Remembered has not been able to find any corroborating evidence that confirms Piotr Lewandowski as being the other co-founder so this part of the story remains anecdotal.

Aircrew Remembered has been contacted by Ian Gold who was an instructor at Lewmar Air Service during 1977-78 which was after the business was taken over from Lewandowski and Falkowski.

Ian tells us that both were very fondly remembered by the airport community, but to his recollection Piotr Lewandowski was known 'John'. Jan Falkowski's handling of the school's Cessna Aerobat was part of local lore.

Researched for relatives of the pilot. With thanks to the following for further information supplied, the 1333 (Grangemouth Spitfire) Squadron and the Grangemouth Spitfire Memorial Trust who provided me with so much information and assistance during my visit, Polish Squadron ORB 'website'. Thanks to Steve Sherriff for his contribution (Jan 2021). Other updates by Aircrew Remembered (Jan 2021). Thanks to Ian Gold for his contribution (Mar 2022). Other updates by Aircrew Remembered (Mar 2022)

RS 17.03.2022 - Update to the narrative with new information

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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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