13.03.1942 303 Squadron Spitfire Vb BL656 Fl/Lt. Lokuciewski VM DFC CV & 3 Bars
Operation: Circus 114
Date: 13th March 1942 (Friday)
Unit: No. 303 Squadron (Polish)
Type: Spitfire Vb
Serial: BL656 (1)
Base: R.A.F. Northolt, Middlesex
Location: 8 Miles North West Hazelebrouck, France
Pilot: Fl/Lt.‘Tolo’ Witold Lokuciewski D.F.C. V.M. C.V. 3 Bars P-1492 P.A.F. Survived – P.o.W. Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking off from R.A.F. Northolt, Middlesex at 14.10 hrs the Squadron were detailed to provide close escort for some Boston aircraft that were to bomb the railway junction at Hazelebrouck, France. Flak was experienced as they crossed the coast but it proved very inaccurate.
Having dropped their bombs the formation started their return trip. About 8 miles North West of Hazelebrouck 15 – 20 Me109F’s dropped on the Spitfires. Sq/Ldr. Kolaczkowski and F/O. Drobinski D.F.C. each destroyed one and F/O. Lipinski probably destroyed another. Fl/Lt.‘Tolo’ Lokuciewski D.F.C. was hit with the result that the Merlin engine packed up, he was also wounded in the leg.
German soldiers ‘examining’ the wreck of RF-D
Captured shortly afterwards by a German unit who treated him very well and an Austrian doctor, based at the Saint-Omer Hospital in fact saved his leg. After surgery he was greeted by Luftwaffe Officers with bottles of wine! Later transferred to a hospital in Germany, then on to Stalag Luft Sagan and Belaria in Poland.
During his captivity although, fortunately he was not one of the chosen ones to take part in the ‘Great Escape’ he did make a couple of attempts. On the 15th August a group tried to escape. He and many others were caught and sent to solitary confinement.
Well known shot taken in 1940 of some ‘Polish Boys’. L to R: P/O. Ferić, Fl/Lt. Kent, F/O. Grzeszczak, P/O. Radomski, P/O. Zumbach, P/O. Łukuciewski, F/O. Henneberg, Sgt. Rogowski, Sgt. Szaposznikow.
(1) Bl656 was built at the Castle Bromwich Factory and powered by the Merlin 45 engine.
Left: Grave of ‘Tolo’ Lokuciewski today at Powazki Military Cemetery
None – Fl/Lt.‘Tolo’ Witold Lokuciewski D.F.C. V.M. C.V. 3 Bars. Survived the war, in 1947 he returned to Poland – later joined the Polish Airforce in Poland and learned to fly the new jet aircraft such as the Mig15. Later returning to England as Military Attaché with his wife.
During his career with the P.A.F. in the war he was credited with 8 kills – ‘Battle of Britain’ pilot – Born February 2nd 1917 in Russia of Polish parents.
‘Tolo’ died on April 17th 1990, buried at the Powazki Military Cemetery (Shown left)
Researched for relatives of the pilot with thanks to the following for further information, 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’, Wikipedia, Aircrew Remembered own archives.