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Archive Report: Allied Forces

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303 Polish fighter squadron badge
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)

Code: RF-D

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


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

Burial Details:

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.

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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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