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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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32 Squadron badge
24.08.1940. No. 32 Squadron Hurricane I V6572 P/O. Pniak

Operation: Patrol

Date: 24th August 1940 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 32 Squadron

Type: Hurricane I

Serial: V6572

Base: RAF Biggin Hill, Kent

Location: Rhodes-Minnis, near Lyminge, Kent

Pilot: P/O. 'Cognac' Karol Pniak 76707 PAF Age 30. Survived - injured


During a patrol he was shot down over Folkestone at 16:15 hrs with his aircraft crashing at Rhodes-Minnis, near Lyminge, Kent. P/O. Pniak baled out, but injured his knee and ankle and admitted to hospital.

During October 1979 the site was excavated by the Brenzett Aeronativcal Museum which recovered several pieces of the Hurricane.

He also had another lucky escape the following year when on July 23rd 1941, returning from a Circus in Spitfire IIb P6465 whilst serving with 306 Squadron. Ran out of fuel returning from a Circus and crash landed the aircraft on Richmond Park, Surrey. Aircraft written off, pilot unhurt.

Shown right: Throttle assembly as recovered by the Brenzett Aeronativcal Museum

Burial Details:

None: P/O. Karol Pniak - survived the war. After a period with 306 squadron, served North Africa with the 'Polish Fighting Team' then to OTU at RAF Aspull near Wigan as an instructor. He then went to command 308 Squadron until June 1945 when he left to serve at the Polish Headquarters - returned to 308 Squadron in 1946 - left the service in 1947 and returned to Poland. Sadly he died in 1980 aged just 70. During his career with the PAF he totalled 7 aircraft confirmed destroyed, 2 shared, 2 probables, 1 damaged with 2 others shared, damaged.

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', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses' Vol. 1, Winston G. Ramsey - 'Battle of Britain Then and Now'. 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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