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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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317 squadron badge
01.01.1945 No 317 Squadron Spitfire LEIX MK190 Fl/Lt. Powierza

Operation: Patrol

Date: 1st January 1945

Unit: No. 317 Squadron (Polish)

Type: Spitfire LEIX

Serial: MK190

Code: JH-P

Base: B.61 Advanced Landing Ground, Ghent, Belgium

Location: Sint-Denijs-Westrem, Ghent, Belgium

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Tadeusz Powierza KW. P-1646 PAF Age 30. Killed


During the morning of January 1st 1945 the Luftwaffe launched Bodenplatte (1) or Baseplate and it was an attempt by the German forces to destroy allied aircraft and gain air superiority. Although Allied losses were high as most of the aircraft were lost on the ground that could and would be replaced within days - pilots were saved, the Luftwaffe lost irreplaceable fighter pilots.

Fl/Lt. Powierza KW (2) did manage to take off to defend the landing strip and was one of two lost this day in the air, shot down by a pilot from II.JG1 at 09.35 hrs. Fl/Lt. Tadeusz Powierz crashed just south of Ghent and sustained severe head injuries and although taken to a hospital in Ghent, succumbed to his injuries and died the same day.

(1) Bodenplatte - Wikipedia has a great explanation of this operation with a great deal of other information.

(2) K.W. – Krzyż Walecznych (Polish Cross of valour) – awarded after demonstrating deeds of valour and courage on the field of battle.

58 O.T.U. (Operational Training Unit) Course 20 / Squad 1 - Front row: Sgt. Pawlowski, F/O. Wyanaowski, P/O. Powierza, P/O. O'Brien, F/O. Zegallo, F/O. Kolanko, Sgt. Barnes, Sgt. Dowding - Centre row: Sgt. Malec, Sgt. Blore, Sgt. Bassett, Sgt. Bushell, Sgt. Clymer, Sgt. Gray, Sgt. Hawkey - Back row: Sgt. Idrjan, Sgt. Caldecott, Sgt. Mikusek, Sgt. Haynes, Sgt. Bell, Sgt. Nahlik.

Burial Details:

Initially buried at the Roman Catholic Cemetery, Sint-Denijs-Westrem, Belgium Grave Nr.1025 but reinterred later at the Polish War Cemetery in Lommel.

Fl/Lt. Tadeusz Powierza. Polish War Cemetery, Lommel, Belgium. Grave: I.C.12. Born in Warsaw on 24th August 1914, no N.o.K. details available as yet.

The Grangemouth Air Cadets and the Grangemouth Spitfire Memorial Trust who provided me with so much information and assistance during my visit, Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945'.

Pages of Outstanding Interest
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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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