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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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308 Squadron Crest
11.03.1943 No. 308 Squadron Spitfire Vb AD177 F/O. Stabrowski

Operation: Rhubarb

Date: 11th March 1943 (Thursday)

Unit: No. 308 Squadron

Type: Spitfire Vb

Serial: AD177

Code: ZF-?

Base: RAF Northolt

Location: English Channel

Pilot: F/O. Tadeusz Stabrowski P-0709 PAF Age 25. Missing - believed killed (note)


During a Rhubarb operation in the afternoon his aircraft was hit by flak off Le Treport. The pilot was forced to ditch and members of his squadron later saw his lifeless body in the sea. His body was understood to have been washed up at Le Crotoy where the citizens buried him as 'unknown'.

A pilot from the 308th Squadron, Fl/Lt. Tadeusz Kazimierz Schiele 780975 PAF, described Stabrowski as a lovable drunk and crazy artist-painter.

“On the ground he was humble, hunched, unkempt, constantly blinking, reckless, always late, absentminded and in disregard of everyone and everything. In the air, he became a calm, precise and brave pilot with nerves of steel, and one of the best I have ever known.”

Note: Initially listed as missing. However in September 2017, following a request by the Polish Department of Cultural Heritage and Wartime Losses, experts from Pomeranian Medical University carried out an investigation into the identity of the 'Unknown Polish Airman' in Le Crotoy. DNA testing was carried out with positive identification being made. The CWGC will be updating the headstone.

Burial details:

F/O. Tadeusz Stabrowski. Le Crotoy Communal Cemetery. Row 1. Grave 16. Born on Wednesday the 16th May 1917 at Lubinówka, Poland (now Belarus) Husband of Elizabeth and father to Andrew.

KTY 14.01.2019

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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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