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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 badge
08.11.1941 No. 308 Squadron Spitfire Vb AB930 ZF-J F/O. Surma

Operation: Circus 110

Date: 8th November 1941 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 308 Squadron (Polish)

Type: Spitfire Vb

Serial: AB930

Code: ZF-J

Base: RAF Northolt, Middlesex.

Location: English Channel, North West Dunkirk, France.

Pilot: F/O. Franciszek Surma 76713 PAF Age 25. Missing


This Polish fighter 'ace' had a lucky escape previously when on the 29th October 1940 he was engaged n combat with Me109 over Bobbingsworth, Essex and shot down. He managed to bale out, suffering no injuries. At the time he was with 257 Squadron, flying a Spitfire P3893. Again on the 11th May 1941 whilst with 308 Squadron flying Spitfire R6644 - see plaque.

During a Circus on the way to Lille, visible contact was lost with the Bomber stream and the squadron decided to patrol the Dunkirk area at around midday. They were attacked by a small formation of Me109's with F/O. Suma being shot down by Hptm. Johannes Seifert of 1./JG26 at 13:05 hrs. Neither his body or aircraft recovered.

Classed as an ‘ace’ with a tally totalling 7 destroyed, with 5 others shared/damaged.

Above left: F/O. Surma V.M. Right: Hptm. Seifert

Memorial placed at Jennet Street Lane, Madresfield, Worcestershire by the Malvern Spitfire Team in 1987 (courtesy Little Friend - see links) "Pro Patria" - 'For Ones Country.'

Burial Details:

F/O. Franciszek Surma V.M. Commemorated on the Polish Memorial and also on the Warsaw Memorial. Born on 1st July 1916 at Galcowice, Poland. Son of Francis and Tekl (née Wodecki) of Głębocz, Poland. Joined 308 Squadron in March 1941. Prior to this he had served with 151, 607 and 257 Squadrons - a 'Battle of Britain' pilot.

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' and - Krzystka List, Christopher Shores and Clive William - 'Aces High'. Aircrew Remembered own archives. Little Friend at the ww2talk Forum for the memorial plaque photo.

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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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