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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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315 Squadron Crest
31.01.1944 No. 315 Squadron Spitfire Vb AB784 Fl/Sgt. Zalenski

Operation: Formation flying exercise

Date: 31st January 1944 (Monday)

Unit: No. 315 Squadron PAF

Type: Spitfire Vb

Serial: AB784

Base: RAF Coolham, Sussex.

Location: Hampton, South London

Pilot: Fl/Sgt. Jozef Stanislau Zalenski 780369 PAF Age 30. Seriously injured

The English relatives would very much like to hear from Jozef's relatives in Poland.

Update September 2017: relatives now in contact, Aircrew Remembered have united them.


Weather Conditions: Cloudy with moderate visibility. Details are rather sketchy regarding what happened, but it seems that six aircraft were taking part in formation training during daylight hours.

Above centre with his wife, Doris in 1950 and right, with son Richard 1953.

Spitfire AB784 had engine problems and the pilot was forced to crash land in a garden nursery in Hampton, south London.

The pilot was seriously hurt with head injuries and after being rescued by two ladies, he was hospitalised at the West Middlesex Hospital. The Spitfire was subsequently struck off charge. One of the ladies we have since learnt was a Mrs. Shorthouse. Jozef used to take his son Richard, visiting her after the war and for a period remained in contact.

Fl/Sgt. Jozef Stanislau Zalenski had a remarkable record with VI claims during the period he served with 306 squadron, which he joined after convalescence from his serious injuries on Wednesday, June 28th 1944.

Because of the German counteroffensive with V-1 rocket attacks on London, the Mustang Wings of the 2nd TAF were assigned to the defence of the Southern England.

On July 9th, the Poles moved to ALG Brenzett, where the invasions stripes were removed to help the aircrafts in high-speed chase after the V-1.

In addition a higher-octane fuel was used, which required more attention being given to engines. In its new role, 306 squadron did better than other units with over 50 flying bombs shot down within five weeks.

16th July 1944 - Mustang III FB393 UZ-U Brenzett, Kent 16.50 hrs. Destroyed V-1 2 miles north of Rye after two attacks.
26th July 1944 - Mustang III FB241 UZ-U Brenzett, Kent 06.09 hrs. Destroyed (shared) V-1 7 miles west of Rye - estimated speed of the V-1 was 410 mph - shared with a pilot from 315 squadron
26th July 1944 - Mustang III FB241 UZ-U Brenzett, Kent 06.15 hrs. Destroyed V-1 Ham Street, Rye - exploding near a farm.
26th July 1944 - Mustang III FB241 UZ-U Brenzett, Kent 14.15 hrs. Destroyed V-1 Off Hastings
28th July 1944 - Mustang III FB241 UZ-U Brenzett, Kent 22.35 hrs. Destroyed V-1 off Maidstone, Kent.
29th July 1944 - Mustang III FB393 UZ-U Brenzett, Kent 10.20 hrs. Destroyed V-1 Woods, north of Hastings. Following two, close range attacks with the diver exploding on the ground.
30th July 1944 - Mustang III FB241 UZ-U Brenzett, Kent 13.38 hrs. Destroyed (shared) V-1 Appledore area - shared with Sgt. Czezowski also from 306 squadron.
07th August 1944 - Mustang III FB393 UZ-U Brenzett, Kent 07.22 hrs. Destroyed V-1 Dallington area
17th August 1944 - Mustang III FB241 UZ-U Brenzett, Kent 09.14 hrs. Destroyed V-1 Rye - Dymchurch area
19th August 1944 - Mustang III FB350 UZ-U Brenzett, Kent 21.06 hrs. Destroyed V-1 Tonbridge area

Promoted to Warrant Officer on 11th September 1944 with effect from 3rd July 1944. Awarded Cross of Valour, twice.

Jozef Stanislau Zalenski shown seated front right. Others unknown - are you able to assist? (note, marked with an X on original photograph: Rear: 1st left, 2nd left, 3rd left, 4th left. Front seated 1st left - KIA?

Burial Details:

Not applicable - survived. He died in Hamilton, Ontario May 3rd, 2001, age 87. Jozef changed his name to Jozef Hampton after the war - choosing this name from the English town where he survived with the help of those "two ladies".

Jozef Stanislau Zalenski born in Plesna, Crakow, Poland on the 5th December 1913. Living in Tarnopol until the outbreak of war. In 1935 he was in 6th Air Regiment in Lwow (now Lviv) where he served as an aircraft mechanic (and team leader). Responsible for aircraft engines. His monthly salary 270 zlotys (68 Euros)

Above, another image submitted regarding Jozef Stanislau Zalenski - no names, are you able to identify?

After the war Jozef remained in England for a while, joined Thomas Cooke where he met his future wife Doris. In the early 60's they both, with their young son, Richard emigrated to Ontario, Canada, Doris sadly died in 1995. Richard, Patti and family still live in Stoney Creek, Canada.

Richard and Patti would very much like to have contact with any Polish relatives from Jozef's family. They would also like to have any photographs of him during the war period or any in his uniform.

Researched for Patti Hampton, daughter in law of Jozef and dedicated to all members of his family and his many friends with thanks to the family of Jozef Zalenski, Peter Sikora for very detailed history on his service career, Brian Cull/Bruce Lander "Diver! Diver! Diver!" Also to Daniel Jóda who contacted us in September 2017.

KTY Map updated 21.12.2019

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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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