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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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303 Squadron badge
17.06.1944 N0 303 Squadron Spitfire Vc BM407 RF-Z W/O. Zygarlicki

Operation: Patrol

Date: 17th June 1944 (Saturday)

Unit: No. 303 Squadron (Polish)

Type: Spitfire Vb

Serial: BM407

Coce: RF-Z

Base: ALG - RAF Horne. (1)

Location: Saint-Martin-de-Fontenay, south of Caen, France

Pilot: W/O. Leon Zygarlicki 783220 PAF Age 24. Killed


Take off at 11.30 hrs on a patrol led by Sq/Ldr. Koc DFC following the Normandy invasion flew over a German strong hold at Saint-Martin-de-Fontenay where it was repotted that a large section had attacked U.S. troops. he and F/O. Swietlikowski attacked the column. 

Right: W/O. Leon Zygarlicki

The attack started at around 12.55 hrs. Following initial attacks W/O Zygarlick was seen to jettison his long range fuel tanks at 13.00 hrs, diving again, but upside down towards the target. F/O. Swietlikowski saw the aircraft hit the ground and explode. 

Due to lack of fuel he was unable to make another pass to confirm what happened to W/O. Zygarlicki and returned to base. He did confirm that during the attacks they were under fire from anti aircraft guns.

(1) ALG - Advanced Landing Ground, in this case, 'Horne' situated 30 miles south of London near Horley. Used mainly to offer protection from the V.1 rockets.

Notes: Spitfire Vb BM407 had been built at the Castle Bromwich Works on the 2nd April 1942. Fitted with R.R. Merlin 45M engine.

303 Squadron in formation (see credits)

Grangemouth, Scotland 58 OTU. Course 21. Polish flight: Front row: Sgt. Kirchner, P/O. Habela, P/O. Uchwat, P/O. Nentwich, P/O. Mroczyk, P/O. Skibinski, Sgt. Lisowski – Centre Row: Sgt. Korwell, Sgt. Domanski, Sgt. Gajewski, Sgt. Bzowski, Sgt. Fraczek, Sgt. Kwasniewski – Back Row: Sgt. Benzinski, Sgt. Karasinski, Sgt. Slepica, Sgt. Malczewski, Sgt. Blaha, Sgt. Zygarlicki, Karasinski. W.


Bayeux War Cemetery Then and Now (see credits)

Left: Grave of W/O. Leon Zygarlicki 783220 at Bayeux, France

Burial Details:

W/O. Leon Zygarlicki. Bayeux War Cemetery, Calvados, France. Plot II Row G. Grave 21. Born on 28th June 1919 at Belzec Poland. NOK details not available as yet.

Researched for relatives of the pilot with thanks to the following for their additional information: 

The Grangemouth Air Cadets and the Grangemouth Spitfire Memorial Trust who provided me with so much information and assistance during my visit, Polish Squadron O.R.B. 'website', Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945'. Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum London. Also thanks to Jim at the WW44 forum for the Bayeux photographs.

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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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