The Airmen's Stories - S/Ldr. J Orzechowski
Jerzy Orzechowski was born on 12th May 1905 in Oksza, Western Poland.
He graduated from the Cadet School of Aviation in Deblin on 15th August 1927. He served in the air force throughout the Thirties, commanding 141 Fighter Squadron and 142 Fighter Squadron from March 1933 to September 1937 before returning to Deblin as an instructor in October 1938.
After the September campaign he travelled via Romania and France to England.
He was at the Polish Wing at 3 School of Technical Training Blackpool from 1st June 1940 awaiting a posting. He was posted to 303 Squadron at Northolt on 16th September 1940 but was then sent on to 6 OTU Sutton Bridge on the 21st.
After converting to Hurricanes he joined 615 Squadron at Prestwick on 3rd October and then went to 607 Squadron at Turnhouse on the 10th for further training.
Some other postings followed, to 306 Squadron on the 22nd, to 245 Squadron on 15th November, back to 615 Squadron on the 29th and then to 308 Squadron at Baginton on 5th December as a supernumerary Squadron Leader.
Orzechowski was made joint CO of 308 Squadron on the 8th and he led it until 23rd June 1941, when he was posted to RAF Middle Wallop. On 23rd July he went to HQ 81 Group as Polish Liaison Officer.
Preparing for a return to operations, Orzechowski was posted to 51 OTU Cranfield on 13th August 1942 for night-fighter training. He joined 23 Squadron at Bradwell Bay on 25th September.
On 27th September he flew to Malta for the first time in Mosquito NF II DD691. Approaching the island at night, he was reduced to one engine when eighty miles out. He made RAF Luqa but the undercarriage had not locked down. Orzechowski and his observer, F/O I Szponarowicz, survived the resulting crash unhurt.
Orzechowski was given command of 307 Squadron at Exeter on 1st April 1943. He was awarded the KW and two Bars (gazetted 7th July 1943).
On 11th September he probably destroyed a Me110 and damaged three others. He was awarded the VM (5th Class) (gazetted 20th October 1943) and posted away to the Polish Air Force Staff College on 7th November 1943 for a course.
Awarded the DFC (gazetted 15th May 1944), Orzechowski went to HQ Fighter Command on 20th October 1944 and was Polish Air Attache in Paris from May 1945 until returning to HQ Fighter Command on 10th September for liaison duties.
Orzechowski was released from the Polish Air Force in January 1947 as a Wing Commander.
He settled in Canada and died there on 14th January 1988.