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The Airmen's Stories - F/O J Kowalski


Julian Kowalski was born at Nagornik, SW of Wroclaw, on 10th July 1910. He joined the Polish Air Force in 1932 and after training was posted to 121 Fighter Squadron of the 2nd Aviation Regiment. He went on 123 Squadron until September 1937 when he became an instructor at the Cadet School of Aviation.

In September 1939 the school was evacuated to Romania and he went on to France, enlisting in GC I/145 and flying the MS406.



On 9th June 1940 he shared in the destruction of a Do17.

After the French collapse he made his way to La Rochelle and sailed for England, arriving on 21st June 1940.

He went to the Polish Wing at 3 School of Technical Training Blackpool and was posted from there to 302 Squadron at Leconfield on 26th July.

Kowalski went with a 302 Squadron detachment to Duxford on 13th September to operate with the Bader Big Wing. On the 15th he probably destroyed a Do17 and damaged another and on the 19th he destroyed a Ju88. The detachment returned to Leconfield on the 25th.

He was awarded the KW (gazetted 23rd December 1940) and a Bar (gazetted 1st February 1941). On 4th March he damaged a Ju88. Kowalski was given command of the squadron in November 1941. He was awarded a second Bar to the KW (gazetted 19th February 1942).

On 26th April he damaged a Fw190 and on 27th July he destroyed another. Kowalski was awarded a third Bar to the KW (gazetted 20th August 1942) and the VM (5th Class) (gazetted 20th August 1942).

On 25th August 1942 Kowalski was posted to HQ 10 Group as Polish Liaison Officer. He moved to HQ 81 Group on 11th November to do the same duties. He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 15th November 1942).

On 20th June 1943 Kowalski went to 58 OTU Grangemouth to instruct. He moved to 18 Sector HQ on 15th February 1944 and on 12th April he was given command of No. 1 Polish Wing at Northolt. He probably destroyed a Fw190 on 20th June.

Kowalski was posted to HQ 11 Group on 10th October 1944, moved to RAF Coltishall on 25th February 1945 and to Andrews Field, Essex on 8th August 1945 as OC Polish Personnel.

He was released from the Polish Air Force in January 1947 as a Wing Commander. Kowalski settled in Britain and began a career designing agricultural machinery for the company Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies.

He died on 7th December 1986. He is buried in The Lawns Cemetery, Ipswich.

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