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Unknown Polish Airman

Old 15th Apr 2006, 16:39
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: London
Posts: 192
Unknown Polish Airman

Ok, here's a challenge.
My late Aunt acqured a painting, shortly after the War, which she was told was of a Polish airman and was done from life immediately after he returned from a bombing raid over German. I have attached (I hope) a picture of this painting. It is dated 23rd February, 1942 and signed "A. Wart".
A couple of weeks ago I toddled over to the Imperial War Museum to see if I could start tracking down who this airman is (or was). He appears to me to be a Navigator as he is in his flying kit, but his right hand is ungloved (whereas his left is not) and he has a properly folded map next to him.
According to 'The Polish Air Force at War' (J.B. Cynk, p296), on 22-23 Feb 1942, 19 Wellingtons from 300 and 301 Squadron bombed a German floating dock in Wilhemshaven. So the date fits and if I'm right that the sitter is a Navigator, then he is one of 19 people.
Further on in the Book, I found a photo (also attached if I've done it right) showing a severely damaged Wellington of 300 Squadron, which returned from a raid on 1-2 September, 1942 with a picture of the crew next to it. The navigator is identified as Ft. Lt. Boleslaw Bilinski, and he seems to me to bear a close likeness to the sitter in my picture. It seems to me there is a 1 in 19 chance that the two Navigators are the same people, in which case I have successfully identified the chap in my portrait.
I'm off to the Polish Air Force Club soon to see if they can help. In the meantime, I wondered iff the assembled brains of PPRuNe had any knowledge of contacts they could shed on this little story?

Footless Halls is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2006, 17:13
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: UK
Age: 78
Posts: 3,685
I am very sorry that I cannot answer your immediate question but perhaps we could start a Polish Air Force thread and then maybe we could get an answer for you.

I was highly influenced in my young RAF pilot career by Polish aircrew. My biggest mate was Flt Lt Lew (Lefty) Kurylowicz. However, I also had many good friends along the way with names like Jaworski, Radomski and Wandzilak.
JW411 is offline  

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