Date added: 22 Nov 2016
A Tribute to F/O Kazimierz Jan Wójcicki by Barbara Wojcicka McFarlane
My uncle, Kazimierz (Kazik), was born on 1st March 1914 in Sambor, near Lwów (now Sambir, Ukraine) and graduated as a pilot from the Polish Air Force training school in Dęblin, Poland in1938. He escaped from Poland at the start of the war and made his way to France (Marseilles) via Romania, Greece (Athens) and (probably) Lebanon.
On arrival in the UK, he was assigned to 305 Polish Bomber Squadron based at Hemswell, Lincolnshire. Having flown many missions, in October 1942 he was sent to recuperate at the RAF Officers’ Convalescence Home in Torquay, Devon (housed in the Palace Hotel). There, on the night of the 25 October, he was one of 64 victims of a German bomber that scored a direct hit on the East Wing of the hotel.
He is buried in the Polish War Graves (Air Force) section of Newark Cemetery, Nottinghamshire (grave number 311-O), which my husband and I visited on the 70th anniversary of his death. I never met my uncle as I was born some years after he died but, by all accounts, he was a kind, caring, generous, handsome and very popular young man. I wish I had known him!
Honours: War Order of Virtuti Militari (Silver) and the (Polish) Cross of Valour (four times, the maximum number of times it may be awarded to the same person).
The above photograph shows Kazimierz and HRH the Duke of Kent (Kazimierz is on the Duke’s right). Place and date of photograph unknown but it must have been taken before 25 August 1942, the day HRH died in a military air crash in Scotland.
My father, Roman Marian Wójcicki (b.1917), came to England (via the gulags of Siberia, Persia and Iraq) in 1943, too late to be re-united with his brother. He followed him into the RAF and saw active service in Italy as a wireless technician in 663 (Polish) Air Observation Post Squadron. After the war he settled in London where he died in 1985.