Podporucznik (Pilot Officer) Michal Drzazga

Podporucznik (Pilot Officer) Michal Drzazga

This is the story of Podporucznik (Pilot Officer) Michal Drzazga and his journey from Poland to England after the German invasion in 1939. His story is one that was replicated by many of his compatriots during this time. The information is taken from his diaries now in the possession of his son, Andrew Donaldson.

The first entry is dated the 1st of September 1939 and records Poland at the outbreak of WW2. By the 19th of September he is in Romania. He spends a couple of months in Bucharest before continuing to Bulgaria. He eventually boards a ship on the 17th of December which is bound for Beirut.

After spending a short time in Beirut he joins a French ship called the Explorataur Grandidier which is heading to Marseilles. His diary records that on the 6th of May 1940 he is in Paris and has a Polish Army (en France) ID card.

However, on the 10th of May, the Germans invade the Lowlands. He moves on to Lyon by the 23rd of May, and then to Toulouse and eventually makes it to Bayonne by the 24th of June.

He departs Bayonne at 18.15hrs on the 24th of June and arrives in Liverpool on board the Arandora Star at 08.00hrs on the 27th of June 1940.

Michal’s luck was certainly with him as during his journey to Liverpool, France became occupied during the trip and the ship that brought him to this country then sailed on, unescorted, and in the early hours of the morning of the 2nd July she was torpedoed about 75 miles off the coast of Ireland .

Once in the UK, Michal becomes one of the Polish Airmen fighting alongside members of the RAF. He was based in Blackpool and was billeted soon after arriving in England at 7 Howard Street, North Shore.

In November 1943 he joined the Polish night-fighter squadron 307 where he flew the mosquito fighter/bomber throughout the rest of the war. During the war he was promoted several times and reached the rank of Squadron Leader by 1944.

He was awarded four British medals and two Polish medals – the Polish medals were the Krzyz Walecznych and the Medal Lotniczy – which translate loosely as the Cross of Combattants and the Medal of the Airforce.

Courage & Devotion
26 June 2021 – 12 March 2022

Posted on 20 August 2021 under Exhibition, General news

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