A Hero to remember – Sgt. Maciej Maciejowski, one of Churchill’s Few

Michał Karol Maciejowski was born on 29th October 1913 in Gródek Jagielloński, Poland.

He attended the Jan Sobieski gymnasium in Rzeszów for six terms.

He was called up for military service in the 40th Infantry Regiment in the Lwów garrison. In 1935 he volunteered for flying training at the training wing of the 6th Aviation Regiment at Skniłów airport near Lviv.

On 17th September, with many other Polish airmen, he crossed into Romania but to avoid internment carried on to France. It seems that he decided not to enlist with l’Armee de l’Air but carried on to England, arriving on 2nd february 1940. Again the details of his passage to England are unclear.

After assessment and training he was posted to 111 Squadron on 2nd September but went on to 249 Squadron on 11th October.

He claimed a Me109 destroyed on the 29th, a Me109 destroyed and two more probably destroyed on 7th November, another probably destroyed on 28th November and Me109s destroyed on 5th December, 10th January 1941 and 10th February.

After a course at 56 OTU Maciejowski was posted to 317 Squadron on 10th April 1941. He claimed a probable Ju52 on 22nd May.

317 Squadron

He was awarded the KW and Bar (gazetted 1st April 1941),a second Bar (gazetted 15th July 1941) and the DFM (gazetted 30th October 1941).

Maciejowski claimed two Me109s destroyed on 30th December. He was awarded the VM (5th Class)(gazetted 5th May 1942) and commissioned in June.

He claimed a Ju88 and a Fw190 destroyed and he shared a Do17 over Dieppe on 19th August and was posted away from 317 on 25th August to 58 OTU Grangemouth as an instructor.

Maciejowski was awarded a third Bar to the KW (gazetted 15th November 1942) and the DFC (gazetted 15th November 1942).

He returned to operations on 23rd March 1943 when he joined 316 Squadron at Northolt. He probably destroyed a Fw190 and damaged another on 4th May and destroyed a Me109 on 11th June.

Maciejowski was over Montreuil on Ramrod 191 on 9th August 1943 in Spitfire IX SZ-E BS302 when he collided with F/O LA Kondraki in SZ-R BS457. Kondraki was killed, Maciejowski baled out and was captured.

He was imprisoned at Stalag Luft III and was liberated and returned to duty on 1st June 1945.

After a refresher course at 16 FTS Newton on 21st August Maciejowski was posted to 309 Squadron at Coltishall on 11th November. He remained with the squadron until its disbandment on 6th January 1947. Maciejowski was then released as a Flight Lieutenant. He settled in England and changed his name to Manson.

Sgt. Michał Maciejowski is remembered at the Battle of Britain Memorial in London

Manson rejoined the RAF in June 1951. Initially a test pilot, by 1963 he was doing a ground job. He later transferred to the Catering Branch and in 1970 was running a large RAF Transit Hotel in Malta.

He retired in 1972 as a Flight Lieutenant. He lived in England until the death of his wife Christine. In 1987 he moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, to live with his only daughter, Karen Schmidt.

Maciejowski died on 26th April 2001 in Winnipeg at the age of 87.

Source: bbm.org.uk

Pictures: bbm.org.uk, Archiwum Dywizjonu Myśliwskiego 306, British Poles

Colourisation of the cover photo: X @colour_history

 

 

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