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Henryk had been a pilot in the Polish Air Force. He was born in 1919 in St Petersburg, Russia; he finished his training as a fighter pilot at Bydgoszcz just before the German invasion of Poland. During this he flew reconnaissance missions, but with the defeat of Polish forces his squadron evacuated into Romania and then onto France. There he trained to fly new types of aircraft, but with the fall of France again his unit evacuated, this time to Britain.


After regrouping at Squires Gate, Blackpool, Polish airmen retrained this time on British aircraft. From Blackpool he moved to 12 Operational Training Unit at RAF Benson and then to 301 Polish bomber squadron in April 1941.


After numerous missions, disaster stuck on the 8th November 1941. Leaving RAF Hemswell on a raid to Mannheim the weather reports had been badly wrong, adverse weather and especially strong winds had scattered the bomber force. On return, his Wellington bomber damaged, lost and running perilously low on fuel made a landing at an airfield they spotted by chance. The crew’s relief soon turned to despondency as they were meet by a slightly bemused Luftwaffe NCO and some sleepy guards the NCO had to wake up at their posts.


Sgt 782241 Bolcewicz became POW 24522 after the aircraft touched down at Meldeghem airbase in occupied Belguim. He was held at Lamsdorf, Muhlberg, Heydekrug, Fallingbostel and Torun POW camps. Due to the advancing Russian troops the POWs left Torun in early April 1945 and marched for 10 days, during this time the column was mistakenly strafed by the RAF and 60 POWs were killed. On the 16th April the POWs were liberated by the British Army. Returning to Britain in May 1945 he was demobbed and decided to stay instead of returning to Poland.

Henryk married June Rosemary Menzies of Lincoln in August 1948, they lived in Nettleham, Henryk worked locally and as well as charity work, he also headed the local Polish Air Force Association. The couple had no children, June passed away in 2008, Henryk passed away in a nursing home in April 2013. Henryk had sorted his and June's final resting place before his death but with fund exhausted his grave remained unmarked, until last February thanks to the efforts of Piotr Hodyra from Poland along with Marcin Kunicki of London, archivists with the Krzystek's List.

Copyright: Newark Cemetery

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