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Mieczyslaw MUMLER

Polish Air Force

Mieczysław Mümler, a middle-aged fighter pilot, was the embodiment of the Polish fight for independence. He was the commander of the Polish 302 Squadron during the Battle of Britain.


Back in 1918, he defended Lwów, then took part in the Greater Poland Uprising, and finally fought against the Bolsheviks in the Polish-Soviet war in 1920. As an airman, he defended Poland in 1939, and later fought in the Battle of France.


When he stood in defence of Great Britain as the commander of the 302 Squadron – the first Polish fighter unit formed in the UK – he was the oldest Polish airman in the Battle of Britain. Yet, he achieved the ace status, scoring his last confirmed victory in September 1940.


Although his tenure as a combat pilot in the RAF Fighter Command was rather short, back in 1940 no other Polish airman was as experienced as he was, and no other pilot personified Polish patriotic traditions like Mümler.


He had been an artilleryman before he joined the Polish Air Force in 1926. When WW2 broke out, he was already an experienced pilot commanding the III/3 Fighter Squadron and scoring his first victories. After the failed September 1939 campaign, he evacuated via Romania to France, where he organised and commanded the II Polish Fighter Squadron in Lyon.


With France conquered by Hitler, and the Polish Air Force recreated in England, Mümler, already in Great Britain, was a perfect candidate for the commander of the 302 Squadron.


The 302 Squadron was the first Polish fighter unit which became operational during the Battle of Britain. On 20 August 1940, Mümler’s squadron was credited with its first victory and finished the Battle of Britain by destroying 20 enemy planes.


Although the 302 Squadron was not as successful or popular as another Polish fighter unit, the legendary 303, it proved its worth fighting throughout the war within the Fighter Command structures.


Soon after the Battle of Britain was over, Mümler was transferred to training duties, occasionally flying combat missions as the commander of the Northolt base (1942-1943). Even then, in his mid-forties, Mümler flew successful sorties, and once damaged a Fw-190 German fighter.


His post-war days were far from glorious. He didn’t return to Poland, and never accepted British citizenship. He settled in Great Britain, and just like many Polish “yesterday’s heroes,” was forced to undertake a low-paid job: the fighter ace who once defended Great Britain became a baker. Mieczysław Mümler passed away in London in 1985.

Source: IPN Facebook page

Copyright: Mumler family

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