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Miroslaw FERIĆ

Miroslaw was born at Travnik, near Sarajevo in Bosnia on 17 June 1919. His mother was Polish, and his father was Croat. In 1919 his family moved to Poland, then a newly established reborn state. He entered Cadet School in 1935 and was commissioned on 15th October 1938, when he joined 111 Fighter Squadron in Warsaw.

He was in the Polish Air Force before the war, with a rank of 2nd Lieutenant Pilot. In September 1939 he flew with the Pursuit Brigade and was credited with one enemy aircraft destroyed and shared another.

After the fall of Poland, Feric escaped to Romania and then made his way to France, where he joined l’Armée de l’Air. He converted to Morane 406 fighters and joined the fighter section, commanded by Kapt. Kazimierz Kuzius, flying from airfields at Tours, Nantes and La Rochelle.

When France collapsed in June 1940, Feric escaped to England and went to the Polish Wing at 3 School of Technical Training at Blackpool to await a posting.

In the summer of 1940, the first Polish squadrons were formed in Fighter Command. Miroslaw was posted to 303 “Kościuszko” Squadron when it was formed at Northolt on 2 August 1940 and he converted to Hurricanes. No 303 Squadron was the top-scoring RAF unit in September 1940, with nine of its pilots claiming five or more kills.

Mirosław Ferić was the 11th ranked Polish fighter ace with 9 1/3 confirmed kills, 1 probable and 1 damaged. On August 31st Ferić destroyed a Me109, on September 2nd a probable Me109, on the 6th a Me109, on the 15th a Me109 and a Me110, on the 27th a Me109 and a Me110 and on October 5th a Me110.

Ferić was awarded the VIRTUTI MILITARI (SilverClass) (23 December 1940) and the Cross of Valour (1 February 1941). He destroyed a Me109 on 22 June 1941 and was a awarded a Bar to the Cross of Valour (10 September 1941) and the DFC - Distinguished Flying Cross (30 October 1941).

Ferić, like a lot of the pilots of No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron had served in the pre-war 111th Fighter Squadron in Poland, which had continued the tradition of the 7th Squadron from the period of the Polish-Soviet War. Mirosław Ferić was known universally as Ox (all the Polish pilots fighting in the Battle of Britain adopted nicknames, for fear of reprisals against their families still living under German occupation).

During the Battle of Britain, No. 303 Squadron pilots proved their efficiency, courage and high-level flying skills, becoming favourites of the British press and public, as the airmen of the most successful fighter unit defending the British Isles in 1940.

From September 1939 he kept a personal diary, which has become No.303 Squadron’s unit history, since it was continued by his colleagues after his death.

From the summer of 1939, Ferić kept a diary in which he wrote his war experiences. He often asked his colleagues to post their experiences there. After arriving in England, Ferić's diary over time turned into a chronicle of the combat activities of the 303rd Squadron, rich in numerous press clippings, pilots' entries and photographs. After Ferić's death, Lieutenant Zygmunt Bieńkowski took over the care of the chronicle. Currently, the diary-chronicle of the 303rd Squadron is kept at the Polish Institute and Museum of General Władysław Sikorski in London.

 

Feric was killed on 14 February 1942 while still with the 303. His Spitfire, BL432, broke up in mid-air, and fell on Northolt aerodrome. During a practice flight over Northolt airfield the Spitfire VB went into a dive. At around 1500 meters. the aircraft lost a wing and then the tail - crashed onto the airfield killing the pilot instantly. The cause is unknown.

He was 26 years old when he died and left an infant son, Philip who was born five months after his father’s death. His mother died during the London bombing, and the boy was taken care of by one of the aunts. He knew his father’s fate, but he saw his youthful photos for the first time in Ostrów when he went there in 2011. For his father's 100th birthday, he brought his whole family - a wife, two daughters Antonia and Rosamunde, and a tiny 8-month-old granddaughter Ruby.

 

Ferić is buried in Northwood Cemetery. He was awarded two more Bars to the Cross of Valour (31 October 1947).

Copyright: Feric family

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