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Polish Air Force in the UK

300 Bomber Squadron)



Flight Sergeant Stan Getman's father Michal was a Polish police chief who was taken from his family and executed (along with 22,000 officers and intellectuals) by the Russians in 1940.  This has become known as the Katyn Massacre.

F/Sgt Getman was aged 17 when the Germans and then the Russians invaded Poland. As a serving member of the Air Force in Poland, F/Sgt Getman was arrested by the Russians and imprisoned in a Siberian labour camp where 650,000 inmates died.

In 1941, when Russia changed sides in the war, the airman was sent to England where he joined the RAF's No. 300 Polish Bomber Squadron in the RAF and flew on 45 bombing runs over Nazi-occupied Europe. On his last mission the Lancaster aircraft he was in was shot down in a ball of flames over France. He was the only one of the seven-man crew to parachute out of the blazing aircraft alive.

He was picked up by the French resistance and spent the rest of the war working with them for about a year, sabotaging the German war effort. After the war, he settled in England and married wife Constance.

An intelligent man who was fluent in five languages, he applied for a job as a Russian translator with the government during the Cold War but was inexplicably rejected in case he had Soviet Union sympathies due to his time in Siberia. (The government official who rejected his application obviously did not understand what being sent to a Siberian labour camp meant!) Instead, he worked as a supervisor in a textile factory in Warrington, Cheshire. He ended up getting up at 6am every day and cycling to work to do a job that was well below his capability. His son said he wasn't bitter, just disappointed. F/Sgt Getman died in the 1990s. 

His son said that for a long time in his life his father felt very hard done by, and it is easy to see why.  Considering the mortality rate of Bomber Command was nearly 50 per cent, Stan did very well to get through 45 sorties. He cheated death when his plane was shot down by anti-aircraft fire. He was a tail gunner but had just swapped positions with the radio operator when the plane was hit. Stan was the only one to escape by parachuting to ground. He suffered two broken ankles and was in shock at having seen all his crew mates explode in a ball of fire.

In all he was awarded 19 gallantry and campaign medals by Poland, France and Britain. He really should have received a Distinguished Service Order from the RAF for everything he did, but he did not.

His Polish medals include:

  • Order of Vituti Militari,

  • Cross of Valour,

  • Cross of Merit,

  • Air Force Medal

His French medals are :

  • Croix de Guerre,

  • Croix de Combattant Voluntaires,

  • Croix de Combattant,

  • Medaille Engage Voluntaire,

  • Medaille de la Guerre 1939/45,

  • Medaille de Union Nationalle des Combattants.

His British medals are:

  • Air Crew Europe Star,

  • 1939-45 Star,

  • Africa Star,

  • Italy Star,

  • France Star,

  • Germany Star,

  • Defence Medal,

  • War Medal

  • Bomber Command Medal


Stan Getman

Getman on the left

Crew reviewing flight plan

Getman on the right

300 Bomberr Squadron

Stan with wife Constance

in England

Stan's Medals

Copyright: Getman family


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