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WOJTOWICZ Stefan - PHOTO 2_edited.jpg


Stefan Wojtowicz was born in Wypnicha, in the Lublin region of Poland on 19 June 1919. He graduated from the Polish Air Force NCO School in 1939. On 1 July 1939, he was posted to the 111th Fighter Flight of the 1st Air Regiment in Warsaw  and fought with the elite 111 “Eskadra Mysliwska” unit to defend Warsaw during the September 1939 German invasion of Poland.

The Pursuit Brigade was the most successful element of the Polish Air Force in its defensive operations against Nazi Germany in early September 1939. The Soviet Union attacked Poland from the east on 17 September and a day later, Wójtowicz crossed the Romanian border at Śniatyń. He reached France, where in the spring of 1940 he was posted to the independent fighter section of Captain Kazimierz Kuzian, defending Nantes from Luftwaffe attacks. 


After the fall of France, he was evacuated to Britain. On 18 June, Wójtowicz and two other pilots flew to La Rochelle and on June 19 to Bordeaux. On the same day they sailed from there to England aboard a Dutch ship. On 2 August 1940, he was posted to No. 303 (Kościuszko) Squadron at RAF Northolt.  


In the early days of September, Wójtowicz was involved in heavy fighting and showed himself as a capable fighter pilot. He was shot down over Tenterden in Kent on 3 September 1940, but managed to land only with minor  injuries. 


As the Battle of Britain raged, Wojtowicz proved himself a capable fighter pilot by downing two German bombers on September 7.  Flying Hurricane V7242, Wójtowicz took to the skies mid-afternoon on the 11 September 1940 from RAF Northolt. He shot down 2 more German planes, but was killed in action later that day while in combat against several German fighters. He had been shot in the forehead by a cannon shell and crashed in flames 2 miles east of Westerham Village. He was 21 years old.


The Westerham Fire Brigade witnessed Wojtowicz’s last battle, and wrote in a letter to 303 Squadron: “As to your question about Sgt. Pilot Wojtowicz putting up a good fight, there is no doubt about it for he fought magnificently, and there is no doubt about him bringing down the two Me 109s. As you can see by the enclosed statements which I and a Special Constable have signed as we two stood and watched the fight with other men of the A.R.P.”


Stefan Wojtowicz is buried at Northwood Cemetery, Middlesex, United Kingdom.  He was posthumously awarded the Silver Cross of the VIRTUTI MILITARI (No. 8816), the Polish Air Force Medal, and the Field Pilot Mark (No. 423).




Excerpts from the book "303 Squadron: The Legendary Battle of Britain

Fighter Squadron" by Arkady Fiedler, plus other online sources.

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