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Polish Air Force



Witold ‘Tolo’ Łokuciewski was born to Antoni Łokuciewski on 2 February 1917 in Novocherkassk, Russia. His family moved to Wilno in Poland in 1918. He graduated from high school Jan Śniadecki in Oszmiana and gained his high school diploma in 1935. He thenb entered the Cavalry Reserve Officers School, going on to the Air Force Academy at Deblin in 1936. Lokuciewski graduated in 1938 and joined 112 Fighter Squadron in Warsaw.

In September 1939 he probably destroyed a He111 in the first days of the fighting and destroyed a Ju87 and shared a Do17 on the 6th. Witold flew his aircraft to Romania on 17th September. He then made his way to France via Yugoslavia and Italy.

During the Battle of France Witold fought in France starting from 17 May 1940 in a MS 406 fighter aircraft for the Polish Air Force established in France, based at the huge French Air Force depot at Romorantin, east of Tours. He continued to fight for the French people until a radio call from the French Prime Minister, Philippe Pétain called for a ceasefire on 18 June when his Squadron ended flights. Later being evacuated to Great Britain on 21 June and being given the service number P1492.

On 18th June the flight withdrew and Lokuciewicz sailed on the 21st for England from St. Jean de Luz. He was posted to the Polish Wing at 3 School of Technical Training Blackpool and joined 303 Squadron at Northolt at its formation on 2nd August 1940. As a member of the No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron, Łokuciewski saw considerable action through 1940–41. His pseudonym was "Tolo".

He claimed a Do17 destroyed and probably another on 7th September, destroyed a Do17 and a Me109 on the 11th and a Me109 on the 15th. On this day he was wounded in the leg in combat with Me109’s over the Kent coast. His next sortie was made on 5th October 1940, a ‘B’ Flight patrol. On 20th April 1941 Lokuciewski destroyed a Me109, on 18th June a Me109, on the 22nd a Me109 and probably another and on 11th July probably another.

During a mission taking place over German occupied France on 13 March 1942 his Spitfire Vb BL656 was shot down by Me109’s on Circus 114 near Hazebrouck, France and forced him into an emergency landing. After landing Witold was captured by the Germans and was taken to Stalag Luft III located in Żagań. During his time in the camp, he took part of The Great Escape in 1944. He managed to escape along with 25 other prisoners. He was recaptured a few days later he was caught again by Germans in Legnica. During May 1945 as the war was ending, he was liberated and taken back to England.

From July 1942 until January 1945, he was at Stalag Luft III POW camp. In 1943, Łokuciewski attempted to escape with 25 other prisoners, but was recaptured at Liegnitz (now Legnica in Poland). He also helped with the preparations for the mass escape portrayed in the 1963 film “The Great Escape.”


After liberation in April 1945, Witold returned from Germany to Britain. On 29 November 1945, he was re-posted back to No. 303 Squadron, and on 1 February 1946 he took command of that squadron as its last commander. The Squadron was disbanded on 11 December 1946.

When he returned to Poland in 1947, he was imprisoned by the Communist authorities, and on release worked as a taxi driver in Warsaw. It was not until 1956 that he was allowed to join the Polish Air Force, rising to senior rank. In 1969–71 he was the Polish Military Attaché in London. He retired in 1974 and in 1989 stood as a parliamentary candidate to the Sejm (lower house) in the first post-communist elections. He was appointed to the Presidium in the Society of Fighters for Freedom and Democracy. Later he became a member in the Council for the Protection of Struggle and Martydom Sites from 1988 to 1990

On 11 November 1988 he became a member of the Honorary Committee of Commemoration during the 70th anniversary of National Independence Day of Poland. In 1989 he was given an entry in the honorary book of soldiers by Minister of National Defense, General Florian Siwicki. In 1989, nearly half a century after the war, when asked what does a fighter feel like while attacking an enemy, Witold replied: "if it's a rather large attack - firstly fear while going through a fire avalanche, then determination and lastly, if the enemy gets shot and is coming down in a panache of smoke and fire - great massive satisfaction".

Reliable plane kills:

  • He 111 on 10 June 1940 while piloting a MS-406

  • Do 215 on 7 September 1940 while piloting a Hurricane Mk. I

  • Bf 109 on 11 September 1940 while piloting a Hurricane Mk I

  • Do 215 on 11 September 1940 while piloting a Hurricane Mk I

  • Bf 109 on 15 September 1940 while piloting a Hurricane Mk I

  • Bf 109 on 20 April 1941 while piloting a Spitfire Mk IIA

  • Bf 109 on 18 June 1941 while piloting a Spitfire Mk IIA

  • Bf 109 on 22 June 1941 while piloting a Spitfire Mk IIB


Possible plane kills

  • Ju 87 on 6 September 1939 he heavily damaged the plane while piloting a P 11c

  • Do 215 on 7 September 1940 while piloting a Hurricane Mk 1

  • Bf 109 on 22 June 1941 while piloting a Spitfire Mk IIB

  • Bf 109 on 11 July 1941 while piloting a Spitfire Mk IIB


He was awarded:

  • Virtuti Militari - Silver Cross

  • Cross of Valour three times

  • Polonia Restituta - Knight's Cross,

  • Polonia Restituta - Commander's Cross

  • British Distinguished Flying Cross

  • French Croix de Guerre


Łokuciewski died on 17 April 1990 in Warsaw and was buried at the Powązki Military Cemetery in Powązki, Warsaw.

Copyright: Łokuciewski family

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