14.08.1944 No. 302 Squadron Spitfire NH608 WX-Z Sgt. Ziendalski
Operation: Armed reconnaissance
Date: 14th August 1944 (Monday)
Unit: No. 302 Squadron (Polish) City of Poznan
Type: Spitfire LF.IX
Base: ALG B-10 Plumetot
Location: Bernay, France
Pilot: Sgt. Józef Marian Ziendalski 792036 PAF Age 24. Injured
REASON FOR LOSS:
Late in the afternoon, W/O. Ziendalski with three other pilots on a dive bombing operation. The area of Bernay, Lisyeaux, Evreux. They were divided into two sections, two fighters each. Each with 1000 lb. bombs. The first pair was led by F/O. Eugeniusz Ebenrytter (1) with the second pilot Fl/Sgt. Zbigniew Czarnecki (2), second pair of W/O. Józef Ziendalski with Fl/Sgt. Franciszek Detka (3).
They attacked enemy forces over the town of Blangy - Le - Chateau in the Province of Calvados in France. After dropping the bombs, they went on to attack from a low altitude. During this operation Józef Ziendalski's plane was hit in the left wing in which a large hole was created, as a result of which the pressure in the oil system dropped and the plane began to lose height.
The pilot, seeing that there is no clearing or landing fields could only land between trees. During this he was ejected from the cockpit suffering injuries to his spine and lower limbs causing paralysis. He lost consciousness waking up the following day in a shed being cared for by French villagers.
Taken PoW by the Germans who were in the process of withdrawing. He was left behind and then picked up by the Belgian resistance on the 03rd September. He was then taken to a hospital in Paris and treated by the Americans. Eventually taken to the Cirencester Hospital in England where he underwent spinal surgery. A piece of bone from the leg and a platinum plate were inserted. The surgery was successful, after many months of rehabilitation, he regained full physical fitness.
58 Operational Training Unit at Grangemouth, Scotland. Course 23:
Front row: P/O. Wiesław Benoit P-1710 / 783408 (killed 18th November 1942), P/O. Władysław Banach P-1673 / 784483 (died 12th December 1964), F/O. Stefan Andersz P-0958 (died 16th June 2013), Fl/Lt. Jan Petr Ridkosil 82944 (Czech - killed 27th February 1943), F/O. Jan Kazimierz Preihs P-0219 (died 13th February 2014), P/O. Marian Ciach P-1713 / 783441 (killed 16th July 1943), P/O. Stanisław Karol Birtus P-1711 / 783414 (died 25th November 1988).
Centre row: Sgt. Józef Marian Ziendalski 792036 (died 03rd April 1984), Sgt. Tadeusz Haczkiewicz P-2311 / 793831 (no details), Sgt. Zbigniew Makowski P-2206 / 792839 (killed 03rd August 1943), Sgt. Mieczysław Jan Muszynski P-2011 / 783421 (no details), Sgt. Leonard Gilis 793791 (killed 17th February 1943), Sgt. Tadeusz Orzechowski 783097 (killed 22nd November 1942), Sgt. Antoni Stefan Plenkiewicz 784769 (killed 27th April 1943).
Rear row: Sgt. Józef Bednarz 782356 (killed 01st February 1943), Sgt. Henryk Starzynski 793783 (killed 28th March 1943), Sgt. Kazimier Maksymilian Kierski P-1951 (killed 31st March 1943), Sgt. Stefan Roman Sztuka 782831 (died 17th January 2002), Sgt. Antoni Stefan Murkowski 784755 (died 06th May 2007), Sgt. Janusz Włodzimierz Kobylinski P-2203 / 781295 (died 27th November 1986).
Józef was born on the 18th December 1919 in Siedlce, Poland. Awarded th KW (Cross of Valour) 3 times. ML (Polish Air Force Medal). ODRK (Wounds and Injuries Badge). Settled in Wokingham, England after the war. Married Gwendoline Burden in June 1970. Died suddenly on the 03rd April 1984.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to Waldemar Ziendalski, Andrew Mielnik Archive, Polish Discussion forum, Poliish Air Force At War, other sources as quoted below:
(1) P-0103 Fl/Lt. Eugeniusz Zdzisław Ebenrytter VM V kl., 3xKW, ML, MC. Died in Adelaide, Australia on the 01st December 1976 age 61.
(2) 780829 W/O. Fl/Sgt. Zbigniew Henryk Czarnecki 3xKW, 3xML. Died in Upavon, Wiltshire on 14th February 2013 age 91.
(3) 781416 W/O. Franciszek Detka VM V kl., 3xKW, ML, DFM. Died in Krakow,Poland on 08th April 1986 age 68.