Born on  23 July 1917 in Kudrynce (now in Ukraine). In June 1937 he entered the Polish Air Force College at Deblin. He was commissioned as podporucznik (2nd Lieutenant), fighter pilot, on 1 September 1939, in the last (13th) pre-war class of the College to be commissioned in Poland. During the 1939 campaign he was evacuated, like many of his colleagues, via Rumania to France. There, after conversion training, he made a few operational sorties during the Battle of France. In June 1940 he was evacuated to Britain. There he soon joined No. 308 (Polish) Squadron, formed at Speke near Liverpool, at the RAF rank of Pilot Officer. He flew with No. 308 until autumn 1942. An illness forced him to spend a few months in a hospital and undergo surgery. In spring 1943 he returned to operational flying, posted briefly to No. 308, and then to No. 303 (Polish) Squadron. In October 1943 he was posted to no. 315 (Polish) Squadron. From March to July 1944 F/Lt Wandzilak was posted for non-flying duties in No. 18 Sector, 2nd TAF. On July 7, 1944 he was appointed B Flight Commander in his old No. 308 Squadron. On August 26 German artillery shot down Wandzilak’s Spitfire. He baled out, evaded capture, and returned to his Squadron a week later. He stayed with No. 308 until November 1944. His wartime service earned him DFC, 1939-45 Star and Air Crew Europe Star, as well as the Polish Silver Cross of Virtuti Militari and Krzyz; Walecznych (Cross of Valour) and two bars. From 1945 for nearly three years he was ADC of Gen. Marian Kukiel, the Minister of Defence in the Polish Government-in-Exile. He decided not to return to Poland under communist rule. In September 1948, after the Polish Air Force in Britain was disbanded, he joined the RAF as a Flight Lieutenant (Short Service Commission). In 1950, he passed to Permanent Commission Service. From 1951 until 1954 he was a flying instructor at No. 203 Advanced Flying School at Driffield (flying Gloster Meteors) and, promoted to Squadron Leader, at No. 207 AFS in Full Sutton. In 1954 he was posted to no. 5 Flying Training School at Oakington (de Haviland Vampires). In 1955 he was awarded AFC and transferred to HQ No. 25 Advanced Flying Group at Manby. For his work in Flight Safety programmes the Queen awarded him OBE in 1959. For the next four years he worked in Flight Safety Directorate at the Air Ministry, promoted to Wing Commander. From 1961 to 1963 he was Admin Commander at the Oakington School, and then for three years Flying Training Commander at this School. Between 1951 and 1966 he performed over 2,000 flights with almost 400 student pilots. Many of the latter would rise to high-ranking posts in the RAF and NATO over years. His 1951 log-book also included a name which is worth special mention: P/O Ray Hanna. In 1966, promoted to Group Captain, he moved to HQ Flying Training Command. His service earned him Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air. In 1969 he became a Deputy Director of Personnel at the Air Ministry. He was retired in 1972. For over ten years he then worked at the Ministry of Defence and in the RAF Benevolent Fund.  He was a founder member of the Polish Air Force Association, and also of the Association of the PAF College 13th Class. He died on 29 November 2000 in London. He is buried in Cracow, Poland.


His decorations included

the Silver Cross of Virtuti Militari

the Cross of Valour

the Distinguished Flying Cross

                                   06.09.1943                 303 dyon                      1-0-0 Fw 190


Piotr Górka © 2007