Born on  20 November in Pleszew, near Jarocin, Poland. First, He completed public school and at age of 15 started to professional School of Electricity, but soon has been appointed to the Young Pilot School in Swiecie, than in Krosno.  In 1939, the war time, before finishing The School, Zenon was evacuated with the School to Romania and than Trough the Black See flow to Malta and finally to Marsylia. To United Kingdom Zenon came on 28 February 1940.First his stay was in Eastchurch, than he was sent for training on aircraft operators.The 7-th July 1941 was sent to the 301 Squadro ( “ Ziemia Pomorska”)  in quality of mechanic. Zenon aspiration was to fly himself And after an Introductory Training of Pilots in England he was sent to Canada, where the 14 August 1942 in 39 SFTS, Moncton he completed The Basic Training of pilots. Back to England Zenon followed the training In  Pilots Advanced Flying Unit  in Calveley. On 16 March 1943 he undertaken another training in 58 OUT on fighting aircrafts in Grangemouth Than, on 1 June 1943 has been appointed to the 303 Squadron “ Tadeusz Kosciuszko” flying on Spitfire’s. The 22 May 1944 Zenon started with protection of bombers to attack The Railway Station in north of France, Douai. Unfortunately his fighter Has been shot by German artillery and he was forced to jump. He landed on the camp near Camblain-Chatelain. He found shelter under help of one Frenchmen, Michel Salmon, who kept him protected until September 1944. During that time Zenon met an English speaking girl, and he married here later in 1951 in Derby, England. When the Aliants Army came to France, he passed trough the front line and came back to England, Blackpool, and later in November again to the 303 Squadron. He served like pilot until end of the war, and after, this time on the Mustangs IV Nominated to the grade Warrant Officer After the war Zenon Bartkowiak joined the P.R.C (Polish Resettlement Corps) until 1948. Then went up to DERBY (Derbyshire, North of London near Nottingham where Merlin engines for Spitfires were produced by ROLLS ROYCE) where he joined a very large majority of Poles who decided to stay in the U.K rather than going to Poland.....There he found a job in Spondon (a few miles fron Derby) in a silk factory where he had been working until 1954 before moving to France and get established there once a working permit was allowed to him. But before that he got married in Derby 31  March 1951with the girl who helped him during his time if France fron 22 May 1944 until early Sept.1944, and gave birth to a babyboy JAN on 1 November 1952  His 1st work in France was delivering bread for a Pole in MARLES -les- MINES. In this area was a huge "Polish colony" working in the coal mines around. He did so until 1956 when he became the owner of a café once belonging to his wife's aunt. The café was named "Chez CHARLY". Charly being his false identity he revealed in May 1944 but which he kept once for ever. Since that time he was known as CHARLY. And everybody knew that they were having a drink with the PILOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And nobody knew him as ZENON but only when he passed away in February 2002. His last way was to Cemetery in Auchel, France. 

His decorations included

the Cross of Valour

24 January 1945 Coltishall. No.303 Squadron pilots;  F/Lt Stanislaw Socha (left), W/O Zenon

    Bartkowiak (facing camera) and P/O Zenon Krzeptowski (in fur-lined jacked).


These 2 pictures show Jan with a man who helped him on  22nd  May 1944 to escape

from Germans after landing in France. The wartime  picture  was  taken in  France  in     June 1946  in Camblain - Chatelain  where

action  took  place.  The  second  one was

taken  during  the  celebration  they  were

having every  22nd May !

Piotr Górka © 2007