Born on  28 September 1917 in Kijów. Still in the Romuald Traugutt Secondary School in Brzesc on Bug, he completed a glider course, and in 1935 in Bezmiechowa he became a C class glider pilot. In 1937 he passed the final certificate exams, and then passed the entrance exams to the Air Force Cadet Officers’ School. Before that, he had completed the Divisional Course for Reserve Cadet Officers at 79 Infantry Regiment in Słonin. On 2 January 1938 he started studies in the School of Eaglets, from which he graduated within the 13th promotion. In September 1939, together with a group of officers and cadet officers, he crossed the Polish-Romanian border. He reached France via Yugoslavia and Greece. He was in a flight commanded by S/Ldr Robert Hirszbandt at Bordeaux. On 27 June 1940 he arrived to Great Britain. On 25 August 1941, after conversion training in 58 OTU, he was assigned to No. 303 (Polish) Fighter Squadron T. Kooeciuszko. In this squadron he shot down: on 4 April 1942 – a Fw 190, on 16 April 1942 – a Bf 109, and on 19 August 1942 – another Fw 190. He stayed in the squadron till September 1942. Between September and December 1942 he served in No. 302 (Polish) Fighter Squadron City of Poznań. At the beginning of 1943 he joined the Polish Fighting Team at Northolt.In the North Africa he shot down: on 28 March 1943 – a Ju 88, on 2 April 1943 – a Bf 109 fighter, and on 6 April 1943 – again a Bf 109. On 22 April 1943 he shot down further two Bf 109s. For his merits he was offered to stay in the North Africa, and to command of No. 43 RAF Fighter Squadron. He remained the commander of No. 43 Squadron between August and October 1943. On 4 September 1943 he shot down a Bf 109, and on 16 September 1943 – two Fw 190s. On 7 November 1943 he was decorated with Silver Cross of Virtuti Militari War Order No. 08478. Upon his return to Great Britain, on 16 February 1944, he was appointed as the commander of No. 315 (Polish) Fighter Squadron City of Deblin. Commanding the squadron he was credited with 1 and 1/2 kill of Bf 109. He also shot down a Fw 190 in air combat (on 12 June 1944). On 28 September 1917 leading twelve squadron’s aircraft, he fought with nearly sixty German fighters Fw 190, near Beauvais over France.Pilots of No. 315 Squadron shot down 16 enemy’s aircraft (that was the squadron’s greatest

achievement). F/Lt E. Hobaczewski shot down three of them; however, he himself was killed.He was buried on a cemetery in Creil, France (army parcel, grave No. 2379).




He was  decorated

the Golden Cross of Virtuti Militari War Order No. 00061.

the Silver Cross of Virtuti Militari War Order No. 08478

the Cross of Valour and three Bars,

the Distinguished Service Order (awarded on 17 August 1945),

the Distinguished Flying Cross (awarded on 30 November 1943),

and many other



                          06.11.1941       SpitfireVB  RF-C (AB989)     303 dyon                            0-1-0 Me 109

                          04.04.1942       SpitfireVB  RF-B (AA940)     303 dyon                            1-0-0 Fw 190

                          16.04.1942       SpitfireVB  RF-G (AA882)     303 dyon                            1-0-0 Me 190

                          19.08.1942       SpitfireVB  RF-C (AR366)     303 dyon                            1-0-0 Fw 190

                          28.03.1943       SpitfireIX   ZX-5 (EN267)     Polish Fighting Team          1-0-0 Ju 88

                          02.04.1943       SpitfireIX   ZX-6 (EN315)     Polish Fighting Team          1-0-0 Me 109

                          06.04.1943       SpitfireIX   ZX-1 (EN459)     Polish Fighting Team          1-0-0 Me 109

                          22.04.1943       SpitfireIX   ZX-6 (EN315)     Polish Fighting Team          1-0-0 Me 109

                          22.04.1943       SpitfireIX   ZX-6 (EN315)     Polish Fighting Team          1-0-0 Me 109

                          04.09.1943       SpitfireIX   FT-7  (MA259)    43 sqn RAF                         1-0-0 Me 190

                          15.09.1943       SpitfireVIII FT-13(JF571)     43 sqn RAF                         0-0-1 Fw 190

                          16.09.1943       SpitfireVIII FT-13(JF571)     43 sqn RAF                         1-0-0 Fw 190

                          16.09.1943       SpitfireVIII FT-13(JF571)     43 sqn RAF                         1-0-0 Fw 190

                          12.06.1944       MustangIII PK-G (FB166)    315 dyon                            1-0-0 Fw 190

                          30.07.1944       MustangIII PK-G (FB382)    315 dyon                            1-0-0 Me 109

                          30.07.1944       MustangIII PK-G (FB382)    315 dyon                         1/2-0-0 Me 109

                          18.08.1944       MustangIII PK-K (FB355)    315 dyon                             1-0-0 Fw 190

                          18.08.1944       MustangIII PK-K (FB355)    315 dyon                             1-0-0 Fw 190

                          18.08.1944       MustangIII PK-K (FB355)    315 dyon                             1-0-0 Fw 190

   The "legendary" Squadron Leader Eugeniusz Horbaczewski The Commanding Officer of 315 Squadron was Squadron Leader Eugeniusz Horbaczewski, P-0273, DSO, DFC, Silver Cross of Virtuti Militari and Cross of Valour with three bars (four times), Poland's fourth ranking ace of World War II. He was an exceptional pilot and leader, highly respected by all who knew him. His death when flying over France on 18 August 1944, I only a few weeks after leaving Coolham, left everyone stunned. His nickname was Dziubek, meaning beak, and also sometimes Horba. One of those keen to pay tribute to him is F/Lt Douglas Coxhead, DFC, Ex 222 (Natal) RAFSquadron.


      The Polish boys were all typical continental boys; correct, good manners and a wow with the girls. We all met up at times, there were hundreds of squadrons around at that time. Many lived from March to October under canvas on Sommerfeld tracking airfields. In the summer of 1943 the Poles flew Spitfires, my lot (182 Typhoons) were at New Romney, Kent. One morning 182 had made a raid somewhere in northern France and had all returned. Aircraft were being refuelled and pilots debriefed in a large marquee tent. Phones were laid on to group and many other squadron bases locally for liaison purposes. The "Typhies" were apart — around 20 yards and facing each other about 15 yards apart, nose to nose — yet close enough to allow bowsers to refuel quickly. Suddenly we were aware and very interested in a solitary Spitfire in our circuit. We all piled outside and watched. A straggler coming in for a quick refuel? It often happened, then off to its base. It taxied right up to our fuelling point and "The Pole" logged out. I knew him, so did several others, as we'd had a couple of Poles fly with us "for a rest, for experience", earlier. Horba bounded out, dress hat on at a rakish angle (I always flew with my hat in my pocket in case one landed away sometime). He announced his arrival and refuel requirements to our CIO requesting it be done as soon as possible as it was an emergency. "One of my boys is down, in drink, in dinghy, many miles out. I have his position time from last beacon. I go back to him to give bearing and transmit to shore so that ASR (Air Sea Rescue) and Shagbats (Walrus flying boats) can get him before the Jerry does." Radio transmission (R/T) was elementary and radar very much lacking then but a kite above a dinghy could transmit to bases ashore who would get a fix and initiate a rescue smartly. Otherwise "Jerry" could get a swarm of Focke-Wulfs and Mel09's to attack him and/or the solitary aircraft circling above. It wasn't a pleasant thought but it did happen at times. His (Horba's) aircraft was refuelled smartly and in he got, started up and belted up to the runway's end, into wind and full throttle and took off. He held it down so when the undercart came up the aircraft flew along at about 10 feet above the ground! It was just enough to keep the prop clear. It was bloody good for speed attainment then up it shot to around 1,500 feet in a moment, did a "split arsed turn" downwind, circled our little airfield at 1,200/1,500 feet then dived down for his "beat up". He put the aircraft at high speed between our row of Typhoons. The Typhoons were nose to nose at, say, 45 feet to 15 yards away, and he "buzzed up" the column of them (around 18 to 20 aircraft) at BELOW nose cone level. The "Typhies" had a huge prop so when on deck, tail down attitude, the cone was about 12 feet above ground level. it looked as though Horba would hit the ground but no, he flew his Spit up there over the ranks of aircraft BELOW prop height. He "reefed it" into a near vertical climb at the end, did an upward chastie (slow roll going upwards), flopped over, straightened out and went off southwards to his "boy" in the dinghy alone and unescorted. We heard later an ASR launch was almost due south of the Isle of Wight when a Shagbat got bearings first, landed and rescued the pilot. Horba went back to his base. I never saw him again. He was a fearless pilot, a gentleman with old continental good manners, almost clicked his heels, etc., yet a lethal machine who revelled in doing his thing for the pertinence of his war. I was sorry to hear of his ending. After 49 years it's as clear as yesterday.



J Norby King,  43 sqn ‘Green Kiwi Versus German Eagle’,


'He is slim and dark and quick. He has Polish gongs as well as a DFC, from intense experience in a Polish outfit with the Desert Air Force. "Horbaczewski" is a bit of a mouthful, so we call him "Horby".'

'"Horby" introduces us to "Finger Four" sections so that the squadron of 12 can manoeuvre easily and watch out for each other's tails while looking towards the leader.'


Fellow Kiwi Jack Torrance  43 sqn


"Horby", as we called him, immediately injected a new spirit of aggression and confidence firstly into "A" Flight, and soon into the whole squadron. He called in fledgling pilots on several occasions to finish off enemy aircraft he had already damaged.'


'I recall one occasion when a Hurricane crashed in flames on the runway and burnt. While most of us were interested in keeping out of the way of exploding ammunition, "Horby" was still trying to get at the pilot, who was hanging from his straps unconscious or dead, to get him out.'


S/Ldr Michal Cwynar DFC VM  (Horbaczewski's close friend) recalled

...On the third day after my return from Normandy, after the early morning briefing, Horbaczewski announced he was going to lead the first operational sortie. Then he took me aside and said: HQ Fighter Command informed me that a telegram has been sent to your wife in Dumfries with a message that you are missing. Take a Mustang now, fly to Dumfries and show your face to prove that you are safe and well. So within a few minutes on that sunny morning I took off and in a couple of hours landed at RAF Heathhall, Dumfries...

...Our CO's approach to training flights was imaginative. Whether it was dog fights or dive bombing, it was new to the fighter pilots, completely different from strafing ground targets. First, Dziubek (our CO's nickname) went through the pre-flight briefings on the ground, in front of a blackboard showing twelve aircraft in close echelon starboard, flicking and diving, dropping bombs from a certain height and angle to predict trajectory and increase accuracy. Then the whole explained procedure was put to the test during flying practice. Then it was back to the airfield and the blackboard for de-briefing. Great fun! On one occasion, Dziubek, leading the whole squadron, was trying to figure out what would be the best tactics to engage a large, squadron size formation after a sudden, head-on interception. Here, the analytical mind of "A" Flight Commander, Henryk Stefankiewicz, came to the fore. Now, for the layman, this might appear an attempt at esoteric pretence. But, to get on somebody's tail on the road while driving a car, one has only one dimension at one's disposal. While flying, however, one has all dimensions, the whole sphere, at one's disposal. That is why it was so fascinating. Henryk's theory was as follows: From the battle formation of three sections, each made up of four Mustangs, the Leader's section and the outer right section should make a sudden climbing turn to the left while the inner section should commence an unorthodox manoeuvre - climbing through elliptical loop in the opposite direction. The enemy 's Leader, forced to make a left climbing turn to engage our Leader's section, would leave the rest of his flight exposed to our inner section exploiting the flying space above. Dziubek thought it was, in principle, a very good idea. On another occasion, Henryk suggested to Dziubek that three of us should, at a safe height, try to simulate a dog fight on the "deck" and.e. at ground or sea level. When flying low, the only effective manoeuvre at one's disposal was a steady, tight turn. When, after four circles, there seemed to be a stalemate, or the adversary was gaining, the suggested idea, which I had applied many time during dog fight practice, was to lower ten degrees of

flaps when the speed dropped to about 230. It always proved successful. So, with Horbaczewski flying above us as observer, Henryk and I approached each other at an agreed speed of around 400. When passing on the customary port side, we engaged in a left hand turn dog-fight. After two 360 degree circles, the speed dropped to about 230 and the pilot who, at this stage, lowered the flaps to ten degrees, was always gaining the advantage. But there was a considerable danger in this. With ten degrees of flaps, attempting to pull too tight a turn, the Mustang could suddenly flick and stall. Back on the ground, we agreed that it was an effective play but Horbaczewski thought it too dangerous to advocate openly, saying: / am not having my pilots practising dogfights with flaps down and falling to the ground like kites from Coolham skies. End of this experiment, and that's official!...


...Early in the morning of either the second or the third day after Henryk's appointment, Horbaczewski told his two new Flight Commanders that the three of us were going for some "formation flying". I knew what was coming because Dziubek had done this to me several times before. From the Coolham village end of the runway with Henryk on Horbaczewski's right and me on his left, we took off in close 'V' formation. Once off the ground, with our wing tips overlying those of our leader, we climbed to 8,000 feet in a southerly direction towards the Brighton area. After fooling around for a while Dziubek turned back towards our base. Horbaczewski liked to show off but he had to have an audience. None of us were immune to that touch of vanity. We knew that down below, at Coolham, the esoteric critical eyes of 133 Wing fighter pilots were watching! In a gentle dive with the air speed just on the 400 mark and Henryk and I as close as possible, Dziubek made one loop, dived lower and made a second. Pulling out of the dive at around 2,000 feet in a sweeping left hand climbing turn, our leader decided to utter the only word of the whole flight - 'Ladujemy '- which meant we were going to land. I moved slowly under

the Mustang 's fuselage, crossing over to echelon starboard, and, with undercarriage and full flaps down and distances between each aircraft stretching, we flew over Coolham village to land on the now so familiar Summer-field landing strip. At the dispersal point, Horbaczewski got out of the PK-G Mustang, walked to his jeep and drove away. Henryk Pietrzak, being a newcomer to our outfit, looked at me with a puzzled expression. I told him that was our CO's way of showing his approval. Henryk lit his pipe and I, with the bad habit at that time, lit a cigarette! One could compare that pleasant flying episode to the behaviour of three competent jazz musicians who felt like "having a gig", a jazz session. While playing they responded to each other's feelings and moods. At the end of a session there was nothing more to say. After all they have had a stimulating conversation...


...A few days later our squadron, led by Horbaczewski, and 306, led by Janusz Marciniak, were sent on a mission to strafe German positions south east of Cherbourg to relieve pressure on the American positions. While strafing German panzer units, our "A" Flight commander, Flight Lieutenant Mysza Henryk Stefankiewicz was shot down by flak and killed. Warrant Officer Tamowicz, his wingman, was also shot down and managed to crash-land on a muddy field. Our Commanding Officer, Horbaczewski, landed on what was a partly prepared landing strip nearby, helped Tamowicz out of his crashed aircraft and then loaded him into the seat of his PK-G Mustang. Sliding the seating compartment back as far as possible, Horbaczewski then climbed in and sat on Tamowicz's knees. The CO calmly taxied back to get enough distance for take off and then was airborne and on his way back across the Channel to Coolham. Back at our base, the 315 squadron mechanics

watched in amazement and astonishment as Horbaczewski's PK-G taxied towards the dispersal point with two pilots in the cockpit. It had been a great feat of courage and panache on the part of our Squadron Commander. The name "Legendary Horbaczewski" will remain for posterity...


...Demanding yet generous and, most importantly, always fair, that was why all the pilots respected Horbaczewski so much...


...The next day, we flew back to Brenzett to learn that after sinking one merchant ship and setting a few barges on fire, the Canadian Beaufighters returned safely to base. The result was 7 : 0, the enemy casualties were seven Messerschmitt Bf 109's destroyed. After a successful mission, you are exhilarated; you light a cigarette, talk and laugh, and, most importantly, it strengthens friendship with your flying colleagues that remains until your dying day. Mercifully, you never knew whether the following day you might be packing your friend's personal belongings to be kept for relatives in his native land. Two weeks later, going on a few days statutory leave. Dziubek Horbaczewski drove me in his Jeep to Ashford railway station, and promised to collect me on my return journey from Scotland. At the end of my holiday, before leaving Dumfries, my Scottish wite, as on previous occasions, packed a real "treat" into my suitcase: a large, roasted chicken! In our tent, Dziubek and I shared, using God-given utensils (tools), with fingers, we kept dismantling the succulent bird! Back at Ashford railway station alighting from the train I kept scanning the platform, searching for a slender, handsome figure Horbaczewski was not there! Something went terribly wrong... Dziubek always kept his word! At our Brenzett airfield base, I learnt "the worst". I went into our tent and sat on Dziuhek's camp-bed. We knew each other's personal affairs. Lately, he did not feel well. Had I been in our tent that fateful morning on 18th of August 1944, perhaps I could have been able to persuade him not to fly that day. 315 Squadron lost a legendary commander, I lost a dear friend.

Piotr Górka © 2007