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    Born on 30 March 1908 at Olszanka near Augustow, son of Antoni and Bronislawa  Jurewicz. In 1930 he graduated from No. 2 Cadet Corps at Chelmno. On 16 October 1930 he joined the Air Force Cadet Officers' School at Deblin. He was commissioned on 15 August 1932 as a navigator. He was posted to the 213rd Night Bomber Flight of the 1st Air Regiment in Warsaw. Between May and August 1933 he completed a flying training course and was then posted to the 113th Fighter Flight of the 1st Regiment. During May-August 1934 he completed an advanced flying course at Grudziadz, after which he returned to the 1st Regiment. From 19 March 1935 r. he was deputy commander of the 111th Fighter Flight. On 10 October 1936 during the Central Fighter Competition he had a serious landing accident in PZL P.11a no. 7.48, but escaped unhurt. On 1 November 1936 he was transferred to the Air Force Officers'Training Centre at Deblin as an instructor. On 12 January 1937 he had a landing accident in PWS-16 no. 59.3. In 1939 he passed the entrance exams and completed a preliminary course to commence studies at the Polish Staff Academy. In September 1939 he fought within the ad-hoc instructors' group. He then participated in the evacuation of the school. On 17 September he entered Rumania. Then he went by sea to Marseilles, arriving there on 29 October. He arrived in Britain on 27 January 1940. He received service no. 76735. After conversion training at No. 6 OTU, he was posted on 4 August 1940 to No.145 Fighter Squadron RAF. In mid-August he was briefly attached to No. 253 Sqn and on 21 August 1940 he was posted to No. 303 Squadron as the Polish 'A' Flight commander. On 7 September 1940, after S/Ldr Zdzislaw Krasnodebski was seriously wounded and burned in combat, he assumed command of the Squadron. On 15 September 1940 his Hurricane I V6684 RF-F was damaged in the same combat when Sgt Brzezowski was killed and Sgt Andruszkow baled out. Witold Urbanowicz was the top scoring Polish pilot in the Battle of Britain, credited with 15 aerial victories. On 20 October 1940 he was posted to HQ No. 11 Fighter Group for as the Polish Liaison Officer. From 15 April until 27 May 1941 he was the organiser and first commander of the 1st Polish Fighter Wing at Northolt. In June 1941 he left to North America (together with Zdzislaw Krasnodebski), to work in the Polish Military Mission. He returned to Britain during summer 1942 and on 27 July 1942 he was posted for an instructor's course at No. 2 Flying Instructors' School at Montrose, and then to No. 16 (Polish) Service Flying Training School as an instructor. On 3 November 1942 he was appointed deputy air attache at the Polish Embassy in Washington,DC. InSeptember 1943 he left the post at his own request after he was invited by Gen. Claire Chennault to fly at the Chinese-Japanese front. Between 23 October and 15 December 1943 he flew combat missions with the 16th Fighter Squadron (FS) USAAF based at Chengkung, 74th FS at Kunming and the 75th FS at Hengyang. After his diplomatic service, in early 1944 he returned to Britain via the Middle East and was posted for staff duties. By August 1944 he was in Washington, DC again, appointed the air attache at the Polish Embassy. He remained at this post until July 1945, returning to Britain after the allies withdrew recognition of the Polish government in exile. In 1947 he visited Poland, but the experience of communist rule discouraged him from re-settling in Poland. He emigrated to the USA, where he subsequently worked in aircraft industry. His wartime memoirs inspired him to write several books, including "Poczatek jutra" ("Beginning of Tomorrow"), "Swit zwyciestwa" ("Dawn of Victory"), "Ogien nad Chinami" ("Fire over China") and "Mysliwcy" ("Fighters"). He was promoted General of the Polish Air Force in 1995. In May 1996 he visited the 1st Fighter Regiment 'City of Warsaw'  on the 75th anniversary of the original 1st Air Regiment in Warsaw, with which he had served before the war. He participated in a ceremony of handing the traditions of the pre-war fighter flights of the 1st Air Rgt and of wartime Nos. 303 and 316 Squadrons to the modern unit. He died on 25 August 1996 at New York and was buried at Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

 

Awarded

the Silver Cross of Virtuti Militari,

the Cross of Valour and three bars,

the British Distinguished Flying Cross.

 

His biography by Wojciech Krajewski

was published in 2008 in Polish

under the title 'Witold Urbanowicz - legenda

polskich skrzydel' ('Witold Urbanowicz

- A Legend of Polish Wings')




1940.08.116    145 Sqn   Hurricane I   P3391                 10:30         1-0-0 Me 109

1940.08.12      145 Sqn   Hurricane I   R4177                 12:12         1-0-0 Ju 88

1940.09.06      Dyon 303 Hurricane I   V7242     RF-B      09:00        1-0-0 Me 109

1940.09.07      Dyon 303 Hurricane I   R2685     RF-G     17:00         1-0-0 Do 215

1940.09.07      Dyon 303 Hurricane I   R2685     RF-G     17:00         0-1-0 Me 109

1940.09.15      Dyon 303 Hurricane I   V6684     RF-F     15:00          2-0-0 Do 215

1940.09.26      Dyon 303 Hurricane I   P3901     RF-E     16:30          1-0-0 He 111

1940.09.27      Dyon 303 Hurricane I   P3901     RF-E     09:20          1-0-0 Me 110

1940.09.27      Dyon 303 Hurricane I   P3901     RF-E     09:20          1-0-0 Me 109

1940.09.27      Dyon 303 Hurricane I   P3901     RF-E     15:25          2-0-0 Ju 88

1940.09.30      Dyon 303 Hurricane I   P3901     RF-E     13:35          2-0-0 Me 109

1940.09.30      Dyon 303 Hurricane I   P3901     RF-E     13:35          1-0-0 Do 215

1940.09.30      Dyon 303 Hurricane I   P3901     RF-E     16:35          1-0-0 Me 109

1943.12.11      75 FS P-40K-1                                                            2-0-0 Zero


Piotr Górka © 2007