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The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. Z K Henneberg

 

Zdzislaw Karol Henneberg was born in Warsaw on 5th May 1911. He graduated in 1930 and the next year joined the Polish Air Force. By 1934 he was serving in the 1st Fighter Regiment but also taking part in sport flying events, he represented Poland at the gliding championships at Rhon in Germany in 1937.

In 1939 he was serving as an instructor at the Polish Air Force Academy at Deblin and was one of the instructors that formed a scratch group to defend the airfield. He was one of the many Poles who escaped through Romania to France and were inducted into units in l'Armee de l'Air. Henneberg ended up commanding a flight of nine Bloch MB152s defending Chateauroux airfield and the Bloch factory. On 5th June he shared in the destruction of He111 G1+AN of 5./KG55.

On 17th June the French evacuated Chateauroux but the Poles were left without orders. On their own initiative Henneberg and two other officers (Rettinger and Kudrewicz) took off the next day and flew their fighters via Nantes to Tangmere.

Henneberg was processed into the RAF and joined 303 Squadron at Northolt at its formation on 2nd August 1940. On the 31st he claimed a Me109 destroyed, on 2nd September he damaged a Me109, on the 7th destroyed a Me109 and probably another, on the 11th a He111 and a Me109, on the 15th a Do17 and a Me109, on the 27th another Me109 and on 5th October a Me110.

 

 

Above: L to R: Henneberg, F/Lt. JA Kent, F/O M Pisarek


Henneberg, who was appointed A' Flight Commander on 7th September, held temporary joint command of 303 from 21st October to 8th November 1940. He was awarded the VM (5th Class)(gazetted 23rd October 1940) and the KW and Bar (gazetted 1st February 1941) and took complete command of the Squadron on 20th February 1941.


Returning from an operation against French airfields on 12th April 1941 Henneberg's Spitfire, P8029, was damaged by enemy fire and he went down into the sea ten to thirteen miles off Dungeness.

Although he was seen swimming, he was not found and is presumed to have drowned.

Henneberg is remembered on the Polish Air Force Memorial at Northolt. He was awarded the DFC (gazetted 30th October 1940).


 

 



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