The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. F Jastrzebski
Franciszek Jastrzebski was born on 10th November 1905 and trained as a teacher. He joined the Army Reserve and went to the Officer Cadet School to train as an infantry officer. He transferred to the Polish Air Force and after training at the Officers' School, Deblin was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1928.
Jastrzebski qualified as an Observer on 5th August 1929 and was posted to the 5th Air Force Regiment at Lida, later joining the 4th Air Force Regiment at Torun in 1931. From 1935 to 1937 was an instructor on the advanced Bombing and Gunnery course at Grudziadz. In 1938 he qualified as a pilot and became CO of 132 Squadron of III/3 Fighter Squadron at Posnan.
In the fighting in September 1939 Jastrzebski destroyed a Ju86 on the 2nd, a Me110 on the 8th and a Me109 on the 10th.
He was released by the High Command on 16th September went to Warsaw, where he was wounded and taken to hospital. He escaped and made his way through Hungary and Yugoslavia and reached Lyons, France in January 1940.
Jastrzebski joined the Armee de l'Air and from 19th May 1940 he led a flight of six pilots in Groupe de Chasse II/1, defending the Chateaudun area. He claimed one enemy aircraft destroyed and shared another. On 6th June his Bloch 152 was shot down by Me109’s. He baled out and landed injured at Taillefontaine.
After the collapse he escaped to England and joined 302 Squadron at Leconfield on 23rd July 1940 as Commander of ‘B’ Flight.
On 15th September Jastrzebski shared in the destruction of a Do17 and on the 18th probably destroyed another. He failed to return from a patrol over the Channel on 25th October 1940, his Hurricane V7593 was seen to go into the sea. His body was washed up at Sylt and he was buried there, being reinterred post-war in Kiel War Cemetery, Germany.
He is also commemorated on the Polish Air Force Memorial at Northolt.
He was awarded the VM (5th Class)(gazetted 21st December 1940), the KW (gazetted 20th October 1943) and the Croix de Guerre (France). Three Bars to the KW were gazetted on 31st October 1947.
Above photo courtesy of Dean Sumner