The Airmen's Stories - P/O A R Zatonski
Alexander Roman Zatonski was born in Philadelphia on 1st November 1915. His parents were Polish immigrants who later settled in Canada and took Canadian citizenship. He arrived in England in 1939, via Canada, and joined the RAF.
With training completed at 2 FTS, he joined 79 Squadron at Acklington on 13th July 1940. He took part in operations including that on 15th August when Luftflotte 5 made its ill-fated sortie against northeast England. The squadron moved south to Biggin Hill later in the month and on the 28th Zatonski was shot down in combat over Hythe in Hurricane P2718.
He baled out and was treated for burns at Hythe Small Arms School. After recovering at the RAF Hospital Torquay Zatonski rejoined 79 Squadron on 4th December 1940.
(L to R): P/O W Lapkowski, P/O AR Zatonski ( a glove covering his burned hand), F/O RA McGowan, F/O HG Hardman.
Possibly taken at Torquay while all were convalescing.
In May 1941 he went to the Middle East with 238 Squadron. In the morning of 6th December 1941 he did not return from an engagement with Me109’s and Mc202’s over the Cyrenaican border. He was reported 'Missing' but is known to have been buried by an Army padre.
His grave was never found and he is remembered on the Alamein Memorial.
Photographs courtesy of Colonel C R Romberg RA, British Embassy Cairo