The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. A L Markiewicz
Antoni Lucjan Markiewicz was born on 13th January 1915 at Sandomierz in eastern Poland and educated at the Grammar School there.
In 1931 he entered the Polish Air Force NCOs School at Bydgoszcz, qualifying in 1934 as an Aircraft Mechanic and having received elementary flying training.
Markiewicz completed his pilot training at the Air Force Officers Training Centre at Sadkow and was posted to 22 Bomber Eskadra, 2nd Air Force Regiment, Cracow. In 1936 Markiewicz went to the Training Centre at Grudziadz for an advanced fighter-pilot course.
He returned to the 2nd Regiment but was transferred to 122 Fighter Eskadra. As well as belonging to 122, Markiewicz was an instructor in the Training Squadron of the Regiment.
On 1st September 1939 Markiewicz destroyed a Hs126 at 6am after a long chase. The claim to have shot down the first German aircraft in the war is usually accepted to be that of Wladyslaw Gnys however his destruction of two Do17's is believed to have taken place at 7am and if Markiewicz’s Hs126 was destroyed an hour earlier he undoubtedly achieved the first aerial victory of the war.
Markiewicz destroyed a Ju87 on 2nd September. The pilot baled out and the aircraft crashed near the River Vistula. The next day Markiewicz attacked a He111 which then made a forced-landing after one engine stopped.
On 17th September Markiewicz flew to Romania, reached France via Beirut and joined Groupe de Chasse I/145. It was based at Dreux to assist in the defence of Paris. On 9th June 1940 Markiewicz shared in the destruction of a Do17.
After the French collapse, he reached North Africa and eventually England.
Markiewicz was enlisted in the RAFVR as an AC2. On 1st June 1940 he was at the Polish Wing at 3 School of Technical Training Blackpool. He joined 302 Squadron at Leconfield on 6th August 1940 as a Sergeant.
On 13th September Markiewicz went to Duxford with a 302 detachment to operate with the Bader 'Big Wing'. The attachment ceased on 25th September and the 302 pilots and planes returned to Leconfield. He claimed a Me109 as probably destroyed on 26th October.
Practicing low-level attacks in Hurricane V6753 in foggy weather over the Channel on 10th February 1941 Markiewicz’s engine failed at 800 feet and his radiator struck the sea. He attempted a forced-landing at Morrels Farm, Lagness in Sussex but crashed in Hurricane V6753. His injuries were serious and he was in hospital for nearly a year.
Markiewicz lost his operational category and on 3rd February 1942 he joined No. 1 ADU at Croydon.
He went to 2 FIS Montrose on 29th July 1942 for an instructors course, after which he was posted to 16 FTS Newton. On 1st May 1943 Markiewicz was sent to the Officers Cadet School in Scotland and at the end of the course he went to the PAF Depot at Blackpool, where he began a course in radio engineering.
In late November 1945 Markiewicz was released from the PAF, as a Warrant Officer. He was awarded the KW (gazetted 23rd October 1940), a Bar (gazetted 20th August 1942) and a second Bar (gazetted 31st October 1947).
Markiewicz settled in Britain, changed his name to AL Martin and became a radio and television engineer, later managing his own workshop.
He died on 30th April 2005.