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The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. W Baranski


Wienczyslaw Baranski was born on 9th September 1908 in the village of Solec near Lipsko in eastern Poland. He joined the Polish Air Force in 1930. In 1932 he graduated from the Aviation Cadet School as an observer and went on to qualify as a pilot in 1933 at Deblin.

In 1938 he commanded the 1st Aviation Regiment in Warsaw but at the time of the German attack he was back commanding 113 Squadron, operating the PZL P11c. On the 4th Baranski shared in the destruction of a Ju87, he destroyed one on the 5th and shared a He111 on the 6th.\




When Poland fell Baranski escaped through Romania to France, where he joined l'Armee de l'Air. In early 1940 he commanded a flight of Polish pilots in Groupe de Chasse III/6. They were flying D520 Dewoitine fighters from Coulommiers.

During the fighting in June he shared in the destruction of a Fiat BR20. In the middle of the month the unit moved to Perpignan and a few days later flew to North Africa. Baranski escaped to England via Gibraltar and was posted to 5 OTU Aston Down on 25th August to convert to Hurricanes.

He then joined 607 Squadron at Tangmere on 11th October 1940.

A month later he was posted to 303 Squadron at Leconfield. He was awarded the KW (gazetted 1st February 1941) and on 22nd February 1941 went to the newly-formed 316 Squadron at Pembrey as a Flight Commander.

His first operational tour over, Baranski went to 316's Operations Room on 19th July 1941. A year later he moved to 308 Squadron's Operations Room at Heston.

Baranski returned to operations on 16th May 1943 when he took command of 302 Squadron at Hutton Cranswick. He was awarded a Bar to the KW (gazetted 7th July 1943) and a second Bar (gazetted 20th October 1943), when he was posted away to be Polish Liaison Officer at HQ 12 Group.

Baranski moved to HQ PAF at Blackpool on 3rd April 1944 and was awarded the VM (5th Class) (gazetted 15th May 1944). He attended a course at the Polish Staff College on 28th November 1944. He was released from the PAF on 20th November 1946.

Baranski is recorded as moving to Buenos Aires, Argentina in June 1948 but he eventually settled in England and died on 8th August 1970 in Maidenhead.

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