The Airmen's Stories - P/O S Czternastek
Stanislaw Czternastek was born on 6th May 1916 in Przemysl, Poland and went to school there, graduating in 1934. He undertook gliding courses in his spare time. In late 1934 he commenced studies at the Faculty of Law at the University of Jan Kazimierz University in Lvov but after completing the second year he resigned and volunteered for the army.
On 1st September 1936 he trained at the Infantry Cadet School Rozan then on 4th January 1937 went to the flying training school at Deblin.
On 15th June 1937 he graduated as a pilot and was posted to 123 Fighter Squadron at Rakowice. In the early morning of 1st September 1939 he flew to Warsaw as part of the 'Pursuit Brigade' tasked with defending the city. He was flying an obsolete PZL P7.
He flew two sorties on that day and was shot down by Me110's on the second, baling out without injury.
He flew further missions up until the Russian invasion when he escaped to Romania on the night of 18th/19th September, subsequently making his way via Bucharest and the port of Balcik to Marseilles in France, arriving there on 30th November 1939.
He joined the Polish airmen being assembled at Lyon-Bron airfield by the French but then decided to join one of the first batches of Polish airmen travelling to the UK to join the RAF. He left on 28th December 1939. He was initially posted to the training facility for Polish trainees at RAF Eastchurch (this moved to Blackpool in May 1940) where he studied English and took the requisite flying theory exams.
His next posting was to 6 OTU at Sutton Bridge to convert to Hurricanes. On 12th October 1940 he joined 32 Squadron at Acklington. He flew with 32 till December 1940 when he was posted to 615 Squadron at Kenley.
Returning from a bomber escort sortie on 5th February 1941 Czternastek's Hurricane V7598 KW-S collided with V6618 piloted by P/O B Wydrowski who survived the collision but was badly injured.
Czternastek was killed when his Hurricane came down at Appleton Manor Farm, Martin near Dover.
He is buried in Hawkinge Cemetery and commemorated on the Polish War Memorial at Northolt.