The Airmen's Stories - F/Lt. W Pankratz
Wilhelm Pankratz was born on 1st October 1903 in Lomianki, Warsaw, Poland. He was commissioned in the Polish Air Force before the war and served at the Air Force Academy at Deblin from 1928 to 1938. After the German invasion he was one of the first Polish airmen to escape to England, arriving in late 1939.
He was commissioned in the RAFVR
in January 1940 at RAF Eastchurch.
Pankrantz went to 15 EFTS Redhill in mid-March 1940 and
remained there as a flying instructor. On 23d April he joined
the Polish Training Unit at Hucknall, which was redesignated
18 OTU on 15th June 1940.
Pankratz was posted from 18 OTU to 6 OTU Sutton Bridge
and arrived there on 23rd June 1940 as an Acting Flight
After converting to Hurricanes, he joined 145 Squadron at
Tangmere on 16th July. Pankratz was reported ‘Missing’ after a
combat south of the Isle of Wight on 12th August 1940 in Hurricane R4176.
He had shared in the
destruction of a Me110 and damaged a Me109. No claim was made because Pankratz and
the other two pilots in his section, Sergeants J Kwiecinski and JH Harrison were both shot
down immediately afterwards.
He is remembered on the Polish Air Force Memorial at Northolt.
Pankratz was awarded the KW (gazetted 1st February 1941).