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49th 7P9

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Data was current at 26th December 2013

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The following was compiled by the RAF Cranwell Association.
There could be errors or omissions.

This was an all-Polish Entry. These had been recruited from Palestine in 1944 where they had been placed with the rest of their families by the British after they had been released from internment by the Russians. Some of the older ones were recruited directly into the Free Polish forces.
The training started in August 1944, and these Polish students had a longer course than the main 49th (7M9) Entry because they had to first of all to learn English, prior to doing the same Radio/Radar course as the main Entry. There was also a Polish 7P11 Entry, who were possibly later recruits or those who were considered to require longer training.
Technically one could say that they weren't strictly RAF, as they wore Polish badges and did Polish square bashing, but they were part of the Free Polish forces under RAF command.


WebMaster's note regarding 'the Poles'. (Added April, 2009)

As the then CAA Association WebMaster, I Peter Cornelius (69th Entry), in my updating and revising web pages came across the pages of the Polish Entries of 1944 - 1948. We all know that the Invasion of Poland in 1939 precipitated World War II but how many us knew of the hardships endured by these lads who eventually became Apprentices at Cranwell? Well, I for one, as a 9-13 year old at the time didn't know; so I set about doing some research, with further information from John Smailes of the 50th who 'was there'.
The Invasion of Poland was carried out by Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, and a small German-allied Slovak contingent. Following a German-staged "Polish attack" on 31st August 1939, on September 1st German forces invaded Poland from the North, South, and West. Spread thin defending their long borders, the Polish armies were soon forced to withdraw Eastward, following a plan that called for a long defense in the Romanian bridgehead area, where the Polish forces were to await an expected Allied counterattack and relief. In cooperation with Germany on September 17th the Soviet Red Army invaded the Eastern regions of Poland. This was part of a secret appendix of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which divided Eastern Europe into Nazi and Soviet spheres of influence.
Facing the second front, the Polish government decided that the defense of the Romanian bridgehead was no longer feasible and ordered the emergency evacuation of all troops to neutral Romania. By October 1st Germany and the Soviet Union had completely overrun Poland, although the Polish government never surrendered. In addition, Poland's remaining land and air forces were evacuated to neighboring Romania and Hungary. Many of the exiles subsequently joined the recreated Polish Army in allied France, French-mandated Syria, and the United Kingdom.

With that background I describe now the experiences of just one group of very young lads who were to subsequently end up at Cranwell or Halton, as documented in a Polish book writen by one.
The author's group was deported to Russia on 10 Feb 1940 to a forced labour camp, where there was little food and no medicine, but they were not brutalized. However, hunger, overwork and typhus killed 600 out of 1700 deportees in the 20 months that they stayed in the camp. In 1941, Hitler turned on his allies and invaded Russia. Food in the camp became even more scarce, but it was rumoured that Polish status was being re-examined. A Polish army might be formed in Russia and that the deportees might be given amnesty. This turned out to be true and the survivors left the camp in October 1941, travelling in cattle trucks through Turkestan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekestan, arriving in Bukhara on December 25th, 1941 where they stayed for several months, with even less food.
In July 1942 the author was accepted into a Polish orphanage and shipped to Dzhuma in Uzbekestan. He escaped from the orphanage several times and eventually joined a corps of about 1200 Polish Army Cadets. In August 1942 they were finally allowed to leave the Soviet Union and went by boat to Pahlavi in Persia. It seems that here they came to the attention of the British Authorities. They were well looked after by the British Army and became free, clean and happy.
In early September 1942 the lads were driven on a very dangerous route through the Persian mountains to Teheran and after two weeks, on to Iraq, where the Polish Army looked after them. Soon after they continued to Baghdad and then through Jordan to Quastina in Palestine. It was in Quastina that exams were held and those suitable were accepted into the local Polish Army Cadets.
After they had been receiving military training for some time, an RAF/Polish Air Force Recruiting Mission arrived to recruit and select candidates for RAF Apprenticeships. The author and the other successful cadets thus made the last leg of their journey to Halton or Cranwell in much greater comfort than in their previous travels.
The English version of this history does not make it clear, but it is assumed that the Polish Air Force Brass in UK were aware of the plight of the young boys and had suggested to, or pressured, the RAF into offering them Apprenticeships. The result was the formation of the Recruiting Mission which visited all the Middle East locations where the boys were assembled. It would have taken some time to get the Recruiting Mission approved, planned, formed, equipped and transported to the Middle East, so the boys must have been destined to Palestine way back towards the beginning of their journey.
I don't know Halton figures but from Cranwell names declared on these web pages there were 113, comprising two 49th Entries and two 50th Entries.

After what they had experienced Cranwell was but a Holiday Camp!

Polish attained Awards on Passing Out :

Highest Marks for English

709036 A/A Danielewski S

Highest Marks in Tech Subjects

709166 A/A Osewski Z

Highest Aggregate Marks

709166 A/A Osewski Z

 

The Entry List below is presented in alphabetical order:


49th 7P9 ENTRY ROLL CALL

NUMBER

SURNAME

INITS

KNOWN AS

REMARKS

709005

Banasiewicz

H

 

 

709007

Bar

Z

Ziggy

 

709017

Binek

W S

Bill

 

709036

Danielewski

S

 

 

709059

Graczyk

E

 

 

709066

Hauptman

K

 

 

709067

Heltman

T

 

 

709071

Hyla

W

Wladyslaw (Wladek)

Died 26th December 2008.

709077

JanKowski

B

 

 

709093

Klimczuk

S

 

 

709099

Kondak

H

 

 

709109

Kozlowski

L

 

 

709116

Ksiazek

P

 

 

709132

Mackiewicz

M T

Marian

Died 2nd October 2004.

709145

Mazur

I

 

 

709161

Nowicik

L

 

 

709166

Osewski

Z

 

 

709170

Perucki

Z

 

 

709173

Planeta

E

 

 

709177

Poplawski

S

 

 

709178

Popwicz

R

 

 

709209

Soroco

M

 

 

709234

Swiderski

F

 

 

709216

Szabdej

S

 

 

709246

Wawrynowicz

T

 

 

709256

Wozniak

A

 

 

709264

Zak

S

 

 

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Click on each photo to obtain an enlarged version.
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PHOTOGRAPHS

Photographs of those Passing Out extracted from the 8M3 Entry History - "8M3 Then and Now".

50th (8P3/8P9) Passing Out.jpg

Photograph of all Polish Apprentices at Cranwell - Supplied by John Smailes 8M3 (50th) Entry

Polish Entries.JPG

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