On Monday 30th December 1940 Flying Officer Kazimierz Sporny stood before his squadrons Intelligence Officer and claimed a BF109.
It was a personal landmark for the young airman, his first confirmed ‘Kill’ flying with the RAF in England and his first concrete piece of retribution for the Germans who had invaded & occupied his homeland – Poland.
It should have happened three months before, during the ‘official’ period of the Battle of Britain, but an enemy aircraft, trailing smoke, and diving down at 400 miles an hour into a cloud layer you know to be at 2000 feet isn’t ‘confirmed’ unless you actually see it crash.
But today, with just one more day of 1940 to go, he had done it.
He, like almost all his Polish colleagues, had been overwhelmed by the German advance in September 1939. Forced to flee over the border into Romania before any real damage could be inflicted on the Luftwaffe, he passed through what at that time was Yugoslavia before arriving in France via Italy.
Then, in the summer of 1940, and after another lightning strike by the Germans, he arrived in England and the legendary 303 Squadron.
If you remember the film ‘Battle of Britain’ you will recall a scene where a Polish Squadron on a training flight meets a Luftwaffe patrol and, before their British patrol leader can stop them, they dive into the fight asking him to ‘Repeat Please’
It happened and Sporny was part of that squadron.
He flew with Josef František, an exiled Czech who became the highest scoring ace of all during the Battle of Britain. And 303 Squadron became the most successful of all squadrons with the greatest number of ‘Kills’ to losses.
This success was undoubtedly due to a singular hate each member of the Squadron had for the Germans who were occupying their country, their homes, Germans who, in some cases, had murdered members of their family.
Sporny was no different and his flight through the Balkans & Italy had reached its desired conclusion, now, as he stood in front of the Intelligence Officer and claimed his victory.
In time, four more would follow.
Also, in time, if he survived, the Germans would be defeated & Sporny would return home, a hero.
Well, he did survive, the Germans were defeated & he was a hero. The problem was, in post-war Poland, now part of the Soviet sphere of influence, Polish Heroes were not welcome, only Soviet Heroes were needed.
And so Kazimierz Sporny could not return home.
Until, Thursday 25th August 2016 – RAF Northolt, London, where he was securely repatriated by Rowland Brothers International.
For further information on Major Sporny and his repatriation, these articles featured on the RAF and the Embassy of the Republic of Poland detail the hero’s send off he received.