Book: “Warsaw Airlift Commemoration Ceremonies” and Complete Roll of Honour


Complete Roll of Honour

31 and 34 Squadrons of SAAF
Name (Age) Rank Died on Buried at
L.C. Allen (27) Cpt SAAF 31 17/08/44 Krakow
P.H. Andrews (20) Lt SAAF 31 15/08/44 Krakow
A.M. Bonney (22) F/O RAF 31 17/08/44 Krakow
E. Bradsaw W/O RAF 31 17/08/44 Krakow
J.C. Branch-Clarke (18) Lt SAAF 31 15/08/44 Krakow
I. Brandsma (21) W/O SAAF 31 17/08/44 Krakow
H.J. Brown (19) W/O SAAF 31 17/08/44 Malta
O. Coleman (20) Lt SAAF 31 15/08/44 Krakow
C.A. Cooke (30) Lt SAAF 31 15/08/44 Krakow
R.G. Devine F/O RAF 34 11/09/44 Belgrade
E.A. Endler Cpt SAAF 34 11/09/44 Belgrade
J.B. Erasmus (28) W/O SAAF 31 17/08/44 Krakow
R.G. Hamilton 2/Lt SAAF 31 15/08/44 Krakow
A.J. Hastings (23) Lt SAAF 31 17/08/44 Krakow
G.C. Hooey (25) Lt SAAF 31 15/08/44 Krakow
H. Hudson (20) Sgt RAF(VR) 31 15/08/44 Krakow
E.B.H. Impey (25) Lt SAAF 31 17/08/44 Krakow
W. Klokow (27) Lt SAAF 31 17/08/44 Krakow
R.A. Lavery (25) Lt SAAF 31 15/08/44 Krakow
G. Lawrie (27) Cpt SAAF 31 17/08/44 Krakow
P.H.G. Lees (20) Sgt RAF(VR) 31 18/08/44 Krakow
H.H. Lewis (24) Lt SAAF 31 17/08/44 Krakow
B.T. Loxton Lt SAAF 31 17/08/44 Krakow
H.A.R. Male (26) Lt SAAF 31 15/08/44 Krakow
C. Manley Sgt RAF(VR) 34 11/09/44 Belgrade
L. Mayes (24) Sgt RAF(VR) 31 15/08/44 Krakow
A.G. McCabe Lt SAAF 34 11/09/44 Belgrade
A.J. McInnes (22) Lt SAAF 31 17/08/44 Krakow
J.A. Meyer (21) W/O SAAF 31 15/08/44 Krakow
A.J. Munro (20) Lt SAAF 31 17/08/44 Krakow
J.R.W. Nickerson (22) Sgt RAF 31 17/08/44 Krakow
I.J.M. Odendaal (MID) Mjr SAAF 31 17/08/44 Krakow
T.D. O’Keefe (20) W/O SAAF 31 15/08/44 Krakow
D.J. Palmer (23) W/O SAAF 31 17/08/44 Krakow
G.B. Pitt (20) Lt SAAF 31 15/08/44 Krakow
G.T. Robinson Sgt RAF(VR) 34 17/08/44 Krakow
R.W. Stafford (26) W/O SAAF 31 15/08/44 Krakow
J.A.C. Steel (18) W/O SAAF 31 17/08/44 Krakow
T.A. Stewart Lt SAAF 34 11/09/44 Belgrade
G. Swift (20) Sgt RAF(VR) 31 17/08/44 Krakow
E.H. Turner Sgt RAF(VR) 31 15/08/44 Krakow
N. van Rensburg Cpt SAAF 31 15/08/44 Krakow
T.T. Watson (21) Lt SAAF 31 17/08/44 Krakow
B.N. Woods (36) W/O SAAF 31 15/08/44 Krakow
R. Zambra (22) F/Sgt RAF(VR) 31 17/08/44 Krakow
178 Squadron of RAF
Name (Age) Rank Died on Buried at
M.A. Bakter (23) F/Sgt RAAF 15/08/44 Krakow
F.J. Barrett (23) F/Sgt RAF(VR) 15/08/44 Krakow
J.D. Clarke F/Sgt RAF 17/08/44 Krakow
P.G. Coutts Lt SAAF 14/08/44 Krakow
S.J. Davis (34) Sgt RAF(VR) 15/08/44 Krakow
K. Fairweather Lt SAAF 15/08/44 Krakow
C.E. Foreman (20) Sgt RAF(VR) 15/08/44 Krakow
E.G. Fretwell (21) Sgt RAF(VR) 15/08/44 Krakow
W.Q.C. Gawer (36) Sgt RAF(VR) 15/08/44 Krakow
S.F. Horne (21) Sgt RAF(VR) 15/08/44 Krakow
W. Huddert (22) Sgt RAF(VR) 15/08/44 Krakow
G.W. Joslyn (20) Sgt RAF(VR) 15/08/44 Krakow
R.L. Lawson (21) Lt SAAF 15/08/44 Krakow
J.V. Lee (24) F/Sgt RAF(VR) 15/08/44 Krakow
J.P. Liversidge (31) S/L RAAF 17/08/44 Krakow
G.D. Macrae F/O RCAF 14/08/44 Krakow
H.V. McLanachan (21) F/Sgt RAF(VR)
M.T. Mountain (27) Sgt RAF(VR) 15/08/44 Krakow
E.H.J. Page (26) W/O RAF 15/08/44 Krakow
R.C. Pain (24) Sgt RAF(VR) 15/08/44 Krakow
J.E. Porter (21) Sgt RAF(VR) 14/08/44 Krakow
W. Pratt (20) Sgt RAF(VR) 15/08/44 Krakow
R.W. Robinson (21) F/Sgt RAF(VR) 15/08/44 Krakow
R.H.C. Scott (21) Sgt RAF(VR) 14/08/44 Krakow
A. Sharpe (22) Sgt RAF(VR) 14/08/44 Krakow
R.V. Stonier (23) Sgt RAF(VR) 15/08/44 Krakow
A.D.E. Stott (21) Lt SAAF 15/08/44 Krakow
E.C. Thyer (22) F/Lt RAF(VR) 15/08/44 Krakow
J. Winter (22) Sgt RAF(VR) 15/08/44 Krakow
W.D. Wright F/Lt RAF(VR) 17/08/44 Krakow
148 Squadron of RAF
Name (Age) Rank Died on Buried at
D.G. Bryden P/O RAF 11/09/44 Adriatic Sea
H.C. Clementis Sgt RAF 11/09/44 Adriatic Sea
E.W. Cliver Sgt RAF 11/09/44 Adriatic Sea
R.S. Darling (22) Sgt RAF(VR) 15/08/44 Krakow
J.W. Frame F/Sgt RAF 11/09/44 Adriatic Sea
T.B. Froelish F/Sgt RAF 11/09/44 Adriatic Sea
R.R.E. Hartog (21) Sgt RAF(VR) 15/08/44 Krakow
T. Law (19) Sgt RAF(VR) 15/08/44 Krakow
P.H. Roots (21) Sgt RAF(VR) 15/08/44 Krakow
J.S. Tawser F/Sgt RAF 11/09/44 Adriatic Sea
1586 Squadron of PAF
Name (Age) Rank Died on Buried at
W. Augustyn Cpl PAF 27/08/44 Budapest
W. Balcarek Sgt PAF 28/08/44 Adriatic Sea
T. Banasik Cpl PAF 2/09/44 Budapest
M. Baworowski 2/Lt PAF 2/09/44 Budapest
J.P. Bielicki (22) Sgt PAF 15/08/44 Krakow
S. Bohanes (30) Sgt PAF 16/08/44 Krakow
S.T.P. Daniel (34) Cpt PAF 15/08/44 Krakow
T.P. Dubowski (21) Sgt PAF 15/08/44 Krakow
J. Dudziak (20) Cpl PAF 11/08/44 Krakow
K. Dunin-Horkowicz 2/Lt PAF 28/08/44 Adriatic Sea
F. Dziadula Cpl PAF 11/09/44 Budapest
W. Fedzinski Sgt PAF 11/09/44 Budapest
J. Florkowski (24) Sgt PAF 17/08/44 Krakow
M. Foczpaniak 2/Lt PAF 11/09/44 Belgrade
S. Fraczak 2/Lt PAF 11/09/44 Belgrade
B. Graff Sgt PAF 28/08/44 Belgrade
B. Jasinski Lt PAF 28/08/44 Belgrade
T. Jencka (26) Lt PAF 17/08/44 Krakow
E. Jodis Cpl PAF 27/08/44 Budapest
J. Kantowski Cpl PAF 27/08/44 Budapest
S. Kleniewski Lt PAF 27/08/44 Budapest
B. Klosowski Cpl PAF 27/08/44 Budapest
W. Koziol Lt PAF 28/08/44 Belgrade
Z. Kozlowski 2/Lt PAF 11/09/44 Budapest
T. Lach 2/Lt PAF 11/09/44 Budapest
M. Lojas Cpl PAF 2/09/44 Budapest
S. Malczyk (28) Sgt PAF 15/08/44 Krakow
R. Majewski Sgt PAF 27/08/44 Budapest
B. Malejka (27) F/Sgt PAF 17/08/44 Krakow
J. Marecki (23) Sgt PAF 17/08/44 Krakow
T. Mroczko Lt PAF 28/08/44 Adriatic Sea
S. Mucha Sgt PAF 11/09/44 Budapest
A. Muhln Lt PAF 28/08/44 Belgrade
T. Ogrodnik Sgt PAF 27/08/44 Budapest
F. Omylak Cpl PAF 28/08/44 Adriatic Sea
J. Ozga Cpl PAF 28/08/44 Adriatic Sea
S. Paetz Cpl PAF 2/09/44 Budapest
J. Paszkiewicz Cpl PAF 28/08/44 Belgrade
W. Pazdzior Sgt PAF 11/09/44 Budapest
Z.J. Pluta (31) Cpt PAF 17/08/44 Krakow
B. Podsiadlo Sgt PAF 11/09/44 Budapest
E. Polaczek Sgt PAF 2/09/44 Budapest
W. Rosiniuk 2/Lt PAF 1/09/44 Belgrade
W.T. Rutkowski (23) Sgt PAF 15/08/44 Krakow
E. Rygiel Lt PAF 14/09/44 Budapest
J. Radwan-Kuzelewski Cpl PAF 27/08/44 Budapest
R. Sikorski Sgt PAF 14/09/44 Budapest
J. Skorczyk Sgt PAF 28/08/44 Adriatic Sea
K. Sorowka Sgt PAF 27/08/44 Budapest
A. Szmigielski Cpl PAF 27/08/44 Budapest
Z. Szostak (28) Cpt PAF 15/08/44 Krakow
A. Szyller Cpl PAF 28/08/44 Belgrade
J. Truszkowski Sgt PAF 11/09/44 Belgrade
M. Walczyk Sgt PAF 2/09/44 Budapest
K. Walaszek Cpl PAF 27/08/44 Budapest
L. Wantulok Cpl PAF 27/08/44 Budapest
B. Wawrzak Sgt PAF 14/09/44 Budapest
B. Weber Cpl PAF 14/09/44 Budapest
E. Weinitz Sgt PAF 14/09/44 Budapest
B. Wichrowski (21) Plt PAF 17/08/44 Krakow
K. Widacki 2/Lt PAF 28/08/44 Adriatic Sea
J. Witek (29) Sgt PAF 15/08/44 Krakow
L. Witkowski Sgt PAF 27/08/44 Budapest
J. Woroch Sgt PAF 27/08/44 Budapest
L. Woytanowicz Lt PAF 14/09/44 Budapest
E. Zielinski Cpl PAF 14/09/44 Budapest
USA Air Force
Name (Age) Rank Died on Buried at
F.E. Akins 1/Lt USAAF 18/09/44 Ardene, Belgium
E. Berenson F/O USAAF 18/09/44 Ardene, Belgium
F.P. Decillis T/Sgt USAAF 18/09/44 Nettuno, Italy
P.F. Haney S/Sgt USAAF 18/09/44 USA
P.R. Hibbard 1/Lt USAAF 18/09/44
G.A. MacPhee S/Sgt USAAF 18/09/44 Ardene, Belgium
M.S. Merrill 2/Lt USAAF 18/09/44 Ardene, Belgium
R.O. Peters 1/Lt USAAF 18/09/44 Ardene, Belgium
W.P. Shimshock S/Sgt USAAF 18/09/44 USA
F.D. Shaw 2/Lt USAAF 18/09/44 USA
J.J. Vigna 1/Lt USAAF 18/09/44


Commemoration ‘2003: Rev. Bryan D. Jones


Thank you, Chairman Andrzej

For your welcome and kind words of introduction, as well as your invitation to once again lead this service. Good morning friends — it is so nice to see you all again. I like to think that I stand here as a representative of my wartime colleagues of 31 and 34 SAAF squadrons and I am sure they would wish us to focus special honour and attention on a number of others who were involved in the Warsaw Uprising.

We pay homage to the men and women, boys and girls of fighting Warsaw and we express our profound thanks to the local Polish community for the honour you bestow on us and your generous devotion in keeping the spirit of Warsaw alive by arranging and sustaining these memorial services for so many years.

Friends, the Warsaw Uprising took place 59 years ago and I marvel at the fact that these memorial services are still so well attended — you must each have your own personal reason for being here. For some it will be duty. Some are here to remember a loved one. Others are maybe just curious with little knowledge of the event.

I am going to briefly share with you FOUR events / happenings of the past 12 months which have kept the Warsaw Uprising very much in my thoughts.

In Nov/Dec came the publication of the book The Men Who Went To Warsaw for which we need to congratulate: author — Lawrence Isemonger who served on 31 Sqd ground staff; publishers — Winston Brent of Freeworld Publishers; Jean Urry — who so ably typed the text from the original manuscript.

The book traces the story of 31 & 34 Sqds from the time of converting to the Liberator B 24 four engine heavy bomber at Lydda, Palestine then moves on to Formation at Kilo 40 in the Egyptian desert and early strikes against shipping & harbours in eastern Mediterranean.

The scene transfers across to Celone / Foggia Italy for the long range attacks deep into Hitlers European fortress heavily defended targets such as Ploesti Oilfields Bucharest and Budapest — on moonlight nights low level laying of mines on the Danube River to impede the flow of oil barges to Germany then on to the horrors of Warsaw and beyond.

This book provides a nostalgic travel guide to The Musky Bazaar and Almaza Camp in Cairo, Sorrento Isle of Capri, Italy.

I particularly appreciated the narrative being from the perspective of Ground Crew and it filled in my lack of knowledge on what happened after we so abruptly left the Sqd. on 13 Aug 1944.

Understandably, this book is about the two South African Squadrons but we hasten to acknowledge the gallant part played in the Warsaw raids by RAF 148 & 178 Sqds, the Polish Special Services Flight 1586 and United States 8th Air Force Group.

I warmly commend this publication to you it is a fairly long read so I give you a tip: if you need a quick summary of the WHY & HOW of the Warsaw Uprising, start at the end Chapter 52 which contains a stinging rebuke and condemnation of the duplicity and political intrigue amongst the Allied leaders.

The Book ends with these words: The Lesson to be learned from the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 and its tragic consequences is very clear. It is that big powers always betray small powers. It is a Law of Nature of which South Africa may well take heed.


The second incident, which jogged my memory, occurred in March when Hollywood included the film The Pianist in its list of Oscar winners. My wife & I saw this gripping 2 hour film and also read the book The Pianist by Wladyslaw Szpilman.

It is a grim account of what happened to a middle-class Polish family and their Community whose only offence was that were born Jewish. This appalling story of mans gross inhumanity to man is tempered for me by the brave compassion of a German officer, CAPT Wilm Hosenfeld who discovers the fugitive pianist living in the ruins of the Warsaw uprising, clothes and feeds him but he himself then perishes in the cold wastes of a Siberian prison camp.

Friends for this alone I am glad I went to Warsaw for the unwitting rescue and encouragement of many unknown pianists and Captains Hosenfeld who must have thought the whole Western world had abandoned them.


The third event occurred end April when the Press reminded us that the 60th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was being celebrated by our Jewish community.

Mr Chairman at the time I had in mind suggesting that a group of us should join them in Remembering that other heroic uprising but am sorry to confess it remained just another good intention. But what it did do was to cause me to re-read this book entitled Those Who Helped given to me by that wonderfully humble man Jerzy Piotr Sliwczynski President of the Polish Society for the Righteous Among The Nations — an organisation dedicated to honouring the Memory of people who, during the Holocaust, risked everything and gave their lives by sheltering or befriending Jews.

Ladies and Gentlemen I need to remind you that throughout occupied Europe such action resulted in imprisonment — in Germany it carried the death penalty. But in Poland any help rendered to a Jew carried the death penalty not only for the would be rescuer but for his / her entire family including aged grandparents and babes in arms.

This book appears to record that up to the year 2001, some 5,500 Poles had been so honoured.


Do I hear the drone of approaching aircraft?

I hurry to tell you about my fourth and most powerful reminder: through the initiative of Dr Charles Nel of the ALPINE 44 club, I recently received a copy of an SABC tape recording made by 31 Sqd personnel in Foggia on the 23 August 1944. You will recognise from the date that they were in the middle of the Warsaw Crisis — the Squadron had already been decimated. Whilst I appreciate they were censored and restricted in what they could say there was not a hint of the drama being experienced. Speaker after speaker came across with cheerful greetings such as Hullo Mum & Dad. I am fit and well thanks for your letters — keep the beer on the ice, Ill be home for Christmas.

These messages were mostly from our very able Ground Crews and Admin Staff who also played a vital role in the Warsaw Flights. I noted these fine young men came from all over the country small dorps and towns as well as the big cities and I am proud to have served with them.

Then followed greetings from many aircrew friends including the strong voices of the late Keith Haywood and Boyd Varty both of whose families have been long-time supporters of these services and may be here to-day. I was deeply moved to hear the cheerful voices of several aircrew colleagues who had already survived Warsaw, but within a few weeks would perish in the Italian Alps on that dreadful night of 12 Oct. 1944 when we lost 48 wonderful men whilst dropping supplies to Italian Partisans. There was an encouraging word for relatives back home from Padre Jenkins and the tape ends with Col. Dirk Nel giving strong praise and commendation of his men.


Dear Friends you can imagine that after all these years listening to this tape was a most emotional experience I found myself in an imaginary face to face conversation with my long-lost friends. were they satisfied with the way in which we had managed the interim years? Had their sacrifice been worthwhile? What message, if any, was I hearing from them?

Yes as I sat deep in thought I believe they did approve because despite all our errors and selfishness, there has been worthwhile meaningful economic, social and political change for the better in both South Africa & Poland.


And friends, as a Christian pastor I need to say that I am not into crossing over and other similar programmes of contacting the dead. Just hearing those familiar voices took me back over the years to an animated discussion in the squadron mess and I imagined they were encouraging us to continue the process of reconciliation and forgiving each other on a PERSONAL, a COMMUNITY and an INTERNATIONAL level. Maybe my thoughts are still influenced by that great occasion in 1994 when the German President, addressing a large crowd of over 100,000 people in Krasinski Square Warsaw, asked whether the Polish people could find it in their hearts to forgive Germany for the destruction of their Great City. You may also recall Martin Luther King stating that Forgiveness is not an occasional act it is a permanent attitude.

Mr Chairman you have asked your committee for new ideas of how we could best celebrate next years 60th Anniversary Service and I suggest we do something different if protocol allows it let us make a special wreath in appropriate colours and design, and invite a Senior Air Force representative perhaps Col Dirk Nel together with the Polish and German Ambassadors, to lay the wreath at the foot of this dignified Katyn Monument which silhouettes the Cross the supreme symbol of the Christian faith which stands for Gods own Great Sacrifice Gods Love His forgiveness and healing. As we do so let us remember the words of our Lord Jesus, Greater love has no man than that he lay down his life for his friends. — For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

I believe our fallen airmen would approve of such a Symbolic Act.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I ask you to stand and remember.

Ladies & Gentlemen Please remain standing and join me in a closing prayer:

Dear God we now pause to Praise and Thank you as our Heavenly Father.
Surrounded by all these signs of Spring and New Life
we worship you as our Creator and say:
Oh Lord our Lord how majestic is Your name in all the earth
Thank you for this time together for the memories
that have come flooding back.
We are so grateful for Your love and strength.
We commit each other into Your care for the next 12 months.
We pray for Your blessing and protection on the officers,
men and women, of our Air force as they continue to serve the country.
For ourselves we ask that we may truly be peacemakers.
Help us to be a source of peace rather than acrimonious discord.
Keep us from agitating arguments, hostile conflict and contention.
Use us to bring reconciliation between people
who are separated by hurting memories or current conflict.
Please give us and our land Your Peace.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the love of God our Heavenly Father
and the Blessing and fellowship of the Holy Spirit
be with you all now and always.

Obchody ‘2003: Andrzej Romanowicz

Obchody 59. rocznicy lotów zrzutowych nad Warszawę

Obchody lotów były w tym roku szczególnie udane z uwagi na uczestnictwo licznej grupy z Ambasady Polskiej w Pretorii oraz dzieci polskiej szkoły w Vanderbijlpark. Polonijna tradycja tych obchodów sięga 1947 roku, a zapał ciągle trwa. Pod pomnikiem ofiar Katynia zgromadzili się w sobote: patriotyczni Rodacy, przedstawiciele sił zbrojnych Południowej Afryki, doradcy wojskowi państw układu NATO (w tym po raz pierwszy pułkownik Svarc — czeski doradca militarny) oraz członek parlamentu z Cape Town — pan Colin Eglin. Aktorzy “Warszawskiego Koncertu” licznie stawili się w osobach: Bryana Jones’a, Billa Coley’a, Freda Austin’a oraz Boba Steel’a. Porucznik Bob Burgess (84) i kapitan Gerald Rosenthal nie byli w stanie wziąć udziału w obchodach z uwagi na podeszły wiek. W tym roku na zawsze odeszli: Kapitan McGregor, Dr. Hudson-Reed, porucznicy Oosthuizen i Haggie. Udział w obchodach wzięli również obaj synowie generała Durranta — dowodcy 205 Grupy Cieżkich Bombowcow SAAF. Juz po raz drugi gościlismy przedstawicieli ZONDERWATER Block — stowarzyszenia byłych włoskich jeńców wojennych. We Włoszech oraz w Południowej Afryce wzrosło zainteresowanie lotnikami Południowej Afryki, którzy zginęli w Alpach wloskich. Powstało nowe stowarzyszenie pod nazwa “Alpine 44 Club”. Z uwagi na konferencje ANC zabrakło burmistrza Johannesburga. Po raz drugi uhonorował obchody swoją obecnością ambasador RP dr. Krzysztof Śliwiński. Przy składaniu wieńca towarzyszyli mu: Konsul Marian Bark oraz Juliusz Gojło. Nasi szkoccy przyjaciele, złożeni grypa, byli jednak w stanie wystawić pojedyńczego muzyka, który (tradycyjnie już) zagrał na kobzie hymny obu krajów. Szef lotnictwa zorganizował jak zwykle wartę honorową, trębacza oraz przelot samolotu. Nabożeństwo prowadził Pastor Bryan Jones podkreślając sprawy pokojowego współżycia na świecie. Wystapił z sugestia wspólnego składania wieńca przez przedstawicieli poprzednich wrogów Polaków (Rosjan?) i Niemców. Lista składających wieńce również w tym roku była bardzo długa. Nie zabrakło przedstawiciela szefa SANDF w osobie admirala Martina Treynor’a, Prezesa Polskich Kombatantow — Gabriela Lisowskiego z George oraz przedstawiciela Polonii w Durbanie p. Misiewicza. Debiutowały dzieci polskiej szkoly z Vanderbijlpark, po raz drugi wieniec skladała Parafia z Norwood oraz dzieci polskiej szkoły w Bryanston.


Akademia w muzeum rozpoczeła się wystapieniem J. E. ambasadora Śliwińskiego, ktory pozdrowił zebranych w imieniu kraju, któremu 59 lat temu nieśli tak oczekiwana pomoc. Głównym mówca na spotkaniu w Muzeum Wojskowym był Generał Brygady — Anton Kriegler — szef transportu i operacji nadmorskich SAAF. Jak zwykle podziekowania należa się dla komitetu polskich pań, ktore przygotowały góry smakołyków. Bar byl sprawnie obsługiwany przez członków Stowarzyszenia Techników. Niespodzianke zrobiła grupa taneczna Tomasza Kuhna racząc nasze zmysły pieknie zatańczonym Polonezem. Brawo Tomek! Sponsorami, poza lotnikami SA, byli: Zjednoczenie Polskie w Johannesburgu i w Kwa-Zulu-Natal, Ambasada, Muzeum Wojska, SAAF, SAB oraz STP. Dziękujemy Wackowi Szymanskiemu oraz Romkowi z AERO TRAVEL za rejestracje zamówień na lunch w muzeum oraz Bogdanowi Janiszynowi za nagłośnienie przy pomniku.. Za rok wielka rocznica — 60-lecie Lotów nad Warszawe. Rozmawiamy na temat projektów dla uczczenia tej rocznicy. Pierwszy to rodzaj pamiatek w formie krawata oraz tarczy pamiatkowej. Drugi — to wydanie książeczki na temat historii Lotów wraz z tzw. ROLL OF HONOUR (listy poległych lotników, którzy oddali życie za Warszawe tj. Południowoafrykańczyków, Brytyjczyków, Amerykanów oraz Polaków). Wygląda wreszcie na to, że ta miła uroczystosć nie tylko przetrwała ale rosnie w siłę. Zainteresowanie rodzin lotniczych, publicznosci, kombatantów z SAAF nie zawodzi. Dobrze, że w tym roku towarzyszyła im nasza młodzież, głównie z Vanderbijlparku. Podziekowania dla rodziców i nauczycieli!

Andrzej Romanowicz, wrzesień 2003

Commemoration ‘2003: Brig. Gen. Kriegler

I am privileged to be able to address you all today on behalf of the Chief of the SA Air Force, Lt Gen Roelf Beukes, who extends his apologies for not being able to be here in person.

We are gathered here to commemorate the 59th anniversary of the Warsaw Airlift and to pay tribute to those members of the Allied Air Forces and Polish Home Army who paid the ultimate sacrifice during the attempt to liberate Warsaw in August 1944.


Warsaw became the capital of the Polish Kingdom as early as 1596. Throughout its history Warsaw was occupied several times by Sweden, Russia and Prussia. From 1813 until its occupation by Germany in 1915, Warsaw was under Russian control. In 1918 it became the capital of the newly restored Polish state.

On September 1, 1939, with the commencement of World War, Warsaw was the first major city to receive air attacks from the Germans. After countless bombing and artillery attacks, the German armies captured the city on 27 September 1939. Throughout the war, the Polish capital was not only the headquarters of the German occupation authorities but also the center of the Polish underground. In the next four years, the Germans carried out a calculated plan to annihilate the city. Some 500,000 Jews were the first victims. They were herded into a walled ghetto of less than 2.6 sq km (1 sq mi). Between 22 July and 3 October 1942, more than 300,000 inhabitants of the ghetto were sent to concentration camps and killed. In April 1943, German troops attacked the ghetto, and the 60,000 remaining Jews were killed after a heroic resistance that lasted for three weeks.

By 1 August 1944, the Russians had advanced to the Vistula River 15 miles east of Warsaw. General “Bor” Komorowski and other leaders of the Polish underground resistance, known as the “Home Army”, judged the time right for rebellion against Nazi occupying forces and started what was known as the Warsaw Uprising.

The Polish government-in-exile in Britain was convinced that, if the necessary supplies of arms, ammunition, and medical supplies could be obtained, early success could be exploited and liberation of the city expedited. On 3 August it approached the three major Allied powers to request that additional supplies be air-dropped to the Polish resistance. The Russians were in the best position to assist, but Stalin was however not prepared to do so, not even allowing Allied aircraft to land in Russian-held territory to refuel.


In desperation, the Home Army appealed to Britain and America for much needed arms, amunition, and medical supplies. These could only be delivered by air-drops. Again Stalin said “Nyet”. This time to the reasonable suggestion that aircraft might land in Russian-held territory to re-fuel. The Liberators of SAAF 2 Wing — 31 and 34 Squadrons — based at Foggia in Southern Italy, and Halifaxes, flown by the RAF, whose 148 and 178 Squadrons, as well as 1568 Polish Flight, also took part. The proposed supply drops meant a journey of 1600 km out over heavily defended occupied territory; roof-top height approach to the dropping zones in flames of the burning city; and another 1600 km back to base — if they were lucky.

The Polish Flight undertook flights on the nights of 7 and 8 August. The supplies were dropped in the right places and this success led to a request for further assistance.

For the British Air Force planners the envisaged operation was not a fair risk in war and they felt that only a small portion of the supplies would fall into the hands of the patriots, even with marked dropped zones.

Britains Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, insisted that the operation be executed, if only for reasons of propaganda and boosting morale.

The insurgents, who were loyal to the anti-Communist exile government in London, disrupted the Germans for several days. The Soviet forces held fast on the east side of the Wisla, however, and Stalin refused to let U.S. planes use Soviet airfields for making supply flights for the insurgents. He did, finally, allow one flight by 110 B-17s, which was made on September 18. By then it was too late; the Germans had the upper hand; and Komorowski surrendered on October 2. Stalin insisted that his forces could not have crossed into Warsaw because they were too weak, which was probably not true. came out into the open on 1 August 1944 and attacked German troops in the streets of Warsaw.

On August 1, 1944, as Soviet armies neared the city, the citizens of Warsaw rose against the Germans and fought for 63 days before they were finally defeated (see World War II: The Warsaw Uprising). After the uprising, German troops killed or deported most of the remaining population. Then special forces carried out a systematic destruction of the city. Warsaw was liberated by Soviet and Polish troops in January 1945. After the war, the city was rebuilt, with the aid of gifts from other countries. Where possible, the original plans were followed in the reconstruction of historic buildings and districts. Of the city’s prewar population of more than 1 million, only some 162,000 survived the war, living in Praga east of the river and in the western suburbs. The new Communist-controlled government of Poland established itself in Warsaw soon after the war.

The Soviet offensive had spread to the flanks of Army Group Center in July. On July 29 a spearhead reached the Baltic coast near Riga and severed Army Group North’s land contact with the German main front. Powerful thrusts past Army Group Center’s south flank reached the line of the Wisla (Vistula) River upstream from Warsaw by the end of the month. In Warsaw on July 31 the Polish underground Home Army commanded by General Tadeusz Komorowski (known as General Bor) staged an uprising. The insurgents, who were loyal to the anti-Communist exile government in London, disrupted the Germans for several days. The Soviet forces held fast on the east side of the Wisla, however, and Stalin refused to let U.S. planes use Soviet airfields for making supply flights for the insurgents. He did, finally, allow one flight by 110 B-17s, which was made on September 18. By then it was too late; the Germans had the upper hand; and Komorowski surrendered on October 2. Stalin insisted that his forces could not have crossed into Warsaw because they were too weak, which was probably not true. On the other hand, the line of the Wisla was as far as the Soviet armies could go on a broad front without pausing to replenish their supplies.

Brig. Gen. Kriegler

Obchody ‘2002: Andrzej Romanowicz

Obchody 58. rocznicy lotów zrzutowych nad Warszawę

Tegoroczne obchody lotów odbyły się zgodnie z polonijną tradycją, sięgającą 1947 roku. Poza licznie zgromadzonymi rodakami, udział wzięli przedstawiciele sił zbrojnych RPA, doradcy wojskowi państw układu NATO oraz przedstawiciel Rady Miejskiej Johannesburga. Po raz pierwszy uhonorował je swoją obecnością nowy ambasador RP dr Krzysztof Śliwiński. Przy składaniu wieńca towarzyszyli mu: konsul Marian Bark oraz nowoprzybyły Radca Handlowy p. Jaremi Bartoszewicz. Jak zwykle nie zawiedli nasi szkoccy przyjaciele, tradycyjnie już grając na kobzach hymny obu krajów.

Dowódca miejscowego lotnictwa zorganizował wartę honorową, trębacza oraz przelot samolotu. Tym razem przelotu dokonał C-130 Herkules, rodzaj samolotu, którym lecieliśmy w 1993 roku na obchody rocznicy przybycia polskich sierot do Oudtshoorn. Polscy księża odprawili nabożeństwo, jako, że był to rok “katolicki”. Uczestnicy “Warszawskiego Koncertu” stawili się licznie w osobach: Bryan Jones, Bill Coley, Fred Austin, Dirkie Nel, Bob Steel i Gerald Rosenthal.

Po raz pierwszy gościliśmy przedstawicieli Zonderwater Block — stowarzyszenia byłych włoskich jeńców wojennych. Powodem tej nowej koneksji jest zaistniałe we Włoszech zainteresowanie lotnikami Południowej Afryki, którzy zginęli w Alpach włoskich, niosąc pomoc partyzantce antynazistowskiej. Straty SAAF wyniosły: 6 Liberatorów oraz 40 członków załogi. Poprzednio Włosi uważali, że polegli lotnicy byli z RAF lub amerykańskiego lotnictwa. Tak się również miło dla Włochów złożyło, że dowódcę lotnictwa RPA reprezentował gen. Carlo Gagiano, czyli potomek włoskich imigrantów.


Lista składających wieńce była w tym roku bardzo długa. Debiutowała parafia z Norwood oraz dzieci polskiej szkoły w Bryanston. Mistrzem ceremonii w muzeum SANDF, po raz drugi z rzędu, był Tomasz Kuhn, który wspaniale wywiązał się z trudnej funkcji, bez mikrofonu. Paradoksalnie, brak nagłośnienia pomógł w zachowaniu ciszy w czasie akademii i skupioną uwagę na sali. Szczególne podziękowania należą się dla komitetu polskich Pań, które przygotowały góry smakołyków. Bar był sprawnie obsługiwany przez Stowarzyszenie Techników. Sponsorami poza lotnictwem SA, byli: Zjednoczenie Polskie w Johannesburgu i w KwaZulu-Natal, Raymond Drzewicki, SAB oraz STP. Dziękujemy za ogromną pomoc Aero Travel przy potwierdzaniu zgłoszeń na przyjęcie. Duże podziękowania dla Bogdana Janiszyna za zorganizowanie nagłośnienie przy pomniku.

Ksiądz Infułat Jan Jaworski, świeżo po powrocie z Moskwy i Katynia, wygłosił wspaniałą homilię na temat mordu polskich oficerów w Katyniu. Nabożeństwo prowadził ks. Stanisław Lipski wraz z ks. Wilkańcem, wojskowym kapelanem Philipsem oraz Włochem — ks. Giuseppe Delama.

Za dwa lata wielka rocznica, tj. 60. Komitet chciałby zrealizować dwa projekty dla uczczenia tej rocznicy. Pierwszy to rodzaj pamiątek w formie krawata dla panów i chusty dla pań. Drugi to wykonanie tzw. Roll of Honour (listy poległych), która zawierać będzie wszystkich lotników, którzy oddali życie za Warszawę, tj. Południowoafrykańczyków, Brytyjczyków, Amerykanów oraz Polaków. Poznaliśmy nowych ludzi z muzeum lotnictwa w Valhalla, którzy pomagają zweryfikować nazwiska lotników RPA. Zbyszek Dziembowski gromadzi materiały na temat pozostałych lotników. W muzeum lotnictwa, dzięki tym nowym oficerom powstała również ekspozycja poświęcona lotom.


Wszyscy z troską zadają pytanie co zrobić, aby ta miła uroczystość nie tylko przetrwała, ale rosłą w siłę? Odpowiedź na to pytanie jest oczywista: należy zainteresować młodsze pokolenie! Wnukowie pastora Jonesa ze swoją drużyną skautów corocznie biorą udział w nabożeństwie i składaniu wieńców. Dobrze, że w tym roku towarzyszyła im nasza młodzież.

Andrzej Romanowicz, wrzesień 2002

Commemoration ‘2001: Rev. Bryan D. Jones


Good morning friends — Dzień dobry

Thank you Chairman Andrzej for your words of welcome, and also for giving me the honour of yet again leading this memorial service. I have been asked to be different on this occasion so I will briefly tell you of some personal highlights from the four visit I have been privileged to make to Poland.

I do this in the hope that my comments will sharpen the focus of your thoughts and prayers when we come to stand in silence, to gratefully remember and to lay wreaths of honour.

My first visit to Poland…

…took place at rather short notice on Sunday night the 13th of August 1944. We were asked to deliver some urgently needed supplies to people we had never heard of in a faraway country, and to make sure we delivered to the correct address, we were required to fly rather low.

The route was long and zigzaged over a sea and six hostile countries — navigation aides were poor even non-existent — the weather was foul — we were heavily ladened with high mountains to cross — but our reliable four-engined Liberator B-24 J G for George — we took it in her stride and as we dropped down to the plains of Southern Poland we had no need for sophisticated navigation as the dull red glow ahead beckoned and warned us that our target was in flames.

At the controls of our aircraft that night was Bob Klette our pilot — a fine gentleman and gallant airman — Bob died in April this year and the family gave me the great honour of leading his memorial service in Somerset West. Now, as a further tribute to him I am going to read this typically modest extract from his account of our distinctly unfriendly reception in Warsaw. Bob writes:

Warsaw was unforgettable sight. Flames illuminated the buildings and streets, whilst searchlights and flak criss-crossed our roof-top run-in to the dropping zone. The noise was deafening as flak thumped against the Liberator and our guns fired back. Number two engine was hit and spluttered to a stop and then number three wasalso hit and stopped. Laying on his stomach in the nose of the aircraft, our navigator talked me into position and after our load of canisters had been dropped, we were down to 500 feet when I turned for home. Soon we were in complete darkness with no sight of an horizon, the artificial horizon and other gyro instruments had been shot away. Suddenly we felt a severe jarring and scraping under the Liberator’s belly. I tensed myself for inevitable death and took a quick look to the left and couldn’t believe my eyes. Our Lib had made a perfect belly-landing on a grass surface with practically no help from me. We had landed, it seemed, on Warsaw airport.

OK — we are now suddenly clipped of our wings and on the ground — an unfamiliar and scary experience for airman and I seem to recall the little boy inside of me wanting to cry — Hey ma — look at what these guys are doing to me! But my mother and squadron base were a long, long distance away.

Soon airfield floodlights and machine guns opened up and we scattered — running and crawling in different directions before being captured. Most unfortunately one of the our courageous gunners, Herbert Brown, was mortally hit in that crossfire.

Later that night we were thrown into a civilian gaol and next day transferred to a country house prison. I discovered Bible in my Battle dress pocket, given to me by parents when I joined Air Force. It had been overlooked in security check on take off.

About a week later we started our journey westwards to Luftwaffe Interrogation Centre in Frankfurt. Whilst passing through the city of Lodz we were put aboard streetcar crowed with civilians, I noticed young girl making her way through the passengers, until she stood in front of me and pressed money and parachute silk into my hand — the first indication that Poles are a generous and courageous people.

Second visit — July/August 1994

My wife and I travelled to Poland via London with members of the Warsaw 44 Club. On board of our aircraft were the ashes of late General Bor-Komorowski — AK Commander during the uprising. His ashes were being brought home in honour for burial with Poland’s military heros. We made many new friends and very much enjoyed the 50th Anniversary Celebrations.


Those of you that were present may recall:

— the intense heat, relieved by boy scouts supplying water;

— the precision marching of the Polish troops Guard of Honour;

— the visit to Michalin Monument built at great personal risk andcost by Bronek Kowalski to mark the spot where Jack van Eyssen’s aircraft had crashed.

On the way south to Krakow our bus stopped at Lysa Gora and those who volunteeredwere invited to make cross-country hike over rough terrain to a learing in the forest where we found a neatly kept grave surrounded by a wrought iron railing and the tombstone bore the names of our own Cpt. Gordon Laurie and crew who had been shot down at the spot.

In the quietness of that place, with only birds happily chirping nearby, I was asked to lead a short time of remembrance and thanksgiving. We noticed that a young lady had joined the party, and learnt that she was a primary school teacher who twice a year brought her class to weed the area and plant new flowers and to hear the story of brave young men who came from a far country to help Poland in her time of need.

Thank you Poland for honouring our fallen comrades with such care and dignity.

Third visit — August 1997

Three survivors — Bob Klette crew and wives present for dedication imposing plaque exit main terminal of Okecie Airport (replica in SAAF Museum Swarkops).

— Thank you Poland for this generous act by Warsaw Veterans Association.

— As I looked into the faces of those brave old men I was reminded that Poland is the nation that never surrendered but rallied to fight at every front in Europe and Africa.

Fourth visit — May/June 2001

Possibly the best, most memorable, and another demonstration of how generous our Polish friends are. Col. Dirk Nel — Commanding Officer of 31 Squadron during Warsaw uprising and I were invited to attend highly successful concert in Atheneum Theatre in Warsaw to rise funds and stimulate interest in need to refurbish Michalin Monument, which has become known as a little bit of South Africa.


Well-known artists gave time free of charge and played to packed audience including many Polish South African citizens and friends.

— Next day we attended reception with local civic authorities at Michalin, and there we were enrolled as Honoury Members of the Robert Hamilton Boy Scout Troop.

— We then flew to Krakow — a must-see-city for any visit toPoland.

— We visited the Military Cemetery in Krakow, where 50 allied airmen lie buried, surrounding lawns/gardens still trim and neat but the tombstones, having been exposed to severe weather and grime from neighbouring factory, have deteriorated and are in need of refurbishing. But there they proudly stand, row upon row, one metre tall, half metre apart, except in case of Cpt. van der Spuy’s crew, which are touching in close formation, as if symbolically saying “shoulder to shoulder together we are going into the holocaust for the rescue of Poland and the glory of the South African Air Force.” In tears, Dirk and I moved up and down the rows, reading the names and epitaphs to our former friends most of whom were in their late teens or early twenties. We noticed they came from all walks of South African life. Some were permanent force airmen, but also: lawyer, farmer, schoolmaster, SA high jump champion, a minister of religion, bank clerk. Most were university students and recent school boys, all had willingly volunteered to risk their lives for freedom, justice, liberty.

Jesus said Greater love has no-one than this — that one lay down his life for his friends.

Friends, let me read some of the messages inscribed on those thumbstones in faraway Poland:

We miss you so much dear son.

Keep me safe o God — in you I take refuge.

Vaarwel my seun — jou plug wel gedoen.

Ons is baie trots op jou.

He asked you for live — and you gave it to him length of days for ever and ever.

Under that for another colleague, merely the words Kom ek wag. And I pondered the theological significance of those three words.

Your duty nobly done. Remembered always your loved ones.

Sy plek is leeg, sy stem is stil ons sal berus, dit was God’s wil.

Before we left Andrzej suggested that I say a prayer. Built with the emotion of the occasion, I am afraid, I was not too eloquent. Sensing the situation our four Polish South African friends took hold of us in a strong arm to arm embrance as if we going down asa front row in a rugby scrum. I do recall saying that the glorious Christian hope is that death is not the end but the entry into a marvelous new life, and I quoted two verses which are cornerstones of our faith:

Eye has not seen, ear has not heard nor has it entered into the heart of man or woman, what God has prepared for those who love him.

Then that well-known promise:

For God so loved the world that he gave His only gebotten son that who so ever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

And today we add:

Lord Jesus — Thine be the glory — risen conquering son — endless in the victory — the o’er death has won.

Please allow me to make three more points.

Friends, I have felt very privileged to have 3 of my grandsons standing with me, not only to hold my papers nad give me moral support but they are here to honour the memory of the valiant role played by Polish Scouts and Guides during the uprising. I am pleased to say that our First Union Scout Troop has formed a partnership with their Polish counterparts and are in email contact. Visitors to Warsaw often ask to see the statue of the Little Insurgent, which depicts a young boy wearing a huge military helmet and carrying a gun far bigger than himself.


The invitation to 1994 50th Anniversary Celebrations came whilst my wife and I were visiting our children in Chicago. We went to Polish Embassy to apply for visas. We filled in papers, joined long queue, summonsed to consul’s office — to find great welcome. The consul cancelled all calls and offered us tea, coffee, vodka. He had been a boy scout supporting the AK on the ground whilst we were flying overhead. It is said that outside of Warsaw, the biggest concentration of Poles is to be found in Chicago. That meeting lead onto a most memorable evening spent with the PAF Veterans Association.

We were part of the crowd of over 100000 gathered in Krasinski Square for speeches and wreath laying by visiting Head of State. As the German President was speaking a sudden gasp and ripple of amazement swept over the huge crowd and we asked the Polish lady sitting in front of us what he had said. She replied I can’t believe it, he has just asked the Polish people whether they canfind it in thier heart to forgive Germany for the destruction of 85% of Warsaw.

It was dramatic and without drawing any parallels I merely suggest that is the same initiative, we so badly need today in the many trouble spots throughout the world, confession followed by forgiveness is the starting point that leads to true reconciliation. I recall the words of the late Martin Luther King: Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a permanent attitude.

Now please join me in a closing prayer:

The peace of God which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.

Rev. Bryan Jones

Commemoration ‘2001: Brig. Gen. D.E. Page

The Warsaw Concerto

The invasion of Poland by German Force in September 1939, forced a large number of Polish fighters to become partisans and operate underground until 1944. 1944 saw the Polish uprising in Warsaw — later to become the epic battle which forged strong bonds between South Africans and Polish communities that has lasted to this day.

By July 1944, the Russian Army had advanced to within a few miles of Warsaw. The partisans felt it time to rise, expecting help from Russian allies. Despite a severe shortage of weapons and ammunition, thousand of Poles attacked the Germans in Warsaw and gained control of the south-eastern sector of the city. Fearing later political problems from the Poles the Russians chose rather to sit back and watch as the German forces turned their full fury on the hapless partisans.

Call after call for supplies to be flown in by the Russians went unanswered. Frequent appeals made by Churchill were ignored by the Russians. Allied aircraft could reach Warsaw, but the range was to great for them to return to base. The Russians refused to allow Allied aircraft to land in Russians occupied-territory, refuel and return. The Russian betrayal of the Allies placed Churchill in a terrible dilemma. He had given pledge to support the Polish partisans. The only air force units who could help were those based in Italy and specifically the heavy bombers of 2nd Bomber Wing at Foggia which were under South African control.

Churchill, realising these proposed Warsaw raids would be almost suicidal for the aircrews, could not order such missions, but he asked for volunteers. Without doubt, the Polish aircrews of 205 Bomber Group all volunteered, and they were not alone. The crews of two South African squadrons volunteered. And so did crews in Royal Air Force squadrons.

Night after night, on twelve-hour round trips, the B24 Liberator bombers took off and flew the 2720 km from Italy through some of the most heavily-defended German night-fighter hotspots, to reach the battered Polish capital. There they descended to rooftop height to escape the probing searchlights and the heavy flak, and to drop the precious supplies they carried.

Between 8 August and 22 September 1944, British and Polish air squadrons, alongside 31 and 34 Squadrons of SAAF, dropped supplies to beleaguered Polish partisans fighting againstoverhelming odds in the city of Warsaw. A total of 181 sorties were attempted, with the loss of 31 B24 Liberator bomber aircraft. The loss rate of 40% (almost one man in evry two) was phenomenal. It has been debated that the sheer heroism shown by the aircrews in attempting to complete thier missions, was beyond equal. It was one of the most tragic and heroic opeartions in the SAAF history, yet it stands out among the many shining deeds in history of our Air Force.


Despite the bravery of the 2nd Bomber Wing, the uprising of the Polish partisans failed. In a matter of week they were defeated by the Germans against overhelming odds.

Why are we here today? Each has a reason. Some remember the event. Perhaps more deaply than others. Some are too young. Some were told or ordered to be here. Some were dragged here. Some are here for the beer, or even the food. We share today a sense of closeness, a sense of companionship, a camaraderie with those who gave their lives for this cause. Yet we gather today to share amongst each other camaraderie, a spirit of comradeship. Humans need to gather: in tribes, in teams, in organisations, in nations, in associations (a gaggle). We feel an experience, a need to share. This is why we maintain and foster friendship and camaraderie amongst veterans. This is why we maintain and foster friendship and camaraderie among veterans. This is why we have a Polish Combatants Group, a RAF Association, and a SAAF Association. Military veterans gather to remember friends past and present, to remember and share the good and the bad, and to give support to comrades fallen on hard times. We must never forget our promise to perpetuate the memory of and commemorate those who have given their lives in service of their countries.

We must keep our associations alive with the memory of the past, the present and the future. That is why today is important, that is why we commemorate the Warsaw Concerto. It is our heritage!

Thank you.

Brig. Gen. D.E. Page

Lotnicy RPA w Warszawie (2001)

Pastor Brian Jones i płk. Dirk Nel w Warszawie, maj/czerwiec 2001

W maju 2000 roku Komitet Obchodów Lotów nad Warszawę otrzymał paczkę korespondencji dotyczacej sprawy pomnika Lotnika w Michalinie. Pierwsze listy datowane były 22 października 1999 roku. Drużyna harcerska imienia Boba Hamiltona zaofiarowała wtedy pomoc przy utrzymaniu pomnika, pod warunkiem otrzymania regularnych środków finansowych na ten cel. Wystąpiła o pomoc do władz gminy, te z kolei przekazały prośbę do ambasady RPA. Sekretarz ambasady wystąpił do prezesa Armskoru, a ten przekazał to Stowarzyszeniu byłych pilotów RPA. Po bliższym zapoznaniu się z tematem, dwa aspekty sprawy zwróciły naszą uwagę, primo – opieka wymagałaby corocznych dotacji na odmalowanie pomnika, secundo – pieniądze przekazywano by z RPA. W związku z deprecjacją randa, sytuacja finansowa ciągle zmienia się na korzyść Polski i trudno byłoby utrzymać finansowo sytuację, gdzie uboższy kraj subsydjuje zamożniejszy. Poza tym, utrzymanie pomnika powinno być sprawą wdzięcznych Polaków. Użycie materiałów nie wymagających stałej konserwacji również wymagało rozpatrzenia. Nasze wstępne apele do Kampanii Piwowarskiej reprezentującej w Poznaniu SAB nie uzyskały pozytywnego odzewu. Sprawa wyglądała żle.

I nagle, w wyniku wizyty w BRH biznesmenów z Polski, poznałem p. Andrzeja Ludwikowskiego z Borowskich Kopalni Granitu. Ten zaś podjął się dostarczenia materiału na okładzinę pomnika w formie strzegomskiego granitu. Pani Halina Tańska z Naftobudowy w Warszawie koordynowała akcję zbiórki pieniędzy na robociznę przy pomniku. Odwiedzający RPA w lecie ubiegłego roku znany aktor p. Marian Opania uruchomił natomiast dyrekcję i kolegów teatru Ateneum w Warszawie z prośba o zorganizowanie koncertu, aby wspomóc zbiórkę pieniędzy i podziękować innym współdarczyńcom.


Termin koncertu był parokrotnie zmieniany, w końcu jednak wyznaczono go na 1 czerwca 2001 roku. Plakatowanie, prace przy sprzedaży biletów oraz obsługa sali wykonane były jako praca społeczna. Aby uświetnić ten koncert, dla którego p. ambasadorowi Śliwińskiemu udało się pozyskać patronat p. ministra Władysława Bartoszewskiego, postanowiliśmy zaprosić również oryginalnych aktorów tych wydarzeń.

Na początku mowa była o wizycie pastora Jonesa, sponsorowanej przez MSZ. Potem w wyniku poparcia uzyskanego od dra Romualda Sadowskiego z Aero Travel Tours dołączył pułkownik Dirk Nel, były dowódca dywizjonu 31, będącego częścią składową operującego we Włoszech 2 skrzydła lotnictwa RPA. Dirkie, jak go z uwielbieniem nazywają koledzy, nie był do tej pory w Polsce, a więc była towspaniała okazja podążenia w towarzystwie pastora Jonesa, śladami południowoafrykańskich memorabilii. Z przeprowadzonego wywiadu wynikło, że Dirkie zawsze “oblatywał” trasę planowanego rajdu i po zapoznaniu się z trudnościami instruował pilotów o niebezpieczeństwach trasy, wychodząc z mało stosowanego dziś założenia, że dowódca powinien doskonale wiedzieć na jakie niebezpieczeństwo wysyła swoich podwładnych. Gen. Jimmy Durant – dowódca Dirka uważał akcję pięknie nazwaną później “Warsaw Concerto” za samobójczą i nie tylko zabronił mu lecieć, ale wręcz usunął go z samolotu startującego do Warszawy. Brian Jones, który był przedtem w Warszawie conajmniej dwa razy, okazał się również dobrym przewodnikiem Dirka w wolnych chwilach.

Z uwagi na planowany strajk LOT nie otrzymaliśmy od nich całkowitego wsparcia. Nasza “wielka improwizacja” oparła się więc o dach nad głową ze śniadaniem w rządowym hotelu przygotowanym przez niezawodne MSZ oraz wsparcie Aero Travel Tours. To ostatnie, w formie transportu i opieki pani Maliny, która jest w Polsce prawą ręką dra Sadowskiego. Reszta zależała od gościnności odwiedzanych gospodarzy, osobistych układów oraz skromnego wsparcia naszych organizacji polonijnych. Ale przypuszczalnie dzięki temu brakowi pośpiechu, charakterystycznemu dla oficjalnych wizyt, była to według pastora najprzyjemniejsza podróż do Polski. Andrzej Sawa, który otrzymał zamówienie na reportaż fotograficzny od miejscowego magazynu “Flying Springbok” dzielnie nam sekundował zbierając materiały wizualne. Niestety nie dotarło do Warszawy oczekiwane towarzystwo dziennikarzy z Carte Blanche. Chcieliśmy razem z nimi zrobić polską część programu o lotach nad Warszawę. Ale mam nadzieję, że co się odwlecze to nie uciecze.

Nasi mili goście przylecieli do Warszawy samolotem Lufthansa w środę rano. Dzień ten spędzili na odpoczynku oraz spacerach w okolicach Belwederu i Łazienek. W czwartek zwiedzaliśmy Warszawę, a w szczególności Zamek Królewski, tablicę poświęconą lotnikom alianckim w kościele św. Anny oraz Stare Miasto. W piątek rano zwiedzali w towarzystwie pani Maliny i Andrzeja pałac królewski w Wilanowie.

Ja, bardzo stremowany, musiałem zjawić się na próbie w teatrze Ateneum. Na szczęście Wojtek Młynarski skwitował treść mojego planowanego wystąpienia na scenie tak: “Nie będę cię sprawdzał, ty i tak będziesz wiedział co powiedzieć, pamiętaj tylko krótko”. Dopiero teraz oglądając zapis wideo z koncertu (z moimi wpadkami) zdaję sobie sprawę, jak trudno jest powiedzieć co krótko i do rzeczy. Koncert w teatrze Ateneum “Artyści Warszawy – lotnikom RPA” był niepowtarzalnym i mistycznym wieczorem zaszczyconym obecnością min. Bartoszewskiego, min. Taylora, burmistrza Józefowa, ambasadorów Sikoze Mji, dra Śliwińskiego oraz wieluprzyjaciół z RPA i Polski.

Z uwagi na wiodącą rolę artystów teatru Ateneum nie udało się ograniczyć listy występujących do tych, którzy w RPA byli. Switowaliśmy to prostym “jeśli jeszcze nie byli, to będą”. Inni, którzy nie wystąpili, mieli swoje wcześniejsze plany lub nieprzewidziane choroby. Marian Kociniak, pomimo złamnej nogi, wystąpił w gipsie jako jeden ze “słowików Ateneum”. W bardzo miłym programie mieszającym nostalgię z humorem, a prowadzonym po mistrzowsku przez Wojtka Młynarskiego wystąpili: Jacek Borkowski, Wojciech Borkowski, Krzysztof Jaroszyński, Marian Kociniak, Krzysztof Kowalewski, Aldona Krasucka, Dorota Nowakowska, Marian Opania, Janusz Sent, Grażyna Strachota, Magda Umer, Magdalena Zawadzka i Wiktor Zborowski. Scenografia Marcina Stajewskiego. Artyści wystąpili bez honorariów. W wyniku tej inicjatywy suma 4,100 zł została zebrana i przekazana na koszty odnowienia pomnika w Michalinie. Cocktail party wydane przez dyrekcję teatru pozwoliło spędzić czas z artystami, ministrem, ambasadorami oraz dostojnymi gośćmi.


W sobotę spotkaliśmy się z harcerzami szczepu Boba Hamiltona pod pomnikiem w Michalinie, objaśniając koncept odnowy pomnika. Pastor Jones i płk. Nel otrzymali tytuły honorowych członków szczepu. Następnie udaliśmy się do siedziby władz gminnych, gdzie obejrzeliśmy zapis wideo z uroczystości pod pomnikiem w 1994 roku, tj. z okazji 50 rocznicy powstania warszawskiego. Po zakończeniu spraw oficjalnych zostaliśmy niespodziewanie zaproszeni na polskie barbecue do przemiłego domu państwa Dysińskich. Nie był tam wprawdzie podany “śledź w śmietanie – metafizyczne danie” (jak śpiewa Wojtek Młynarski) lecz polski “krupniok” z grilla wraz z kruszonikiem i śliwowicą.

Dzięki uprzejmości p. Maćka Różańskiego w niedzielę mieliśmy do dyspozycji wygodne volvo, aby tym razem udać się z wizytą na Kurpie. Głównie chodziło o pokazanie gościom ludowych obchodów i mszy “Zielone Świątki” w miejscowości Myszyniec. Ksiądz prałat Mikołajczyk – proboszcz parafii – był wzorem szlacheckiej gościnności zapraszając po mszy i kolorowej procesji (która niestety odbyła się w kościele z powodu deszczu) do suto zastawionego stołu. Faszerowany szczupak po kurpiowsku przewodził innym daniom. Rozrzewniony pastor Jones, wprawdzie obsługiwany przez młodych księży, stwierdził zachęcająco w krótkiej przemowie dziekczynnej że Bóg kocha nas wszystkich, nawet katolików. Ksiądz prałat uznał to za najlepszy dowcip i z trudem utrzymał się na krześle pękając ze śmiechu. A ja to wszystko musiałem tłumaczyć! Natomiast w drodze powrotnej nasz pastor, zachęcony wygodnym trybem życia prałata, zaczął nawet refleksyjnie nieśmiało rozważać, czy aby nie ma trochę sensu w celibacie księży katolickich, pozbawionych w ten sposób towarzystwagderającej żony.

W poniedziałek udaliśmy się na lotnisko Okęcie, aby dzięki uprzejmości LOT, zorganizowanej znów przez dra Sadowskiego, odlecieć na zwiedzanie Krakowa. Przed odlotem mieliśmy czas aby zwiedzić pamiątkową płytę ku czci lotników RPA odsłoniętą w miejscu, gdzie w 1944 roku spadł samolot nawigowany przez pastora Jonesa. Znajduje się one przy otwartym parkingu ok. 50 m od wejścia do portu lotów lokalnych w kierunku do posterunku policji. Polecam turystom z RPA zobaczenie tej tablicy przy okazji następnej wizyty na lotnisku Okęcie.

W Krakowie oczekiwał nas umówiony wcześniej i jak zwykle niezawodny Andrzej Baryłko, który zorganizował transport i przewodnictwo. Pierwszym etapem zwiedzania była wizyta na cmentarzu rakowickim, gdzie spoczywają prochy alianckich lotników, a wśród nich południowoafrykańczycy. Dla pułkownika Nela była to pierwsza okazja aby pomodlić się przy grobach ludzi, których wysłał w tę okrutną podróż. Jednym z poległych był jego serdeczny przyjaciel z lat dziecinnych. Po krótkiej przerwie na kawę w Rynku podążyliśmy z kościoła Mariackiego i Collegium Maium drogą królewską i dalej na Wawel. Brak czasu nie pozwolił na zwiedzanie wnętrz, poza dziedzińcem i katedrą. Pan Ludwikowski zaprosił nas do “Staropolskiego jadła”. Jest to już chyba trzecia knajpa w Krakowie nosząca nazwę “jadło”, jako, że są w tym mieście również restauracje promujące “polskie i chłopskie jadła”. Kuchnia godna polecenia, a w szczególności zupa – kwaśnica oraz smalec z dużą ilością wkładek.

Po obiedzie popędziliśmy na lotnisko używając różnego rodzaju skrótów, po to, aby w końcu czekać na spóźniony samolot z Wiednia do Warszawy. Wtorek 5 czerwca był ostatnim dniem pobytu naszych miłych gości w Polsce. W dniu tym poszliśmy na spacer po południowej Warszawie, zrobiliśmy małe zakupy pamiątek (replika rzeźby małego powstańca z ulicy Podwale bardzo przypadła do gustu pułkownikowi), zjedliśmy lunch, po czym odwieźliśmy gości na lotnisko Okęcie w drodze powrotnej do Johannesburga przez Frankfurt.

Andrzej Romanowicz
Notatnik Technika, nr 31, 2001

Andrzej Romanowicz: Historical Background

1944 Warsaw Air Lift — Historical Background and Novelties

August and September 1944 have poignant memories for Poles and South African airmen. By August 1, 1944, the Russians had advanced to within a few miles east of Warsaw. General “Bor” Komorowski and other leaders of the Polish underground resistance (the “Home Army”) judged the time right for rebellion against Nazi occupying forces. Stalin thought otherwise, as he had his own plans for post-war Poland. He halted his troops 15 miles east of the Vistula River within 48 hours when the Home Army decided to go into action, encouraged by previous promises of Soviet’s support.

In desperation, the Home Army appealed to Britain and America for much needed arms, amunition, and medical supplies. These could only be delivered by air-drops. Again Stalin said “Nyet”. This time to the reasonable suggestion that aircraft might land in Russian-held territory to re-fuel. The Liberators of SAAF 2 Wing — 31 and 34 Squadrons — based at Foggia in Southern Italy, and Halifaxes, flown by the RAF, whose 148 and 178 Squadrons, as well as Polish Flight No. 1586, also took part. The proposed supply*drops meant a journey of 1600 km out over heavily defended occupied territory; roof-top height approach to the dropping zones in flames of the burning city; and another 1600 km back to base — if they were lucky.

Out of 186 sorties, 92 were considered successful. That is, the Home Army were able to retrieve some of the material dropped. Thirty-one aircraft were lost — 17 on the four terrible nights of August 13-16. 69 lives of South African pilots were lost during this operation.

The Poles have long memories for their friends. To this day, flowers are laid on the graves of the airmen who did not make it; a special memorial has been placed in St Anne’s Church, Warsaw; and another built by the late Bronek Kowalski (former officer of the Polish Home Army) at Michalin where a Liberator piloted by Jack van Eyssen crashed after the supply drop, with the loss of three crew members. Those were Bob Hamilton, Leslie Mayes and Herbert Hudson.

Every year, without exemption, since 1947 a commemoration service and function is held by Polish Community in Johannesburg to honour those who fell. Initially the venue was a Cenotaph Memorial in the centre of the city. Since 1981, service is being held at the Katyn Memorial erected in memory of Polish prisoners of war who were murdered by the Soviet security forces. In 1989, monument was extended to honour South African Airmen who tookpart in the Relief Flights.

“Poland will never forget her faithful friends who went to her help in her hour of isolation and despair” — these were significant words of H.E. Stanislaw Cieniuch — first Ambassador of the truly independent Poland during the Warsaw Flights commemoration of the year 1991.

Relief Flights did not achieve its military objectives, mostly due to the political scene of post-war Europe. However, commemorations held through the years have cemented bonds of friendship between the Poles and their South African friends. SASF effort have become one of the important links in Polish struggle for independence, although it came 45 years later.


In Michalin near Warsaw there is an annual event taking place to commemorate Flights and Airmen who died there. After untimely death of Bronek Kowalski monument marking the place where they fell requires renovation. Polish artists who did visit South Africa are organising fund raising concert in the Ateneum theatre in Warsaw on the 1st of June 2001. It is entitled “Polish Artists for South African Airmen”. List of the performers is compiled of the best in Poland. Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs is most likely to take patronage of this event. Support is also given by the diplomatic corps with South African Ambassador Sikose Mji heading the list. Chief of SAAF will sent his representative. Polish businessmen are also helping to collect funds. The monument will receive maintenance free finishes throughout.

This year open air commemoration at the Michalin Memorial will take place on the 15th of August. Thanks to the effort of the people involved it should be at the renovated monument.


Andrzej Romanowicz
April 2001

Eulogy for Zygmunt Fudakowski

Chairman fo the Warsaw Flights Commemoration Committee for 30 years (1964-1994)

12.05.1915 — 5.06.2000


Born in Warsaw on the 12th of May 1915. Mother dies on the 18th of December 1915. Brought up together with her older sister Rena by Emil Waydel — maternal grandfather and the aunt Dzincia. Father Jerzy — engineer emigrated from Russia to USA, and married Leonie, de domo Krajewska a stepmother and returned to Poland during the 1920 war to take him and sister to the USA. At the age of 5 resolved not to go to America purposely contracting measles from the cousin (1st great coincidence of his life).

Matriculated in 1933 from Jan Zamoyski College in Warsaw, he attended military training at the Cavalry Training Centre in Grudziadz. In 1934 entered the Warsaw Academy of Economics & Commerce. During studies in 1936 obtained scholarship at great Britain receiving “Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English”. In summer of 1936 met Mr. Majewski — Polish Council in Cape Town and decided to write graduation paper — “Present & Future Trade Between Poland & SA”. After completion of studies applies to join foreign service and gets the job in SA — arriving in Cape Town on the 16th of November 1937 (2nd great coincidence of his life).

Enlisted in 1939 from SA to fight in the 2nd World War. Served in Battle of France in famous Gen. Maczek’s Armoured brigade (episode with Maj. Zgorzelski who never took cover). Escaped via Spain and Portugal to Glasgow, Scotland. Served in 1st Polish Armoured Division which was reorganised in Forfar, Scotland. Called to be Army ADC to the Gen. Sikorski — Prime Minister and Commander in Chief of the Polish Forces. On the 4th of July a943 Liberator carrying Gen. Sikorski crashed into the sea. Instead of Zygmunt who originally was assigned for the trip the Naval ADC Jozef Ponikiewski lost his life (3rd great coincidence of his life).

Took part in the Allied invasion of Normandy. Demobilised in 1945 left Great Britain for SA arriving again in Cape Town on the 22nd of July 1946. Started new professional career in marketing begining at Maconochie Bros for 2 years, followed for 11 years in American Muller & Phipps and finally for 12 years in Simba-Quix working as marketing director until 1978, consulting in the food industry until retirement in 1988. Problems in the family life, divorced in 1958 from first wife Sheelagh Fyfe-Jameson, havingdaughter Anna Maria (16) and Dominik (9) to look after. In 1963 married Anna Sophie Fluri of Swiss origin, widow of William von Bohlen. Lived happily for 37 years.

Have lived through incredible winds of change in Africa. Member of the Polish Ex-combatants Association, founder member and former chairman (1954-1957) of Polish Association, formerly Polish Settlers. Chairman of the Warsaw Flights Commemoration Committee for 30 years (1964-1994).

But what about the Man himself? How do I remember Zyg as we affectionately did know Him?

We met in 1971 in the old Polish Club at the Solomon Street. He always had this air of the men of the world, smartly dressed, well spoken in both languages, which I could judge, and most of all extremely pleasant. He would have made an excellent diplomat, history permitting. Always with Anna at his side, politely seating through the meetings conducted in Polish, supportive, loving, understanding. Great cook, smart lady, fantastic host. He was indeed lucky to have the woman of this calibre on his side.

Although he was proud enough not to make fuss about it, communism in Poland and Jalta betrayal deprived him of what would have been a happy ending to his military career. South Africa has, like for the most of us, made it possible to enjoy the life, which otherwise would have been flawed. As the chairman of the Warsaw Flights Commemoration Committee he did an excellent job. His military upbringing was helping him to manage commemorations with unsurpassed excellence.

Unfortunately, deadly disease took its root. He did cling to live for another 2 years, mostly to be there as support for ailing Anna. Our thoughts are with Anna, Dominik and Anna Maria — his closest relatives.

May good Lord accept him into the kingdom for the well earned rest.

Andrzej Romanowicz