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Raf polish squadron veteran information needed

Article about: My Mom graduated from High School in 1942. In her yearbook, I found inscriptions from two members of the Polish Squadrons assigned to the RAF. Does anyone have a roster that would help me id

  1. #1
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    Default Raf polish squadron veteran information needed

    My Mom graduated from High School in 1942. In her yearbook, I found inscriptions from two members of the Polish Squadrons assigned to the RAF. Does anyone have a roster that would help me identify these men and if they survived? Also, does anyone know why two Polish aviators would be in the mid-western portion of the United States in 1942? Helping to raise money? Training at Baer Field? This may be a coincidence, but Baer Field is located in Fort Wayne, Indiana and is named after Paul Baer, who besides being a WWI ace, helped organize the Kosciuszko Squadron in 1919.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Raf polish squadron veteran information needed

    Well, these two will never show up on any roster. They were two kids posing as vets! I found an article in a 1942 issue of Time magazine that identifies these two "heroes". The following is an excerpt from that article.

    "Into U.S.O. fund headquarters in Logansport, Ind., fortnight ago, came two hot, weary young Americans wearing the blue-grey uniform of the R.A.F. One of them, decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross, carried a barracks bag; the other, badly in need of a shave, had only his empty pipe for duffle. Could they get a meal?

    Shyly they told their story. They were both on convalescent leave, hitchhiking across the country to visit their parents in San Diego, Calif. They had such short leave they hadn't waited for the British consul to arrange transportation. USOers, fascinated, pressed them for details.

    Two in a Boat. While on reconnaissance patrol a few weeks before, they said, 200 miles off the coast of England, they were attacked by six German fighters. After shooting down two Germans, their plane, radio dead, was forced into the sea. They spent the next 16 days on a rubber life raft, stretching out five days' emergency rations by mixing canned milk and water together. Finally they saw a vessel, a U.S. ship which was part of a convoy. The boy with the empty pipe said he jerked a thumb at the boat's crew, asked ''Ride, buddy?" The crew, he said, grinned, and said, "Sure. Hop in."

    In New York they got in touch with the British consul. The boys had taken a cattle boat to England to enlist in the R.A.F. soon after the war began. They had flown over Germany, Poland, France and Libya. One, a gunner, said he had shot down 56 enemy planes; his friend had shot down more than that. Both deprecated the idea that these were exceptional scores.

    Toast of the Town. Hospitable Logansport went into a tailspin over its newfound heroes. First they were sent to a local restaurant with a blanket order for all they could eat. The Deputy Prosecutor, Kenesaw M. Landis II (nephew of the baseball commissioner), who had questioned them, took them home with him. The Elks gave a dance in their honor. Members of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Elks, Eagles, Knights of Columbus and Rotary Club got together to plan a giant shindig.

    Every minute was mapped out in entertainment for them, except Sunday afternoon, when the boys said, "We'd like to meet some girls." That was being swiftly arranged.



    The "gunner," Kelly Albert, was a Detroit boy who had once worked for Ford, had enlisted in the Canadian tank corps, whence he had been AWOL since April. The "sergeant pilot," Robert Poynter, another Detroit boy, had worked for Hudson, had enlisted in Canada in the Polish armed forces in November 1941, but had been taken home by his parents as underage. On his 20th birthday he enlisted again, was honorably discharged. He started to bum around, met Albert. "We had to say something," said "Gunner" Albert.

    Their uniforms were stripped from them; but they had broken no laws. Logansport laughed it off. Kindly Kenesaw Landis gave Poynter a pair of pants, bought Albert a $3 second-hand suit. Both promised to enlist in the army.

    "If you do come back as members of the American forces," said Landis, "the town will be glad to see you. Maybe you'll get a chance to make your speech after all.""

  3. #3

    Default Re: Raf polish squadron veteran information needed

    What a story! I would not even had guessed that!

    Very interesting.

    Cheers, Ade.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Raf polish squadron veteran information needed

    Here is a bit of a follow-up. I looked for more inforamtion on these two and found the follwoing newsarticle:

    Billings Gazette




    Saturday, October 23, 1943



    R A F Flyers Make Good on Exploits



    Logansport, Ind



    Last year Robert Poynter, 19, Kelly Albert, 23, pretended they were R A F flyers and described their exploits before civic clubs in several cities until they were exposed here Cass County. Prosecutor Kenesaw Landis did not prosecute deciding give them a chance to make good their imaginative forays. On Friday Landis received word that Poynter and Albert are on active duty overseas Poynter in the tank corps and Albert in the American armored forces


    Nice to see that they did the right thing!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Raf polish squadron veteran information needed

    Quote by BEAST View Post
    Paul Baer, who besides being a WWI ace, helped organize the Kosciuszko Squadron in 1919.
    Are you sure it was the Kosciuszko Squadron? My understanding is that the Kosciuszko Squadron was created by Merian C. Cooper who offered his services to Head of State, "First Marshal" Piłsudski in Poland in part thanks for Kosciuszko's assistance during the American war of Independence and Merian Cooper's family had historical friendly contacts with Kosciuszko.

    Baer is credited with trying to form the "Pulaski Squadron" and from wikipedia:

    "...In late 1919, he became a member of the American Flying Club and tried to raise a squadron of fifteen American aviation combat veterans to form a "Pulaski Squadron" to support the Polish drive for independence. Baer foresaw his role as commanding the unit with the rank of major. He claimed to have Paderewski's support for his efforts."

    I had not heard about Baer and his initiative to help the Poles fight against the Bolsheviks so thank you for posting

    Did Baer's "Pulaski Squadron" ever make it into combat in Poland?

    A terrific book by one of the Kosciuszko pilots published in 1933: Wings over Poland.: the story of the 7th (Kosciuszko) Squadron of the Polish Air Service, 1919, 1920,1921 By Kenneth Malcolm Murray.
    Last edited by StefanM; 05-11-2013 at 11:13 AM.
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Raf polish squadron veteran information needed

    You are absolutely correct! It was Paderewski to whom Baer offered his services. There is a brief article in the NY Times about Baer trying to recruit a squadron in which it states that he has Paderewski's support. That's what I get for writing from memory and not checking my sources!

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