Group Captain Adam Kropinski, VM, KWx5, DFC
Article about: Recently I had the pleasure of meeting the son of Group Captain Adam Kropinski, VM, KWx5, DFC of the No. 300 Bomber Squadron. While walking the aisles of our local Historic Arms club’s month
Group Captain Adam Kropinski, VM, KWx5, DFC
Recently I had the pleasure of meeting the son of Group Captain Adam Kropinski, VM, KWx5, DFC of the No. 300 Bomber Squadron. While walking the aisles of our local Historic Arms club’s monthly militaria swap meet one of the vendors and a fellow club member alerted me to someone who was searching for a missing MiD document belonging to his late father. He had put out a flyer with the particulars of his search, which I was handed:
I contacted Chris to discuss his search and offer any assistance I could. It turns out that one of the two MiD documents had escaped the families possession and he suspected that it may still be located in the Vancouver area. I would ask that anyone that may be aware of this document to please contact me via the forum and I will give them contact information on how to reach Chris directly.
Living within an hour of each other we arranged a meeting during which I had the privilege of examining his father’s decorations along with an unexpected artifact that I would not associate with a WW2 pilot, much less one that was intended for use, if only briefly, as a weapon of war in the late summer of 1940.
The story behind this primitive medieval looking relic was found in this small entry contained in the 1949 book Destiny Can Wait: The Polish Air Force in the Second World War.
An urgent order was received during the night of l4th/l5th August  holding up the issue of leave passes. Trenches were dug for machine-gun positions. Everybody supposed the German invasion was expected at any moment. Machine guns were transferred from the bombers to ground emplacements and manned by mechanics. The flying personnel felt as defenceless as babies: all they could find in the armoury were what looked like medieval maces - oak clubs, about two feet long, bearing an iron ferrule fitted with fearsome spikes. Nobody knew just how to use this far from modem weapon - it appeared the manual had not yet been issued. The alert was called off at 03.30 hrs. and a two-hour state of readiness was proclaimed.
Based on the date of the incident the location was most likely RAF Station Bramcote which is where the No. 300 Bomber Squadron was situated at that time. This weapon appears to be a variation of a trench club, which was used during nighttime trench raiding expeditions during WW1.
So it appears that in the rush to prepare for an imminent German invasion the Polish pilots hastily equipped themselves with these relics of the Great War. Kropinski held onto this souvenir and it was remarkable to handle it and to know that it has survived within his WW2 items to the present day.
Lastly, here is a brief bio and pictures of W/Cdr Kropinski’s decorations – both from his prewar service in the Polish Army and then from his service in the Polish Air Force alongside the RAF during WW2.
Adam Bolesław Kropinski (1900-1982) first military service was as a bombardier in the Hungarian Army before the re-birth of Poland in 1918. Late that year he volunteered to fight with the Poles for the defence of Przemyśl, and later as a military professional he fought at the Ukrainians again at Lwow. For these he was awarded the Gwiazdą Przemyśla [Star of Przemyśl] and “Orlęta” badge respectively. Shortly thereafter he received his officer promotion and was transferred to Gen. Stanisław Bułak-Bałachowicz’s staff as an intelligence officer. He participated in the 1920 Polish-Bolshevik War.
Towards the mid 1920’s he joined the Polish air force qualifying as a pilot in 1926. He remained in the air force until the invasion of Poland in 1939. Following the September Campaign he made his way to the United Kingdom via the French L'Armée de l'Air. At the time he was the senior officer (Major or Squadron Leader) in the first group of Polish airmen from France to be accepted by the British, arriving at RAF Eastchurch in early December 1939. He was promoted to Wing Commander in charge of the 300 Bomber Squadron. Kropinski was awarded the Virtuti Militari (1943), along three awards of the Cross of Valour, the DFC, and mentioned in dispatches twice. When the war ended he was a Group Captain and then served as head of the Polish Military Mission to the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force in Paris.
(Many thanks to Chris Kropinski for these scans).
Regards, and Happy New Year to you all!
Last edited by A.J. Zawadzki; 12-31-2012 at 09:42 PM.
All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of my own and should not be mistaken for medical and/or legal advice.
"Tomorrow hopes we have learned something from yesterday." - John Wayne
Re: Group Captain Adam Kropinski, VM, KWx5, DFC
What a amazing service and a very unique medal group...
Thank you for posting this!!!
In US M1 steel helmet forum
In Imperial Germany and Austro-Hungary
In Soldbuch, Wehrpaß, Ausweis, etc