Polish Air Force Military Graves at Mount St. Joseph Roman Catholic Graveyard

The Commonwealth War Graves plots of three Polish airmen who served in the Royal Air Force can be found in Mount St. Joseph Cemetery in Ballycranbeg, Co. Down.

Jerzy Ryszard Tuczemski

Pilot Officer Jerzy Ryszard Tuczemski (24 years old) [Grave 38] Fatally crashed on the 22nd August 1943 in Craigs Wood, Rasharkin.

Born in Warsaw, Poland on 7th April 1919. After arriving in Britain, Tuczemski received elementary pilot training which allowed him to join the 1605 Flight. He was moved to join the Polish No. 315 Squadron at RAF Ballyhalbert on 20th July 1943. As a new addition to the squadron, he immediately began his training.

Less than six weeks after arrival, on 22nd August 1943 Pilot Officer Tuczemski took off from RAF Ballyhalbert in his Spitfire VB AB245 PK-L8 on a navigation training sortie. He was taking part in a low flying practice over Country Armagh when his aircraft was observed experiencing engine trouble prior to flying into the ground at Craigs Wood, Long Mountain, near Rasharking, Co. Antrim. He was killed instantly.

The body of Pilot Officer Tuczemski was returned to RAF Ballyhalbert and buried with full military honours at Mount St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Graveyard in Ballycranbeg.

Władysław Kołek

Flight Sergeant Władysław Kołek [Grave 39] Flight Sergeant Kołek was just 26 years old and serving in the 315 Squadron when he fatally crashed on the 11th September 1943 at Flush Road, near Mallusk.

Flight Sergeant Kołek was born on 2nd July 1917 in Mysłowice Śląskie in Poland. While in Great Britain, he received elementary pilot training as well as air gunner training. He arrived at RAF Ballyhalbert on 9th September 1943.

On the 11th September 1943, Flight Sergeant Kołek was on a training sortie in a formation of three led by Warrant Officer Stanisław Grondowski over Co Antrim in very bad weather conditions. Things started to turn badly when the formation got lost in the hills surrounding Belfast. His Spitfire BL469 PK-F crashed into a farmhouse on Flush Road near Mallusk killing Flight Sergeant Kołek instantly.

Stanisław Grondowski

Warrant Officer Stanisław Grondowski [Grave 40] Fatally crashed on the 11th September 1943 near Plantation House, Lisburn.

Warrant Officer Stanisław Grondowski was born on 11th April 1909 in Adruszówka, Poland (now part of Ukraine). Before the Second World War Grondowski was a pilot instructor at the Officer Air Cadets School ‘Szkoła Orląt’ in Dęblin, Poland. From September 1940 he joined the Polish No. 307 ‘City of Lwów’ Night Fighter Squadron in which on 28th October he crashed his aircraft during landing, but survived.

From 1941, Grondowski was serving in the Polish Military Unit in Takoradi in Africa, as a transport pilot. After taking part in the aircraft hunting training he was signed to RAF No. 112 Squadron and was operational in Africa. In 1942 the pilot was flying with 58 Operational Training Unit in the UK and in February 1943 Grondowski volunteered to join the Polish No. 315 Squadron.

On the 14th August 1943 was decorated with the Cross of Valor by the Commander-in-Chief of Polish Armed Forces, Generał Kazimierz Sosnkowski, who was visiting RAF Ballyhalbert. On the 11th September 1943, Warrant Officer Grondowski was the leading pilot in a formation of three during a training sortie over Co. Antrim in very bad weather conditions. After losing orientation, his Spitfire VB W3427 PK-J crashed near Plantation House, Lisburn.

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