Polish Air Force Military Grave at St. Joseph’s Graveyard, Glenavy

The Commonwealth War Graves plot of Polish Air Force pilot Sergeant Franciszek Prętkiewicz is at St. Joseph's Graveyard, Glenavy, Co. Antrim.

Franciszek Pretkiewicz

Sergeant Franciszek Pretkiewicz - [Plot 4, West Side, Grave 19]. Fatally crashed on the 30th November 1940 near Cushendall.

Sergeant Franciszek Pretkiewicz was born on the 9th July 1914 in Niszczewice near Inowroclaw Poland.

During the 1939 September campaign in Poland, Sgt. Pretkiewicz was flying with the ‘Lwowski’ III Fighter Squadron of the 6th Air Regiment in which he accounted for one individual and one shared victory. After reaching Britain he first ended up in the Polish 307 “City of Lwow” Squadron on the 23rd September 1940, from which he was sent to the School of Army Cooperation in Old Sarum. On the 11th October 1940 Pretkiewicz was assigned to No. 245 RAF Squadron at RAF Aldergrove in Northern Ireland. During his time at RAF Aldergrove, he had made only four operational sorties with this Squadron.

On 30th November 1940 Sergeant Pretkiewicz was airborne from RAF Aldergrove on an exercise when the engine of his Hurricane I R4079 fighter seized. Pretkiewicz tried to jump from his diving aircraft and bail out, but unfortunately his parachute got caught around the tail of his Hurricane, resulting in his aircraft spinning out of control and hitting the ground at high speed near Cushendall, County Antrim.

The Merlin engine of his wrecked aircraft was recovered from the wreck site more than 40 years after the tragedy and is now part of the Ulster Aviation Society Collection.

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