No 316 Sqdn main events
Feb 22. By the directive from Feb 15th, the 316 was Squadron formed at RAF Pembrey. It was headed by the British S/Ldr Donovan and S/Ldr Frey, the squadron’s first Polish commander. With him to Pembrey came F/Lt Baranski, F/O Gabszewicz and F/O Sawicz, who assisted Frey in organizing the unit.
Feb 28. Further pilots arrivals to Pembrey: F/O Mickiewicz, P/O Kozlowski, P/O Nosowicz, Sgt Gadus and Sgt Mudry.
Mar 25. With the complement of 23 pilots, squadron became operational and commenced patrol duty.
Apr 1. During the evening patrol over a convoy sailing through the Bristol Channel, the section led by F/O Gabszewicz encountered three He111s. Poles shot down one of the German bombers near Linney Head and F/O Gabszewicz (Hurricane I, V7000) with P/O Anders shared the kill. It was the first squadron's victory. Read more.
Apr 9. While patrolling over convoy the section led by F/O Sawicz intercepted a lone He111, which was gunned down by the leader. German bomber dropped two bombs off target. Its rear gunner was killed while the rest of the crew bailed out and became POWs.
Apr 24. The Polish Air Force’s color was raised for the first time at RAF Pembrey.
Apr 26. The squadron continued intensive training, which included formation flying, dogfights and ground targets strafing.
May 17. 316’s pilots patrolled over convoys. F/Lt Wilczewski was forced landed his a/c in a little town Llanelly. He crashed his plane after landing on cricket field. Pilot came out of it without a scratch what was witnessed by the local team, which enthusiastically carried the Pole to the pub. Once there he was pronounced the Honorary Member of the Llanelly Cricket Club. This incident Wilczewski paid with a massive handover.
May 20. Air Vice-Marshal Sholto Douglas visited the Poles. In the squadron’s ORB he wrote: "Good luck to No 316 Squadron, and a speedy victory for Poland." In May, to the squadron came Sgt Kolecki and Sgt Borusiewicz.
June 2. At 10:20 a.m. P/O Bohdan Anders flew into a balloon barrage near Newport, and was killed crashing his aircraft.
June 10. The 10th Group Commander Air Vice-Marshal Quintin Brand visited the squadron on the occasion of awarding F/O Nowierski with the DFC for his part in the Battle of Britain. In the squadron’s ORB he wrote: "I wish No 316 Squadron speedy victory and safe landings. It is very gratifying to me to have such a keen Squadron in my Group."
June 13. P/O Grzech and Sgt Gottowt collided during a training dogfight. Grzech bailed out. Gottowt landed a damaged a/c.
June 18.The squadron moved to RAF Coelrne.
July 3. Pilots of the 316 Squadron flew operational sorties from airfield at Exeter.
July 5. F/O Gabszewicz took command of the Flight "A".
July 7. Pilots of the 316 Squadron flew operational sorties from airfield at Wermell. P/O Gozdecki’s aircraft was damaged when its landing gear closed during taxiing for a takeoff. Pilot was unharmed and returned to Colerne the next day, after repairs, which included a new airscrew.
July 9. Squadron stayed in readiness at Ibsley airfield.
July 10. After mid-landing at Friston, the Poles flew a close escort to Bleinhaims over to Le Havre. The mission -first for the squadron over continent - lasted 90 min.
July 14. Squadron scrambled for an interception over the Bristol Channel. After half-an-hour, Poles were called back to airfield except P/O Klawe’s section, which after 70 min of patrolling spotted and attacked a lone He111. After making several passes at the Heinkel Poles disengaged because of a lack of fuel. The section was credited with one bomber probable.
July 24. During the escort mission over Brest - bombers went for German battle-cruisers Sharnhorst and Gneisenau - squadron’s pilots fought with 3 Bf109s. Some 20 miles N of S/Ldr Frey scored one Bf109 destroyed while F/O Gabszewicz (Z3573) was credited with a probable. Read more.
Aug 2. The squadron moved to RAF Church Stanton and became a part of the 2 Polish Fighter Wing, which duties were primarily to defend the south coast ports and the city of Exeter by day. The same area by night (or when the weather by day was unsuitable for day fighters) was defended by No. 307 (Polish) Squadron.
Aug 10. S/Ldr Frey was rested in Exeter, and F/Lt Wilczewski took over the unit’s command, being replaced by F/O Gabszewicz as a Flight B commander.
Aug 15. At that day, the 316th squadron's flying personnel was formed by following pilots:
Aug 28. During air patrol over a convoy, P/O Gozdecki KIA collided with P/O Szalewicz. Gozdecki perished in the sea and Szalewicz managed to nurse badly damaged aircraft to the base.
Sep 14. From the readiness at the airstrip near Bolt Head, one section of 316 Squadron was scrambled to intercept bomb-carrying Bf109s. Read more.
Oct 1. Flying from Tauton to Church Staton, Sgt Gadus KAS was killed in the air accident.
Oct 13. The 316 Squadron received its first Spitfire Mk.II, no. P7738.
Oct 27. Flying personnel moved to the nearby villa in Trenton, which the Station’s C/O rented from the owner trying to improve pilots’ living conditions.
Nov 3. The squadron’s commander reports his unit fully operational on Spitfire Mk.VB.
Nov 8. Circus 39. Take off at 11:05 a.m. Escort mission over Northolt - Manston - Dunkierka - Lille - Dunkierka - Northolt.The 316 Sqn flew as a part of the 2 Polish Fighter Wing. Before the mission reached Lille, 316th was attacked by some Me-109s; British Spitfire wing failed to take its place as a top cover. F/Lt Wilczewski was shot down and wounded in that skirmish. He became a POW. F/Lt Gabszewicz took over the command. F/O Sawicz and F/O Klawe became commanders of Flight A and B respectively.
Nov 11. Some 316's pilots were decorated in the No. 2 Polish Fighter Wing HQ. F/O Nowierski was awarded Virtuti Militari 5th Class, while Gabszewicz, Rychlicki and Sawicz received Polish Cross of Valour.
Nov 26. The second, and unexpected visit of Air Marshal Sholto Douglas to the squadron.
Dec 11. 316 Squadron moved to RAF Northolt.
Dec 15. The 316 Squadron flying personnel:
The 316 Squadron ended the year 1941 with the score of 3 enemy’s a/c destroyed and two probable.