Canadian tells of his links to Coningsby

A fascinating insight has shown how far Coningsby has reach – including thousands of miles across the pond.

Kazimierz Czerny-Holownia, a navigator with RAF Polish Squadrons 300 and 304.
Kazimierz Czerny-Holownia, a navigator with RAF Polish Squadrons 300 and 304.

George Czerny-Holownia is a retired gentleman who lives in Ontario, Canada and has been doing endless research into his late father, Kazimierz, who was a navigator with 300 and 304 Polish Squadrons of the RAF during the Second World War.

During his research, he discovered that his father, Kazimierz, escaped to England from Poland during the war and survived 30 operational flights, which ranged from Foret de Nieppe to Stettin and LeHavre to Stuttgart. Some of his other bombing flights included Dusseldorf, Dortmund and Essen.

His father died on December 20, 1949, when the Mosquito bomber in which he was flying a training mission, crashed near Coleby Heath.

Local men David Harrigan and Brian Riley placed flowers and a banner at George's fathers' grave at RAF Coningsby.

At the time, George and his mother Sofia lived in Rougham, near Bury St. Edmunds, and she remarried and moved her family – George, his brother Thaddeus and her new husband Jerzy – to Canada in 1955.

George explained: "My mother never talked about my father's death, or where he was buried. After she died, I started a search because I had inherited my father's RAF logbook which lists information about him, including his service number, and some photographs which show him.”

George wrote to the Royal Air Force and asked if they had any information on his father's grave, and within a couple of days, he received an email from the RAF saying that his father was buried in Coningsby and that a photographer would take a headstone photo for him – much to his delight – and he flew straight to London and took the train to Sleaford.

He then called John Green, who came from Sleaford but was living in Ottawa, asking how to get to Coningsby and within minutes, John called a friend, Peter Leonard, in Sleaford and made arrangements for Peter to meet George and take him to Coningsby.

Kazimierz Czerny-Holownia.

George said: “He took me to my father Kazimierz's grave. The cemetery at RAF Coningsby is extremely well kept. I salute those who look after the cemetery.

"Someday, I hope to return there and once again pay my respects at his headstone.”

A spokesman for RAF Coningsby said: ““Kazimierz Czerny-Holownia was one of that incredibly brave legion of Polish airmen who came to this country during World War Two to fight alongside personnel from the other allied nations, completing many missions flying against targets in Nazi-Germany.

"Post war he stayed in the UK and sadly lost his life flying in a Royal Air Force Mosquito in 1949.

George Czerny-Holownia visiting his father's grave.

"The debt of gratitude we owe to Kazimierz and his colleagues, particularly in our thoughts as we approach the Remembrance period, and of course which is heightened by the presence of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight here at Coningsby, is one that we are continually aware of.”

George showing his father's logbook to Chris Peters' class during the Zoom session.