Flight Sergeant Władysław Kołek (P/783150) served in the Polish Air Force and the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. He was born on 2nd July 1917 in Mysłowice Śląskie, Poland.
He died on 11th September 1943 aged 26 years old while serving in R.A.F. 315 (City of Deblin) Squadron based at Ballyhalbert Airfield, Co. Down. He had arrived to the Squadron from an Operational Training Unit only 2 days before. Kołek was 1 of 3 Polish Pilots to take off from the airfield that day on a formation training flight that would end in tragedy.
Dark Day for R.A.F. 315 Squadron
After becoming separated in bad weather, all 3 Mark V Spitfires came down in locations in Co. Antrim. Sergeant Stanislaw Grondowski in the lead fighter plane, Supermarine Spitfire W3427 PK-J fatally crashed near Plantation Road, Lisburn, Co. Antrim. He was the most experienced of the 3 Pilots, while the others were under training. Sergeant Egon Zygmund in Supermarine Spitfire AR338 PK-P crash-landed near Glengormley, Co. Antrim, and escaped with injuries after regaining consciousness, making his way to a local R.U.C. Station.
The third plane, Supermarine Spitfire BL469 PK-F, flown by Flight Sergeant Kołek came down at Ballyutoag Hill, Flush Road, Co. Antrim. He had almost made it to the runway of Nutts Corner Airfield, Co. Antrim but came down on high ground and died as a result of the incident.
Władysław Kołek’s grave is in Grave 39 of Mount St. Joseph Churchyard, Ballycran Beg, Co. Down. He lies next to fellow Pole Stanislaw Grondowski. Both funeral services took place on 14th September 1943 and included a High Mass at Ballyhalbert Airfield, Co. Down.