Sergeant Tadeusz Andruszków
Tadeusz Andruszków was born on 18 November 1920 in Lwów (now Lviv, Ukraine). Andruszków joined the 'Air Force Non-Commisioned Officers School for Minors' at Bydgoszcz in 1936. He graduated in 1939 as a fighter pilot.
He was subsequently evacuated to Romania in mid-September 1939 and moved on to France. After the fall of France, he was evacuated to Britain, where he arrived on 23 June 1940. After a brief spell of training, he was posted to No. 303 (Kościuszko) Squadron on 23 August 1940, a week before the Squadron became operational.
On 15 September 1940 (now known as Battle of Britain Day), Andruszków had an eventful day. During the morning raid, he shared a victory with a colleague in No. 303 Squadron.
He stated the following in a Combat Report from 15 September 1940:
"While returning to Northolt flying as Red 2 with Sgt. M I Wojciechowski we saw a Do.215 lower and to our right; we both attacked and watched him fall in flames to the ground."
Later that day at 14:51, Andruszków was shot down in Hurricane P3939, over Dartford in Kent, but bailed out unhurt.1
On 26 September 1940, King George VI visited Andruszków's quadron at RAF Northolt. The King had greeted the pilots and witnessed the squadron being scrambled and taking off.
The next day, on 27 September 1940 No. 303's Operational Record Book stated the following:
"11 Hurricanes left Northolt at 09:00 hours. 303 Squadron working with No. 1 Canadian Squadron were sent out and encountered the enemy in the Horsham area at 15,000 feet. The enemy consisted of 30 He111 protected by 50 to 60 Me109s."2
This was to prove a tragic day for No. 303 Squadron. three pilots were shot down in quick succession. Pilot Officer Walerian Żak was shot down at 09:52 but survived, despite bad burns. Andruszków and Pilot Officer Ludwik Paszkiewicz were both shot down simultaneously at 09:55. They both were killed in the air. Andruszków's Hurricane crashed at Holywych Farm in Cowden.
At just 19 years old, Andruszków was the youngest pilot in No.303 Squadron to be killed during the Battle of Britain. He was also one of the youngest in the entire Royal Air Force to lose his life.
The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight have dedicated a Hurricane to Andruszków and his colleagues in the squadron who also flew that particular aircraft, marking it as Hawker Hurricane I V6665 RF-J.
In his memoirs of the Second World War, Prime Minister Winston Churchill declared that:
"The heavy losses of the enemy make 27 September rank with 15 September and 15 August, as the third great and victorious day of the Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain."3
1 The Battle of Britain, a Northolt Perspective p.34
2 Day 80 - 27 September 1940 | Battle of Britain Day by Day (wordpress.com)
3 "Summer for Heroes" Wood and Dempster, p.366