Pilot Officer (Pilot) Wlodzimierz Michal Czech Samolinski
Wlodzimierz Michal Czech Samolinski was born in Poland in October 1916 and after school, joined the Polish Air Force where he conducted his training at Deblin. He then joined 122 Fighter Squadron in October 1938 as a 2nd Lieutenant.
Following the invasion of Poland, he escaped to Romania with other Polish airmen, however, unlike many, he made his way to England where he was commissioned into the RAF on 24 January 1940.
After processing into the RAF through the centre at Blackpool, he was sent to No.18 (Polish) Operational Training Unit at Hucknall for assessment using Fairey Battles, moving then to No.6 Operational Training Unit at Sutton Bridge for conversion to Hurricanes on 23rd June 1940.
He was posted to No.253 Squadron at Kirton-in-Lindsey on 16 July, with the rank of Pilot Officer, a rank below that which he held in the Polish Air Force.
In common with the rest of No.253 Squadron, Samolinski carried out sector patrols both day and night whilst at Turnhouse and flew his Hurricane south to Kenley on 29 August.
At Kenley, No.253 were extremely busy. The intensity of the action can be gauged by the fact that Samolinski flew 39 combat sorties during his month at Kenley, with 7 days of non-flying included. Samolinski claimed Me.110s destroyed on 30 August and 4 September plus another Me.110 damaged on 30 August. On these sorties he was flying as “Blue 2” to Acting Flight Lieutenant Cambridge.
On 26th September the Squadron diary notes:
“Pilot Officer M Samolinski (Polish Officer) who was in company with Acting Squadron Leader Edge failed to return and was last seen in combat over the sea.
It is believed that Samolinski accidentally shot down Gerald Edge who crossed his line of fire whilst Samolinski was in pursuit of an enemy aircraft. Fortunately, Edge managed to bale out of his aircraft and was picked up by a fishing boat, although his injuries put him out of action until December 1940 and prompted a change of commanding officer for 253 – the third during their time at Kenley.
Samolinski wasn’t so fortunate. No trace of him was ever found. He is commemorated on the Polish Air Force Memorial at Northolt and was awarded the Virtuti Militari (5th Class), which was gazetted in February 1941.
Rest in peace Sir and thank you for your service.