Witold "Tolo" Lokuciewski was born in Russia of Polish parentage. He joined the Polish Air Force in 1936, graduating in 1938 and being posted to 112 Eskadra. Here he made several claims in September 1939, before escaping via Rumania to France. During the 1940 campaign he claimed a further victory, and then made his way to England. Joining 303 Squadron, he saw considerable action with the unit during 1940/41. He was promoted tot flight commander on November 23thd 1941, but on 13 March 1942 was shot down and became a PoW. After his capture by the Germans, he was first sent to a hospital in Saint-Omer, where he underwent surgery to recover the injuries sustained by his left leg, and not long after, was transferred to a hospital in Germany. His final destination was to a Prisoner-of-War camp called Stalag Luft III, near Sagan, an area of Poland taken over by the Germany. At the time of his arrival, his inmates, most of them being Allied airmen were already planning, what would later be known as "the Great Escape." Lokuciewski soon joined them.
In 1943, Lokuciewski's first attempt to liberty was thwarted by the Germans. He, and several other airmen managed to get out of the camp, and board a train, but was arrested by the Gestapo at the next station. When he returned, he joined in with the others to planning "the Great Escape." It involved a huge number of prisoners and so, in the initial breakout on March 1944, he was left behind. Turns out, he was lucky, 50 of the 78 prisoners who escaped were quickly captured and shot.
Released after the war, credited with 9 enemy planes destroyed, 1 shared destroyed and 4 probableshe undertook a refresher flying course at Andrews Field in September 1945, and then rejoined 303 Squadron, becoming commanding officer in February 1946, until the unit was disbanded in December of that year. Returning to Poland he was imprisoned for five years by the Communists, subsequently working as a taxi driver in Warsaw. Fully rehabilitated, he was allowed to rejoin the Polish Air Force in 1957, rising to senior rank. During the period 1969-72 he was Military, Naval and Air attaché.
Witold Lokuciewski died on April 17thd, 1990 in Warschau, aged 73 years.
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