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Pialucha, Jozef

Date of birth:
January 15th, 1916 (Szpaki, Poland)
Date of death:
September 2nd, 1944
Buried on:
Polish War Graves Belgrade
Plot: 6. Row: A. Grave: 3-8.
Service number:
781051
Nationality:
Polish

Biography

During WW2 the CGM (Flying) only was awarded twice to a non-British person and Pialucha was the only Polish airmen being decorated with this award.

At a later stage Sergeant Pialucha was posted to 1586 (Polish) Special Duties Squadron, being involved in dropping arms and supplies to partisan units in Italy, Poland and the Balkan. On the night of 1/2 September 1944 his Halifax BB389 was hit by flak over Sombor and crashed just outside Belgrade with only the navigator managed to bale out, evading being captured for three days. Pialucha was burried in the Belgrade Cemetery.

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Sergeant
Unit:
No. 300 (Masovian) Squadron, Royal Air Force
"Sergeant Pialucha was flight engineer in a Lancaster bomber, piloted by Flight Sergeant Stepian, ordered to attack the German strongholds at Emieville. On reaching the target, and on the bombing run, they were hit by flak which caused the bombing installation to become unserviceable, and they were therefore unable to release the bombs. Flight Sergeant Zentar, the rear gunner, was manoeuvring his turret when the flak hit and the blast blew his turret beyond its normal limits, ripping open the steel doors behind him. He was sucked out of the turret only saved from falling by his left foot which was trapped in the doorway. Sergeant Pialucha and Flight Sergeant Derewienko went to his aid but were unable to pull him back into the aircraft. As they attempted the rescue, Flight Sergeant Zentars foot began to slip from his trapped shoe as the lace began to snap. Derewienko grabbed his trousers which also began to rip. Pialucha disregarding his own safety climbed through the opening between the turret and the aircraft and holding onto the aircraft with one hand, succeeded in getting a loop of rope around Flight Sergeant Zentars body to prevent him falling, the aircraft was at this point now over the English Channel. The rope was then secured to the turret seat and Pialucha climbed back inside the aircraft and returned to his duties, assisting the pilot to get the damaged aircraft back to England. the aircraft landed at Tangmere, with a full bomb load, and Flight Sergeant Zentar, who had to swing from side to side during the landing to avoid hitting the runway with his head, was finally rescued. There is no doubt that had Pialucha not secured the rope around Zentar he would have fallen to his death."
Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (CGM)

Sources

Photo