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Thread: Michael Joseph Kobierski

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    Default Michael Joseph Kobierski

    Obituaries are sometimes very informative but some are bearers of family mythology. I do not know what to make of this one. Michael Joseph Kobierski was born in Sioux Lookout, Ontario in 1920 and died in Sydney, British Columbia on 22 December 2007. He was reported as having been an RCAF pilot, flew with No.307 Squadron and was awarded "the Polish Distinguished Flying Cross." I am able to confirm his presence in the RCAF in 1945 (as a General List Flight Lieutenant) but nothing more. He doe not appear to have been awarded a Virtuti Militari, and I do not know what would otherwise be the Polish equivalent of thr DFC. Are there any experts on No.307 Squadron who might enlighten me about this man ?

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    Hugh, Hi,
    This seems to be yr man? But at what stage/time he transferred to RCAF - who knows? But a lot of the Polish guys on 307 seem to have emigrated to Canada after the War:

    http://polishsquadronsremembered.com/307/307airmen.html
    P8010779 KOBIERSKI M.

    HTH
    Peter Davies

    PS Too many digits in the Service Number?
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 13th December 2014 at 12:49. Reason: Over-supply of numbers!
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    I have looked at Honour The Air Forces (Maton), The DFC (Carters), and the Polish Nominal Roll.

    Kobierski appears in the nominal roll with no PAF number and it states he joined the RCAF in 1940. I could find no DFC award nor any honorary award to a Pole. I could not find any Polish award to this man either and if not the VM it would have been the Cross of Valour probably or the Cross of Merit.


    Colin Cummings

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    Hugh, as he was a Canadian of Polish origin, he was not a member of Polish Air Forces. Therefore he must have been in RCAF. In 307 Sqn ORB there are records of several sorties flown by F/Lt M.J. Kobierski on Mosquito XXX in early 1945. So he indeed could have been awarded with Polish Cross of Valour (Krzyz Walecznych) in recognition of his service in 307 Sqn. However this award can not be regarded as equivalent to DFC.

    Hopefully, it would be of help for you.
    Regards,
    Greg
    Last edited by Grexx; 13th December 2014 at 18:29. Reason: .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Resmoroh View Post
    http://polishsquadronsremembered.com/307/307airmen.html
    P8010779 KOBIERSKI M.

    PS Too many digits in the Service Number?
    It's likely his RCAF no. was O.10779, although I also have him as 10770. Is there an official source to check that?

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    http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/d...nqetrsffmrpki3

    APPOINTMENTS, PROMOTION? AND RETIREMENTS
    ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE HEADQUARTERS,
    OTTAWA, April 10, 1942.
    No. 71.
    The following appointments, promotions and retirements in the Royal Canadian Air Force (Permanent, Auxiliary, Reserve and Special Reserve) have been approved and are promulgated by the Minister of National Defence for Air.
    SPECIAL RESERVE GENERAL LIST
    Pilots
    The undermentioned Airmen to be Pilot Officers and are allotted personal numbers as shown after their names


    R100253 Sgt. Michael Joseph Kobierski (J10779)

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    Thanks a lot!

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    To date, this is what I know.

    Michael Joseph Kobierski was born 25 December 1920. He enlisted in the RCAF, 25 April 1941 (service number R.100253) and was commissioned 27 March 1942 (new number, J.10779); promoted Flying Officer, 11 October 1942; promoted Flight Lieutenant, 27 March 1944. Left the RCAF, 12 August 1945. Rejoined the RCAF, 9 October 1948; attained the rank of Squadron Leader, 1 January 1957; retired 20 June 1968.

    A card at Directorate of History and Heritage says. "AWARD: Polish Distinguished Flying Cross - awarded while serving with Polish Force." There is no Canada Gazette or London Gazette issue cited that would make this "official" but an authority is given - AFHQ Letter 12921 (DPC/PC4) dated 22 March 1954. Presumably this is in his service file, but it is unlikely that said file will be opened before 2027.

    There were problems with Polish awards in the immediate postwar period (see RCAF awards site and Hubert Brookes), the difficulties stemming from the Polish government (which had been established by the Russians) refusing to recognize awards granted by the Polish government in exile that had been established in London. The RCAF solution was to NOT gazette the contentious awards, but to permit their recipients to wear them anyway (Solomon would have been proud). It would seem that Kobierski was granted some award (but not a "Polish DFC" which did not exist), and the AFHQ letter would have been authorization to such wear. The question then becomes - what would have been the nearest Polish EQUIVALENT of a DFC ? In fact, in my view, the Virtuti Militari Fifth Class (such as was awarded to John Kent) was a pretty close approximation of a British DFC, so Kobierski's decoration must have been a step or two downwards. Unless Polish records (or the ORB of No.307 Squadron) hold the answer, we shall have to wait until 2027 to know.

    There are seven Combat Reports at Kew filed by Kobierski, and I have purchased all seven. They are in my mail box right now, waiting to be downloaded.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HughAHalliday View Post
    A card at Directorate of History and Heritage says. "AWARD: Polish Distinguished Flying Cross - awarded while serving with Polish Force." There is no Canada Gazette or London Gazette issue cited that would make this "official" but an authority is given - AFHQ Letter 12921 (DPC/PC4) dated 22 March 1954. Presumably this is in his service file, but it is unlikely that said file will be opened before 2027.

    There were problems with Polish awards in the immediate postwar period (see RCAF awards site and Hubert Brookes), the difficulties stemming from the Polish government (which had been established by the Russians) refusing to recognize awards granted by the Polish government in exile that had been established in London. The RCAF solution was to NOT gazette the contentious awards, but to permit their recipients to wear them anyway (Solomon would have been proud). It would seem that Kobierski was granted some award (but not a "Polish DFC" which did not exist), and the AFHQ letter would have been authorization to such wear. The question then becomes - what would have been the nearest Polish EQUIVALENT of a DFC ? In fact, in my view, the Virtuti Militari Fifth Class (such as was awarded to John Kent) was a pretty close approximation of a British DFC, so Kobierski's decoration must have been a step or two downwards. Unless Polish records (or the ORB of No.307 Squadron) hold the answer, we shall have to wait until 2027 to know.
    Well, the "Polish DFC" or any description like this depends a lot on who said that and for what purpose. Many authors and even some officials used to refer (and still do) to the Virtuti Militari as the "Polish Victoria Cross" which it (very obviously) isn't. I'd say the "Polish DFC" is most likely to be the Cross of Valour in this case.
    Any award made by Polish authorities during the war was announced in the Polish AF Inspectorate/HQ orders, and awards to foreign personnel ('foreign' referring to the service they were with, not they Polish ancestry of lack of it) were announced separately. I'll try to check the 'awards to foreigners' orders of 1944-1945 for his name.

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    I have now downloaded the seven "Combat Reports" which are actually Night Intruder Reports, more like Form 541 entries. There are no contacts with enemy aircraft recorded and the sorties are largely uneventful, covering dates 21/22 January 1945, 28/29 January 1945 (pursued a contact which proved to be a Mosquito with long range tanks), 8/9 February 1945, 21//22 February 1945, 23/24 February 1945 (climbed after a contact which proved to be a Mosquito with long range tanks), 25/26 February 1945 and 28 February-1 March 1945. Being so uneventful, one is left to wonder why he was singled out for a decoration, other than to recognize a Canadian presence in the squadron.

    A fresh puzzle presents itself. His navigator is identified as Flight Sergeant and then Warrant Officer Smith - a Canadian - but no initials. This raises the question as to whether Smith also received an ungazetted Polish award. Without initials, it is very difficult to know where to look - and if Smith did NOT get an award, then I am looking for the needle in the haystack that is NOT THERE.

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