Sergeant Josef Frantisek

The Battle of Britain Hero


Sgt Josef Frantisek Sgt Josef Frantisek (note the 'POLAND' patch) Frantisek's Hurricane (RF-U/R3975) 303 Squadron


Sergeant Josef Frantisek is with his 17 confirmed kills the best Allied fighter of the Battle of Britain. Immediately after his arrival to France he had a conflict with one Czechoslovak commanding officer, after this incident he didn't entered into Czechoslovak Foreign Army and he joined the Polish Air Force in France and so it came in Britain where he did not served in anyone of the Czech units but in Polish 303 Squadron.

Frantisek hated Germans like a poision. Once he saw a German plane he always attacked it. During only 28 days he surely downed 17 German planes and also one another probably. Frantisek was a 'lone-hunter'. Every time when the squadron was on a mission, he evaporated a then landed on an immediate airfield with reporting another earned kill(s). He used to do this at all the time. Due this Poles gave him a special 'Host-in-squadron-staut' - he could operate at his own risk and self-tactics and could land on random airfields. I'm sure he vindicated this - 17 kills in only 3 weeks (nearly 15 missions!) - that is mind blowing!

On Morning of 8th November 1940 Frantisek ripped off the patrol and vanished in the skies... his wrecked aircraft was found near Ewell. After the bump he flew out of the cabin and fractured his neck. There are two guesses. The first one is about to he probably did his prohibited air aircobatism. The second tells that he crashed because of reflexes-failure (he was very tired - he did not miss any flight). Or maybe both. Anyway - he was an amazing pilot!

Frantisek earned British Distinguished Flying Medal & Bar, Polish Virtuti Militari Order and Czechoslovak War Cross 1939 and Bravery Medal.

*) Frantisek's particiption in the Battle of France is full of obscurities. A Polish writer Arkady Fiedler credits him with 10 victories, Frantisek's best friend - Jozef Balejka changes this number to 9 air and 2 ground victories. On the top of it, there are no mentions about his unit or even his name! It is possible that Frantisek changed his name in the French campaign because of the protection of his family against the Gestapo.

Name: Josef Frantisek
RAF No.: 723 451
Born: 7th November 1913 - Otaslaivce, Czechoslovakia
Died: 8th November 1940 - Ewell, Surrey, England
Rank: Sergeant
Serving since: 20.07.1940
Serving till: 08.10.1940
Polskie Lotnictwo:
- Eskadra Szkolna Obserwatorow
- Pluton Rospoznawaczy Eskadry Czwiczebnej Obserwatorow SPL Deblin
Armé De l'Air:
- unknown*
- No. 303 (Polish) Squadron
-17 confirmed
- 1 probably
(the odds are that he had also another 11 confirmed victories in France!)*
- Cs. Valecny Kriz 1939 (War Cross 1939)
- Medaile "Za statecnost" (Bravery Medal)
- Medaile "Za zasluhy" 2. stupne (Merits Medal & 2 Bars)
- Pametni medaile cs. zahranicni armady se stitkem P, F a VB (Memorial Medal with Poland, France and Great Britain Bars)
- Virtuti Militari Order
- 4x Krzyz Walecznych (War Cross)
- unknown*
- Distinguished Flying Medal & Bar
- The 1939 - 1945 Star (with Battle of Britain Claps)



20th June
Frantisek came to Great Britain with Polish airmen and he stayed with them during retraining on Hurricane, so after it he was on 20th July posted to No. 303 (Polish) Squadron at Northolt

8th August
During return from training flight he belly landed with Hurricane I V7245 and on 16th August he was for first time included into readiness

2nd September
He claimed his first victory in the Battle of Britain

3rd September
Shot down one Bf 109

5th September

Returned from the dogfight with Bf 109 over Rochford with damaged Hurricane (RF-R/I R4175)
Shot down one Ju 88
Shot down one Bf 109

6th September

Returned again with damaged Hurricane (RF-R/IR4175)
Shot down one Bf 109

9th September

He was shot down by a Bf 109 during the dogfight over Beachy Head against group of Ju 88's and He 111's escorted by Bf 109's and Bf 110's. He made crash landing with heavily damaged Hurricane (RF-U/I P3975) on the field at farm near Falmer
Shot down one Bf 109
Shot down one He 111

11th September

Shot down two Bf 109's
Shot down one 1 He 111

15th September

Shot down two Bf 110's

18th September
Shot down one Bf 109

26th September

Shot down two He 111's

27th September
Awarded by the hightest Polish decoration, Virtuti Militari Order, Krzyz Walecnych and by British Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM)
Shot down one He 111
Shot down one Bf 110

30th September

Shot down one Bf 109
Probably shot down one Bf 109

8th October 1940
One day after his 27th birthday, his Hurricane (RF-R/I R4175) touched down in high speed and crashed on the end of airfield in Cuddington Way at Ewell. He was blowed from the cockpit and he died by unclear causes

28th October
He got a bar to his DFM 'In Memoriam'

Written by Pisis