The Struggle

Biography of a Fighter Pilot

Others • 2008
AuthorsFranciszek Kornicki
Release date2008-03-01
Cat. No.Struggle
CategoryAvailable CategoryDostępne
FormatB5, 244 pages
Price52.00 PLN Price12.99 GBP
The Struggle is a very readable account of an interesting life. The author was born in a rather poor peasant family in Poland. Through his own effort he made his way into the elite, becoming an officer and a fighter pilot of the Polish Air Force. During World War Two he was among thousands of Polish airmen who came to Britain to fight the Germans, eventually rising to command a fighter squadron. After the war he was among thousands of Poles who settled in Britain, unable to return to their opressed homeland. He joined the RAF, seeing service overseas as well as in the British Isles. Living in retirement with his wife in southern England he wrote down his memoirs, with his children and grandchildren in mind.

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  • Skrzydlata Polska • 2009-03-22
  • Air Modeler 18 • 2009-03-22
  • JP4 Italian Aviation Magazine • 2009-03-22
  • MiniReplika 57 • 2009-03-22
  • ModelingMadness.com • 2009-03-22
    Reviewer: Scott Van Aken It is not often in these days, that one gets to read a biography about the experiences of a WWII pilot. Men of this generation are leaving us in the thousands each week and the opportunity to read about their lives is one that we should all take. These are the people who helped to shape the world the way it is. This particular book is the story of Franciszek Kornicki from his birth until the present day. Of most interest to most of us is the bulk of the book which covers his days at the Polish Air College in Deblin, through his flight training, posting to a PZL fighter squadron, his experiences in the opening part of WWII and subsequent escape to Romania and from there to France. Chosen to fly the Caudron C.714, his experiences with that aircraft are quite enlightening, but the war was moving quickly and as France was overrun, he managed to get to Britain where he spent the war flying with the RAF, along with a rather substantial number of other Polish airmen. After the war, he stayed in the UK working at various jobs until rejoining the RAF in 1951, using his immediate post war experiences of running pubs and restaurants to good use as well as keeping his hand in flying. This RAF experience kept him in good stead after retiring from the RAF as he went right back into the business with the RAF, but this time as a civilian. It is a fascinating book full of good humor and candor. It is a look into a part of history that few people have experienced. A book that I found immensely entertaining and I'm positive that you will as well. It is a book that I can most highly recommend to you. May 2008
  • www.aerostories.org • 2009-03-22
    by Phil Listemann If Franciszek Kornicki is not the most known Polish fighter pilot of World War II, his name must be recorded as being one of the youngest Polish fighter pilot to have led a fighter Polish unit in the RAF when he became the commanding officer of No.308 Squadron and later No.317 Squadron in 1943. This biography narrates the typical fate of so many Polish airmen during WW2, who began to fight in September 1939 (he was a regular Air Force officer) and continued their struggle until May 1945. During those critical years, those men worn three uniforms, the Polish, the French and eventually the British one. If the War is the biggest event for many men of that time, as it is for him, Frantiszek Kornicki is also giving what kind of life he had during between missions and the delicate cohabitation with other European people (Romania, France and United Kingdom) not always keen on being friendly with Poles. In reading the book, we can see how much Europe has changed since those dark years ! The political side is not forgotten either, and as a Pole, he wonders why the UK and France acted or not acted when Poland was invaded by German then by Soviets troops while in April 1939, the French and British officially became the protectors of Poland, whatever the enemy. He also painfully remembers what fate the Polish soldiers had to face at the end of war when Britain had to deal with the new reality in the East, surely something the United Kingdom cannot be proud of. For many Poles who still have family in Poland the return became problematical if not impossible. At the end of the book, Frantiszek gives the fate of his Entry, the last to have completed the course in full, it was just before the war begun. Of the 173 names, 86 were killed in Poland, France or with the RAF (but also at Katyn), but the most dramatic for all the survivors has yet to come when they had to find a new country to live in, an exile they were not really prepared to live and something they never fought for. For Frantiszek, the new country will be United Kingdom, and the last part of the book narrates his integration into the post-war British society. The war is seen from a different angle and I spent a nice time in reading it. The book is written with simplicity and recalls to anyone how war can change things in many unexpected ways. To be recommended without hesitation.
  • InternetModeler.com • 2009-03-22
    Reviewed by Chris Banyai-Riepl With so many general history books out there on aviation, sometimes the individual gets lost in the big picture. Every now and then, though, a book like this one comes out which counters those big picture books. This book, although subtitled “Biography of a Fighter Pilot,” is actually an autobiography. Franciszek Korniki found himself in Poland, Rumania, France, and Great Britain during the Second World War, including three years of operational flying. After the war, Korniki continued his life in aviation, serving in the RAF for twenty years. As an autobiography, this book covers more than just Korniki’s wartime record. Divided into three main sections, the first part covers his early years. This includes his memories of growing up in Wereszyn, his family, and attending the Polish Air Force College. The second section covers the wartime years, and this section is further divided by the nations in which Korniki moved through. The story of his passage from Poland through Rumania is quite interesting, for example, culminating with a boat trip to France. The remaining section covers the post-war years of exile in England, where Korniki spent most of his working years in the RAF. As this is an autobiography, the photo content is light, though not completely absent. These make up the last several pages of the book, and they show a nice cross section of Korniki’s life. After reading book after book detailing the broad strokes by fighter and bomber groups, going through this book was a refreshing change of pace. The author tells his life story in a smooth, flowing manner that is easy to follow and interesting to read. I can recommend this book to anyone who wants a different perspective on flying in the middle of the 20th Century.
  • CyberModeler.com • 2009-03-22
    This new book from Mushroom Model Publication’s (MMP) associate company STRATUS, is the autobiography of Franciszek Kornicki. He was a fighter pilot in pre-war Poland and then with the RAF during WWII and post war. He describes in detail his upbringing in rural Poland in the 1920’s and 30’s, then his training and service with the Polish Air Force until Poland’s defeat in 1939. Like so many Polish airmen, he escaped to France and then to Britain, and flew with the RAF during the rest of the war. In post war years, he worked in the pub and restaurant trade before rejoining the RAF, ultimately ending up as a senior catering manager at RAF bases both at home and abroad. Kornicki writes with candour and humour, and his Polish perspective of life in Britain during and after WWII is revealing. This book is a good addition to the literature about service and civilian life in the UK during the 1940’s and 50’s, as well as giving a rare and poignant view of Poland in pre-war years and also after the fall of the Iron Curtain. It is a good reference source for anyone interested in these times. The book is in soft-cover 6 ¼” x 9” page format and is 224 pages long. 194 pages of it are all text. There is a one page bibliography, a 6 page appendix and a photo album at the back of the book. The album contains 71 black and white photos, spanning the pre-war, wartime and post-war years. Most of these pictures are of Kornicki with other people. There are a very few shots of aircraft. So, I must say that this book will not be that interesting to aircraft modelers. It is more of a book for WWII armchair aviation historians.

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