Kornicki had recently graduated from the Polish Air Force Academy when the Germans invaded his homeland. With others he escaped to France via Romania only to have to flee again in June 1940 when he sailed for England. He joined a Polish Spitfire squadron and rose to become the commanding officer of No. 317 Squadron. He led many sweeps over northern France and was awarded Poland’s highest decoration. the Virtuti Militari. He remained in the RAF and became a catering officer and retired in 1972. He became a national celebrity last year when he was voted ‘the People’s Spitfire Pilot’ in a poll launched by the RAF Museum.
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