Meeting with Piotr Kuryllowicz – May 2006

Peter Ben had managed to program the visit of this Polish Pilot in France for May 20th 2006

Thursday, May 19th
Three Polish cameramen arrive around 08:30 p.m. Two of them, directly from Poland, had a trip of 20 hours, while the third comes from London. All three are passionate and enthusiastic.
Friday, May 20th
Piotr Kuryllowicz and Kara her daughter arrive at about 6 p.m.. Pierre  Ben welcomes and shows them small parts coming from Piotr's aircraft  that he put prominently in his home.

Taking in hand the firing trigger of the machine guns and the landing gear selector, Piotr Kuryllowicz will experience a strong emotion that will only intensify in view of the serial number of his Spitfire, of the cockade and of the  Polish emblem of the 315 Squadron.

It must be said that Albert Berthet worked miracles by achieving beautifully straighten aluminum piece bearing the serial number  of the Spitfire Mk IX (BS410). He also completed a work of craftsmanship by reconstituting, from the fragments found, the Polish crest of 315 Squadron (representing a rooster) and a part of the British cockade of the fuselage.

Will follow a meal at Pierre Ben' s, in which Piotr will offer him an artificial horizon in perfect condition coming from a Spitfire  and two radio headsets that he used in his personal plane.

Saturday, May 21st

Part of the morning will be devoted to make Piotr discovering  few private museums. He will be very  impressed with the amount of found objects taking place in these museums.

The visit to Couin, where you can see commemorative plaques dedicated to the animals who served in the First World War will conclude the morning.

After lunch, at about  2 p.m, Pierre Ben will show Piotr  the remains of his Spitfire and will deliver to Kara, very moved, a piece of wooden propeller coming from his father's Spitfire.

The highlight of the day will be the ceremony during which Pierre Ben will give this pilot the famous Polish crowbar that had saved his life and which was found during the excavation. The emotion is at its height. Before coming to France, Piotr had told the story to Pierre Ben who doesn' t told him that he found his crowbar.

A reception and a photo session will pleasantly continue this day that will end around a good table in Authuille.

Sunday, May 22nd

Pierre Ben and his friends accompany Piotr and his daughter in Méaulte. After a stop at the Airbus factory (target  of the B17 of the 8thUS Air Force during the mission on  May 13th, 1943), they will make the visit of the aero-club and of  the AAAA collection  (Association of Veterans Aircraft of Albert) . Will follow a visit to Albert in Marc Bétrancourt' s museum about aviation heritage.

In the afternoon, the small team will visit the monument of Warloy-Baillon and the graves of the British cemetery. The day will continue with a visit of Newfoundlander camp in Auchonvillers and of the British monument of Thiepval. Finally, all will go to Naours to lay a wreath to the RAF on the stele of the pilot Prochnicki , who died August 19th, 1943 with his Spitfire during an aerial combat.

The day will end with a visit of St Victor hospital in Amiens where Piotr had been hospitalized.

Then it will finally be time to leave, footprint of emotion.

Research undertaken about the crash of the Spitfire by May 13th, 1943 at Occoches will remain undoubtedly memorable for all as they have served the History and have allowed us to live an exceptional human adventure by knowing Piotr Kuryllowicz and Kara  her daughter.
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