Daphne pens poem in memory of Polish airman

As people across Lisburn paused to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in two world wards and numerous other conflicts, local woman Daphne Wilson was inspired to pen a poem in memory of fallen Polish airman Stanislaw Grondowski.

Thursday, 11th November 2021, 2:21 pm

Stanislaw Grondowski was born on September 11, 1909 and during the Second World War he served with 315 (City of Deblin) Polish Fighter Squadron.

Saturday September 11, 1943 was described as ‘a black day for 315 Squadron’ which was based at RAF Ballyhalbert. Two pilots and three aircraft were lost. In the late afternoon, during adverse weather, three pilots took off in Supermarine Spitfire Mark V aircraft to practise formation flying. Flight Sergeant Stanislaw Grondowski was a very experienced pilot and he was leading the formation flight.

Flight Sergeant Stanislaw Grondowski was killed near Plantation House, Lisburn. He died on his 34th birthday and, in accordance with Polish custom, burial took place three days after his death.

“I walk past his little memorial on my walk and it prompted this poem,” explained Daphne.

Entitled ‘The Polish Airman’, Daphne’s poem reads:

Another twenty feet

And you would have cleared these trees,

Back to Ballyhalbert

In 1943.

Back to Squadron 315,

To tea and sodas and an Ulster fry.

Back to your pals

To share a smoke, remember hearth and home.

Stanislaw, they called you.

Maybe Sergeant Stan for short?

I look at your picture;

Sombre, dark hair, thirty four

That’s all I know of you,

No more.

Stanislaw Grondowski is buried at Mount St Joseph’s RC Graveyard, Ballycranbeg and after writing the poem, Daphne paid a visit to the grave to pay her respects. The visit inspired a second poem in memory of Stanislaw.

The Polish Airman II - Resting Place, reads:

Late

I’ve come with blooms of red and white

Following your last flight,

To find the place you are forever grounded

Here, among us.

Yes

What a lousy day it was, when the earth rushed up

To meet you and Wladislaw in the cloud-heavy sky,

And the green hills far away

Then, suddenly, so near

Grasped you fast in their earthy embrace.

Now

Between the sea and strands

Ballycranbeg is your native land.

No eastern vastness of birch and pine,

For you are rooted now in this our hamely soil,

Honoured in a sacred place.

So

Be forever welcomed

And rest here, ‘bohater’, ‘kochany braciszek’.

For this is your province and your kingdom,

Fought for, bought and paid for in full

Here, among us.