Play / pause Joining the RAF

Joining the RAF

  • Alan Waxman


Overall, Dad had quite a colorful journey

to get into the RAF, he was clearly

exceptionally determined, exceptionally focused.

I'm just going to read from his certificate of service

from the Air Training Corps,

this is where he enrolled in in 1942 and it says

"a Polish subject but very anxious to join the RAF

"and showed exceptional aptitude, should make a good pilot".

This was dated 1942.

So, Dad was, obviously, had an ability.

They questioned whether he would have the aptitude

and an education because of his lack of education, he said,

look, I am clever enough, I just haven't had the education

that others have had but if I get through

the first thing and send me to learn

the mathematics et cetera, I'll be fine.

And so, they actually did send him to St Andrews University

for a few months, in order to improve his aptitude

which, obviously, he did.

In order to have an opportunity to join the RAF,

he had first to then get permission from the Polish embassy

in London because he wanted to join as a British pilot,

as against a Polish pilot.

I think his views were, when in Rome, do as the Romans.

As he was living in Britain,

he wanted to act as the British.

And to give an example of his focus and determination,

he only had enough money to pay for a single ticket

down to London and he not only got permission

from the Polish embassy to fly and join

as a British trainee, as against a Polish

but secondly, he persuaded them to give him the money

to pay for his return trip back up to Yorkshire,

which was probably a sign of his chutzpah and salesmanship,

which put him, obviously, in good stead in later life.

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