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Witold Bukowski

Witold Bukowski

Auckland architect and Purewa board member John Bukowski, recalls his father’s path as a refugee warrior, writing that Witold crossed the border at Kuty, then travelled on foot and train to Bucharest and on to the port of Constantinople. John remembers his father saying that to converse with priests who assisted the Poles along the way, Witold spoke in Latin, as Nazi spies were everywhere. Finally reaching France, the Polish pilots regrouped for a short time before it too fell to the German onslaught. They finished their sojourn in England as part of the Royal Air Force, based in Blackpool. From 1940, Bukowski’s 301 bomber air squadron earned a legendary status. As a captain with the 301, he led missions targeting key German strongholds on some of the most dangerous missions of the war—striking Rostock, Hamburg, Essen and Bremen flying Wellington Bombers.

Walter Fricker

Walter Fricker

Walter Fricker was born in Somerset, England and came to New Zealand in 1863. He introduced the world’s first airmail postage stamp when he launched a pigeongram service between Great Barrier Island and Auckland in 1897.

R.A.K. Mason

R.A.K. Mason

Most critics regard R.A.K. Mason as New Zealand’s first authentic poet with a poetic intensity attributed in part, to his extraordinary youth. He was only 19 when he published his first collection of poems and most of his ‘Collected Poems’ were written before he turned 25.

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