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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.
Chhota Jivanji was born in Mumbai, India in 1896. He arrived in New Zealand on the Medina from Colombo in 1916 and his nationality was recorded as British. He was almost immediately called up to join the 2nd division fighting in WW1. In 1918 he helped establish New Zealand’s first Indian Association.