Aviation and Diplomacy

Bogdan J. Kwieciński 1895–1981

Colonel observer Bogdan J. Kwieciński

Bogdan J. Kwieciński was born on 12th April 1895 in Strzelno in Wielkopolska (then in German Empire). Already during his years in secondary school he became keen on aviation, taking part in modeller exhibitions and, notably, received a patent for an ingenious undercarriage for heavy aircraft.

During the First World War he served in Prussian army aviation as a radio-operator on the Palestinian front. He was taken prisoner by the British and held in a prison camp in Turkey.

After being released he returned to Poland and imme­diately joined the newly established military aviation. As an air observer he served with No. 12 Aero Squadron taking part in the Polish-Soviet war. He conducted numerous combat missions, receiving Poland's highest military decoration, the War Oder of Virtuti Militari.

In the years 1924–1926 he studied at the Higher War School in Warsaw. Between 1926 and 1928 he was the head of the Aviation Department in the Ministry of Military Affairs, and during 1928–1930 was a squadron commander and deputy commander of the No. 1 Aero Regiment. From 1930 to 1933 Bogdan J. Kwieciński was the head of the Aviation Office of the III Division of General Staff.

In 1927 he became one of the founders and the first Secretary General of the Aero Club of the Polish Republic. He was the Polish delegate to The World Air Sports Federation (FAI), becoming in the 1930s the vice-president of the organisation.

Bogdan J. Kwieciński was one of the authors of Polish successes in the Challenge Internationale des Avions de Tourisme, as a member of International Sports Committee and Polish sports comissar and a member of organizational committee and the head of competition held in 1934 in Warsaw.

Apart from being an international contest of touring aircraft, the Challenge was treated as a test of the engineering and industrial potential of competitor countries and the prowess of their pilots as well and thus considered a highly prestigous competition. Polish crews won two out of four editions of Challenge, proving their skills and those of the designers of the recently emerged Polish state as being on par with those of European powers. Bogdan J. Kwieciński became renowned internationally as an apt and competent manager.

In 1935 he was assigned to the Polish embassy in Prague, the capital of Czechoslovakia, as the military attaché. B. Kwieciński occupied the post till the end of August 1937, before in September 1937 he took the position of a combined military and aviation attaché in the Polish embassy in London.

His appointment came at the time when Polish-English military and aviation cooperation was gaining in scope and intensity. After the fall of Poland in September 1939 Bogdan J. Kwieciński made an essential contribution to the formation of the Polish Air Force in the West (the fourth largest allied air force in 1945). He served as Polish aviation attaché until the end of the war.

When the recognition for the Polish government-in-exile was withdrawn by the Western powers, Bogdan J. Kwieciński remained abroad, just as many Poles serving in the West who decided not to return to their homeland which became subjugated by the Soviet Union. He settled in Canada and took posts in FAI and International Civil Aviation Organization, an agency of the United Nations. As a technical advisor he took part in establishing numerous airline connections.

Bogdan J. Kwieciński passed away on 22nd March 1981 in Montreal, Canada.


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