Colonel Pilot Mieczysław Mümler

Mieczysław Mümler was born on 10 December 1899 in Lviv (Lwów). From 5 November 1918 he served as an infantryman in the battles fought between Poles and Ukrainians for his home city. He was wounded in January 1919. A month later he began service in the 1st Field Artillery Regiment of the Legions. In January of the following year he enrolled at the Artillery Officer Candidate School in Poznań. He graduated in June, and was then posted to the 6th Field Artillery Regiment in Kraków. In February 1921 he was promoted to the rank of second lieutenant. In the same year he passed the school-leaving examination at St. Anne’s Middle School in Kraków. In 1922, as a first lieutenant, he completed a course at the Artillery Training Center in Kraków, and two years later he completed training as an artillery scout in Toruń.
In 1926 he was transferred to the air forces. He trained as a pilot with the 11th Fighter Regiment in Lida, where he served in the 113th Fighter Squadron. In 1928, First Lieutenant Pilot Mieczysław Mümler was transferred to the 3rd Aviation Regiment in Poznań. From 1929 he was the commander of the 132nd Fighter Squadron, where he contributed to a significant improvement in the standard of training of the squadron’s pilots. In 1930 and 1934 he completed training as a squadron commander in Dęblin, and in 1934-1935 he trained as a glider pilot in Ustianowa. In 1931, for two months, he was an instructor at the Aviation Shooting and Bombardment School in Grudziądz. In 1932 he was promoted to the rank of captain. Even in the 1930s, Mümler was considered to be a talented fighter pilot. He was a member of a crew which gave air displays in Bucharest, and he also gained good results in nationwide three-fighter contests. In 1937 he left the 132nd Fighter Squadron to become the commander of the III/3rd Fighter Group. At the same time he was promoted to the rank of major. In October 1938, his group became a part of the Silesia Autonomous Operational Group, which following the Czechoslovak crisis occupied the Cieszyn Silesia region. In 1939, Mümler passed the entrance examination for the Higher Aviation School; however, the outbreak of war prevented him from taking the course.
During the Polish campaign of 1939, he was the commander of the fighter group of the `Poznań` Army, which performed combat missions until 16 September. In that period, Major Pilot Mieczysław Mümler shot down three enemy aircraft. At the same time, he took extraordinary care of his equipment and airmen. He did not leave damaged aircraft to German troops, but evacuated them together with ground vehicles, hoping that they could be repaired at the factory. He tried to keep his subordinates from engaging in uneven fights with the overwhelming enemy forces; as a result, the Poznań group lost only one airman killed in action during the entire campaign. On the other hand, his group, being skillfully used in combat, achieved excellent results as regards the number of enemy aircraft shot down. Mümler’s group was never detected at an airfield, which meant that it avoided ground losses. At dawn on 17 September he was ordered by the army’s aviation staff to fly to the Lublin region. A day later he evacuated his plane to Romania, from where, after a short internment, he traveled through Yugoslavia and Greece to France.
He arrived in France on 23 October 1939. At the Polish base in Lyon-Bron he became the organizer and first commander of the Polish 2nd Fighter Group. In May of the following year, at his own request, he was transferred to fight with Groupe de Chasse II/27. While in France he scored two more aerial victories. After France’s defeat, he fled to Britain through North Africa.
In Britain he was the organizer and first commander of the 302nd Fighter Squadron `City of Poznań`. He fought in the Battle of Britain, shooting down another German plane. On 15 December 1940 he started an instructor’s course at the Central Gunner School in Upavon. On 24 February 1941 he was appointed an instructor at the 55th Operational Training Unit (OTU), on 1 August he was transferred to the 61st OTU, and on 14 September he became the superintendent of the Polish Fighter School at the 58th OTU. For one month, starting on 25 August 1942, he made combat flights with the 306th Fighter Squadron `City of Toruń`. Later he was the commander of the Polish base in Northolt. On 24 October 1943 he became the Polish liaison officer at the headquarters of the 84th RAF Group. On 19 June 1945 he joined Fighter Command.
After demobilization he did not return to his homeland. He lived in London, where he worked as a baker. Although he never returned to Poland, he never accepted British citizenship. He was a member of the Polish Aviators Association in Great Britain, and of the Senior Aviators Club. He died on 5 September 1985 in London. He was awarded the Silver Cross of the Virtuti Militari (no. 8990), the Cross of Valor on two occasions, the Pilot’s Medal (no. 924), the Silver Cross of Merit, the Independence Medal, the Commemorative Medal of the 1918–1921 War, the Lwów Defense Cross, the British Commander Cross of the British Empire and the Distinguished Flying Cross, the French Croix de Guerre and the Medaille Militaire, the Latvian Commemorative Medal of the Fight for Liberation of the Latvian Republic, and the Romanian Order of the Crown.

Mariusz Niestrawski

Colonel Pilot Mieczyslaw Mumler

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