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Zygo, Henry D.F.C.

Town : Sandown
Regiment : Fighter Pilot, R.A.F.
Landed in Normandy : Operations over the Channel and Normandy
Henry Zygo, of Sandown, was a 17-year-old officer cadet in the Polish army when Germany invaded his country in 1939. As the Polish forces were overwhelmed , Henry, together with his father and his brothers , who were also serving soldiers, crossed the border into Hungary where they were interned. They were able to make their escape to France via Yugoslavia, and Henry joined his compatriots from the Polish Army fighting in France. After France capitulated Henry got away from Dunkirk in a British warship only to find himself swimming back to the beach when the ship was bombed. Eventually he reached the UK in a fishing boat and joined units of the Free Polish forces in Scotland. He took the opportunity to transfer to the RAF and train as a pilot. After qualifying he was posted to 303 (Polish) Squadron flying Spitfires and Hurricanes from Biggin Hill and Tangmere in the Battle of Britain. D-Day saw his Northolt-based squadron carrying out offensive operations over the Channel and Normandy before moving base to France. While supporting the Arnhem operation he was shot down., sustaining wounds to his right leg. He landed safely and tried to avoid capture by hiding in some bushes at the side of a canal. He was spotted by an enemy search patrol. After hospital treatment he was subjected to rigorous interrogation before being sent to a prisoner-of-war camp. The Canadians eventually liberated him and his fellow prisoners. He now lives in retirement with his Spanish-born wife Inge. He contracted a muscular disease and in recent years has only been able to move about with the aid of a wheelchair.
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