Sketches by a wartime PoW pilot based in Norfolk going to Polish museum
PUBLISHED: 16:20 21 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:49 21 April 2018
They are a series of comical sketches drawn by a Norfolk-based pilot while he was imprisoned in a German PoW camp.
And now the pictures by Polish Squadron Leader Bohdan Stanislaw Arct are to be returned to his home country thanks to a Great Yarmouth researcher and an Ely widow.
Sdn Ldr Arct was flying a Mustang from RAF Coltishall on September 6, 1944 when he was shot down and then imprisoned in Stalag Luft Barth in Western Pomerania in Germany.
He drew the series of eye-catching humorous sketches of life in the PoW camp and they ended up in the possession of Flight Lieutenant Peter Cutchey, who by a twist of fate had been shot down on the same day in a Lancaster bomber, flown from RAF Oakington in Cambridgeshire, and was in the same camp.
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Mr Cutchey died in 2017 and his widow Joan, from Ely, contacted the research group website Aircrew Remembered, which is run by Kelvin Youngs of Great Yarmouth along with technical help from his brother Stefan in Norwich, to say she had the sketches.
It was Mr Cutchey’s dying wish that the sketches be handed over to a Polish museum.
That wish is now being enacted by Aircrew Remembered, with Mr Youngs contacting the Polish Aviation Museum to see if it wanted them - a request they happily accepted.
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He is now in the process of arranging to visit the Krakow-based museum to deliver the artworks.
Mr Youngs, 66, and who works for Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “As our website receives over 2,000 hits a day we are often contacted by surviving relatives wishing to donate items such as log books and medals to us. We decline, but advise them where perhaps associations and museums may well be interested.
“But this was special, we had to assist. It is a wonderfully preserved collection that should be seen and not shut in a drawer.”
After the war Mr Arct also became an accomplished writer with dozens of publications - mostly in his native language. However, none of his PoW sketches have ever been published.
He died in 1973.
To visit the research website go to http://aircrewremembered.com