BORNHOLM OR BUST

Kathleen Hanser describes Franciszek Jarecki’s bid for freedom from communism in a MiG-15... a story of espionage, luck and willpower

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Lt Franciszek Jarecki (in the dark flight suit) with Danish officials at Bornholm shortly after his abrupt arrival on March 5, 1953.
KEY COLLECTION

Tasked with leading a flight of four on a routine patrol along Poland’s Baltic coast on March 5, 1953, 21-year-old Polish Air Force pilot Lt Franciszek Jarecki had other ideas. They involved defection. His hands trembled before pushing open the throttle. Glancing towards the four armed MiG-15s sat on alert nearby, he knew it was now or never.

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