July 1940 - March 1944

His years with the Polish Air foce Under British Command

Between August 1940 and September 1941 he was unable to be picked by the commanding officers of the Polish fighter squadrons who were frustrated with the fact that a skilled and seasoned pilot was being blocked to them by the Polish high command due to his views and previous arrest.
Witold was posted to 55 OTU as an instructor and was finally picked as a fighter pilot by 308 squadron flying Hurricane’s and on the 30th December 1941 was transferred across the airfield to 317 squadron flying Spitfire’s with the equivalent rank of Flying officer.
October 1942 saw him decorated with his second `Cross of Valour’ on the insistence of Skalski his squadron commander. In April 1943 he attended fighter leader school where he graduated and was immediately posted to 302 Polish squadron as `A’ flight commander (at the same time Boleslaw Gladych was transferred from 303 squadron to 302 squadron as `B’ flight commander). His C.O at 302 Wacław Król forwarded him on several occasions for the `Virtuti Militari’ but was rejected by the pig headed Polish high command yet again as was his promotion to squadron leader even though as `A’ flight commander he had often led 302 squadron into battle. By 23rd February 1944 he had completed 97 operations and 220 combat flying hours.
In March 1944 the Polish high command wanted to give Witold a desk job but he refused and with the help of the Polish chief of staff Brzezina who was a friend and fan of Witold’s got him a posting to the 354th Fighter Group of the USAAF 9th Air Force flying mustangs from Boxted air base as an intelligence officer. Witold was furious that he had been blocked from operational flying by the high command and it was here with the 354th that he got his famous nickname `Lanny’ due to the difficulty the Americans had with his surname.
Following several visits with Gladych from Northolt whilst with 302 Squadron to Halesworth in his spitfire for discussions with Francis Gabreski and `Hub’ Zemke Lanny was transferred to the 61st Fighter Squadron of the famous 56th Fighter Group, Zemke’s Wolfpack.