A WHITCHURCH businessman and son of a former Polish spitfire pilot admitted he was overcome with emotion after his special guest invitation to a Cheshire festival.

John Wojda, co-owner of Dodington Jewellers in Whitchurch High Street with younger brother Paul, was invited to Marbury Merry Days over the weekend to celebrate the legacy of his father Zbigniew ‘Adam’ Wojda, who settled in the area after recovering from tuberculosis.

He was treated at the war hospital in Penley before he was eventually invalided out to nearby Iscoyd and then settled in Whitchurch, setting up Dodingtons and starting a family.


John was invited to Marbury Merry Days to witness a flypast by a Spitfire, a plane his father both flew in and also instructed others to fly.

Whitchurch Herald: John Wojda outside his shop founded by his father.John Wojda outside his shop founded by his father. (Image: John Wojda.)

He said: “I was delighted to be invited to this well-organised and attended event.

“It fantastic to see and hear the Spitfire, although it made me feel weepy.

“I would like to thank Carol and Richard Sheard of the Marbury Merry Days committee for inviting me and to the public for supporting this event.”

Zbigniew graduated as a fighter pilot in Poland in 1939 but was forced to escape when German invaded, and headed for England.

After strict processing, Zbigniew was sent to an Operational Training Unit to be prepared to fly the iconic Spitfire aircraft.

After his successful conversion training – with “Above Average” recorded in his logbook – Zbigniew was assigned to No. 303 Squadron RAF, a Polish squadron based in Northolt, and was a Spitfire pilot from 1941 to 1943.

Whitchurch Herald: Zbigniew in his plane.Zbigniew in his plane. (Image: John Wojda.)

Zbigniew also co-designed the Polish Air Force in exile standard.

On April 12, 1942 Zbigniew and his wingman were both attacked by Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter aircraft.

Despite substantial damage, including a lost engine, Zbigniew managed to skilfully pancake-land his Spitfire in the English Channel, where he was rescued after 30 minutes, then taken to hospital in England.

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Zbigniew later learned that he would have plummeted to his death if he had bailed out, as his parachute was shredded from the attack. 

While an instructor Zbigniew developed Tuberculosis (TB), which brought him to different hospitals including a Polish hospital in Penley in Wales. He was then invalided out to Iscoyd, also in Wales and near to Whitchurch. 

Zbigniew passed away, aged 90, in 2009 and is buried at St Alkmund’s Church in Whitchurch.