13 years ago – on June 3, 2008 – in Collingwood, Canada, Colonel Tadeusz Koc (Kotz), a fighter pilot, commander of 303 Squadron died.
Tadeusz Kotz was a Polish hero, pilot and fighter ace of World War II. He was awarded several decorations, including Poland’s Virtuti Militari four times Cross of Valour and the British Distinguished Flying Cross. After the war he published his memoirs.
Tadeusz Kotz made 190 flights over enemy territory and 105 other operations, including cover of sea convoys, search for survivors at sea. The total time of its combat tests is 1,531 hours!

Tadeusz Kotz was born in Grabanów as Tadeusz Koc on 9 August 1913 to a family of wealthy farmers. After school he entered the Cadet Flying School in Dęblin Later, he served in the Polish Air Force as a fighter pilot. During the Invasion of Poland in 1939, Kotz fought with the Polish 161st Fighter Escadrille air unit of Łódz Army. He shot down his first enemy Messershmitt on 2 September 1939, and also shared in the destruction of a Junkers Ju-86 while piloting a PZL P.11 airplane. On 16 September he shot down a Soviet reconnaissance bomber Polikarpov R-5. 
After Poland was defeated, Kotz was ordered to evacuate to Romania along with other pilots. He escaped via Yugoslavia and Greece to France, and then to the UK to serve with the Royal Air Force. Commencing in late 1940, Kotz served with No 317, No 308 and No. 303 Squadron, flying the Spitfire.
Later, he became a Squadron Leader with No. 303 Squadron. In February 1943 Kotz was shot down in combat with II./JG 26 over Northern France, but evaded capture and returned to England via German-occupied France in record timing, Spain and Gibraltar to return to the UK on 21 February 1943. This escape report, along with a copy of his combat report dated 3 February 1943 was held classified and put on a secret list until 1973. In September 1944, he attended the Aviation School in Weston-super-Mare. His wartime score was 3 and 3 shared destroyed, 2 probables, and 3 damaged.
He was demobilized in 1948. He married and settled in Swaziland in Africa and then moved to Collingwood, Ontario, Canada, where he spent the remainder of his life. While in Canada, he published a book of memoirs. Błękitne niebo i prawdziwe kule („Blue sky and real bullets”), in 2005.