The grave of a war hero who fought in one of the longest aerial dog fights in the Second World War has been found by campaigners in Bradford.

Antoni Ulicki, a Polish airman who won his country’s top flying medal, is buried in an unmarked grave in the Garden of Remembrance at Scholemoor Cemetery.

His remains were discovered after tenacious research by Teresa Warszylewicz, of Bradford, who remembers the air gunner lodging with her parents in the 1960s and ’70s.

Mr Ulicki, whose war medals include the Virtuti Milatari, Poland’s highest decoration for courage, and the Distinguished Flying Cross, died in St Luke’s Hospital, Bradford, on July 25, 1986, aged 71.

He was cremated and his remains put in the Garden of Remembrance. His address at the time of his death was Chain Street, Westgate.

His war record shows he was the 167th Pole to win the DFC. Only about 180 were awarded. “It’s fantastic to have found him at last, I always thought we would,” said Mrs Warszylewicz.

“I have had great assistance from Jim Hartley and Peter Whitaker, the two men who arranged the memorial to seven Polish airmen who died when a Wellington bomber crashed at Bradley, near Skipton. The people at Scholemoor have been very helpful and I think there is a chance for a small plaque.”

Mr Ulicki’s remains were difficult to find because people in common graves were not registered by date and place, but their ashes were placed in a row representing the year they died, she said.

“The next step is to try to raise the money for a plaque telling of his honours,” she said. “But until then we can go down there, light a candle and lay some flowers which I will also do on All Souls’ Day on November 1.”

Mr Hartley, of Bradley, who plans to design the plaque, said it would feature the emblem of Mr Ulicki’s 304 Squadron which consisted of a winged bomb, one half with the logo of the RAF and the other of the Polish air force.

Mr Ulicki was a rear gunner in a Wellington bomber which survived one of the longest air battles of the war. The crew were over the Bay of Biscay, off the French and Spanish Atlantic coasts, searching for German submarines when they were attacked and spent almost an hour fighting off three German Ju88s. The crew limped back to England on February 9, 1943, with the bomber riddled with bullet holes.