Battle of England

Written by Agnieszka Kossowska

The Rector-Commandant of the Air Force Academy, gen. brig. pil. dr Piotr Krawczyk as well as cadet officers participated in the celebrations aimed at commemorating the 77th anniversary of the Battle of England.

This year, the celebrations in memory of the Polish pilots who defended Great Britain against the forces of Nazi Germany were held in Northolt on 9 September, in the place where the legendary 303 Warsaw Fighter Squadron, named after Tadeusz Kościuszko, was stationed.

In the celebrations veterans of Polish Air Force squadrons along with their friends and family members, the ambassador of the Republic of Poland Mr Arkady Rzegocki as well as the General Consul Mr Krzysztof Grzelczyk and deputy Attaché of Defence Lt. Col. Artur Miśkiewicz, the commander of the Royal Air Force Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, the Air Force Inspector gen. brig. pil. dr Jerzy Krawczyk, Chief of RAF HQ Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, the command of the RAF base in Northolt, representatives of Poles living abroad, veteran groups and cadet officers, who acted as the Polish guard of honour, representing both Alma Mater of the heroes and flying aces of fighter aviation were present.

After the Roll Call for the Fallen and a prayer, wreaths were laid down in order to remember seventeen Polish squadrons within RAF structures, followed by the anthems of Poland and Great Britain.

The ceremony ended with collecting, consecrating and handling of the soil from the Polish war memorial. The soil will be placed in the foundations of the Home Army (AK) Monument to be erected at the foot of the Royal Castle in Wawel by the end of this year. The blueprint of the monument was presented by the chairman of the foundation Wstęga Pamięci (Ribbon of Remembrance) Mr Aleksander Smaga.

During their stay in the UK, the Air Force cadets visited major places of remembrance of the Polish Armed Forces. They visited, among others, the Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum in London, the Battle of Britain Bunker, No 11 Group Fighter Command – part of the command responsible for the Battle of England in Uxbridge and also the RAF base in Northolt, in the western part of London, which up to the present day has been commemorating Polish airmen . The cadets also participated in the Holy Mass dedicated to the fallen pilots.