Polish Battle of Britain pilots commemorated in London
Families of veterans, officials, Polish cadets and students on Saturday laid wreaths at the London-based monument to Polish pilots who during WWII defended the British skies in Polish units serving under Royal Air Force (RAF) command.
The monument is located near the RAF airbase in Northolt, west London, where Polish pilots used to be stationed during World War II.
Polish Ambassador to the UK Arkady Rzegocki and Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, were present at the ceremony along with cadets from Poland's top military aviation school in Dęblin. Polish Saturday school students from London and scouts were also present.
The Polish ambassador told PAP that the Saturday ceremonies were "extremely important and unique for all Poles and those who care about the fate of Poland, because we are not only paying tribute to Polish airmen who died during World War II - on the 79th anniversary of its outbreak - but we're also celebrating the upcoming 100th anniversary of regaining independence by Poland."
The Battle of Britain was a WWII military campaign in which the RAF successfully defended the United Kingdom against the German Luftwaffe between June and October 1940. Notable in the battle were 16 Polish squadrons formed from pilots who escaped from Poland after its 1939 invasion by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Among them was the famous No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron, which was the highest-scoring Hurricane squadron in the RAF and boasted the highest ratio of enemy aircraft destroyed to their own lost.