The Spitfire BM597 served with the 315 (City of Dęblin) squadron and the 317 (City of Wilno) squadron, part of the Polish Air Force under the command of the Royal Air Force from RAF Woodvale in Southport, the plane’s home of operations, but served mainly in the North-West from a base in Blackpool, the home of the Polish Airforce during WWII.
The 19mm-long, nine-carat gold Caterpillar Club Irvin pin, with red amethyst eyes was awarded to Captain Stanisław Król before he was executed by the Gestapo.
The memorial commemorates the Polish “Few” and the 1,900 Poles who lost their lives in the air war.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Polish Ambassador to England Arkady Rzegocki in London on Monday paid tribute to Polish fighter pilots who, during World War Two, fought in the Battle of Britain, the Foreign Ministry has said.
For the second time this month, Polish F-16 pilots have escorted the flight of a US B-1B bomber over Poland, Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak has written on Twitter.
Born in Warsaw in 1912, the life of Kazimierz Leski who went on to head up the counter-espionage activities of the ultra secretive Musketeers resistance group, is still relatively unknown.
Mieczysław Stachiewicz was one of the last surviving Polish airmen who saw action over enemy territory during the war.
Dubbed ‘Flying Death’ by the Germans, Stanisław Skalski saw action in Poland following the outbreak of war, later becoming the first Pole to command an RAF squadron. Miraculously avoiding death twice, after the war it seemed his luck had run out when he was arrested by the secret police on trumped up charges of espionage, tortured for over a year and then sentenced to be executed. But again, he survived.
Dubbed “a true friend of Poland” by the Polish ambassador in London, Jim Auton, a bomb aimer serving in 178 Squadron, took part in perilous missions to keep Polish combatants equipped during the ’44 Uprising.
The rare photos provide fascinating snapshots on the life of a front-line pilot who took the fight to the Nazis.