Saturday, 2 November 2013

A Time to Remember

Pilots of the 303 Polish Squadron
During the England Vs Poland match, the 18.000 strong Polish fans remembered the bravery of their World War Two Airmen, who bravely defended Britain, whilst also fighting the NAZI occupation of their country. 

The Polish fans unveiled a massive checkerboard flag, at the World Cup qualifying match at the Wembley Stadium in October, as an act of commemoration to the Polish pilots' in the Battle of Britain.

The Polish checkerboard flag is the symbol of the Polish Air Force and was passed over the heads of supporters throughout the game. 

The checkerboard design was also the pre-war symbol of the Polish Air Force and was painted beneath the cockpits of Britain’s Royal Air Force Hurricane and Spitfire aircraft, flown by Polish pilots during World War Two. 

Two Polish units - 302 Squadron and 303 Squadron - were formed and went on to shoot down 203 enemy aircraft, becoming Fighter Command's most successful unit in the Battle of Britain. 

The passing of the flag was also symbolic of other joint campaigns between Britain and Poland during the war, which after Hitler’s invasion, saw the establishment of death camps like Auschwitz. 

According to Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, who led Fighter Command: "Had it not been for the magnificent contribution by the Polish squadrons and their unsurpassed gallantry, I hesitate to say that the outcome of the Battle would have been the same." 

Jake Smolarek, from the organisation Hurricane of Hearts, who organised the flag, said the match represented a perfect time to "honour" the Polish pilots in the run up to Remembrance Day on the 11th November. 

The event was also given the blessing of the Polish people, who according to Smolarek “are proud of their pilots who had flown with the British during World War Two with such distinction.” 

The 2011 census showed there were 579,000 Polish-born residents now living in England and Wales. 

Besides the massive contribution of Britain’s Polish community to the Royal Air force during the war, their presence also assisted Poland to develop the biggest European Resistance movement to the NAZI occupation.

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