POLISH AIR FORCE MUSEUM
Polish Air Force Exhibition Northolt tour dates 2020
RAF Northolt, which hosts the only exhibition and museum dedicated to the Polish Air Force in Britain, has advised dates for organised tours to the museum in 2020. These are as follows and all on Saturdays except 12 June: 15 February, 4 April,
12 June, 15 August, 10 October and 12 December.
The Museum is open to anyone interested, but because RAF Northolt is an operational RAF Station, visits must be arranged in organised tours. Each tour will be limited to 20 people and applications should be made to the Polish Air Force Memorial Committee chairman Richard Kornicki via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visits to the museum might also be possible on other dates for group bookings, subject to staff availability and operational requirements.
The Museum and exhibition is housed in the Polish Lounge, which was opened on 14 February 2007 by the last Polish President in exile Ryzard Kaczorowski, who was tragically killed in an air crash near Smolensk, Russia, on 10 April 2010.
The Museum tells the story of Polish airmen and their achievements during the Second World War in Poland, France and England. It combines personal memorabilia, artworks, aircraft models, original photographs, and display panels giving information in English and Polish. The exhibits include a replica of the war-time Polish Air Force Wilno Standard, which is paraded annually at the Northolt Memorial Commemoration and at the Battle of Britain Service at Capel le Ferne (see Home Page).
It is particularly fitting that the Museum is at RAF Northolt, which for most of the war was home to a Polish Fighter Wing of three Squadrons on rotation. In 1940, 303 (Polish) Tadeusz Kościuszko City of Warsaw Squadron, flying Hurricanes, became the most successful Squadron of any that fought in the Battle of Britain with 126 confirmed victories - despite only being operational for less than half the period of the Battle.
This briefcase is one of the exhibits and was issued to Officer Cadet Franciszek Kornicki from the last entry at the Polish Air Force College, Dęblin, to complete the course before the outbreak of War. He was commissioned in the field and had the briefcase in his cockpit when flying in the defence of Poland. It subsequently formed the only luggage he carried into exile on a journey that took him through Rumania, by sea to France and, after the fall of France, by sea to England. It remained in his use throughout the rest of his service with the Polish Air Force during the War, through his post-war RAF service, into civilian posts and then in retirement in work as a Trustee of the Polish Air Force Association. It was given as part of the founding collection of the Museum, and its owner was the last surviving Polish Squadron commander until his death in November 2017, a month short of his 101st birthday.
A short film about the Polish Air Force Exhibition can be viewed by clicking the icon at the top of the Home page, the red YouTube icon at the bottom right of any page or this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBivxlTPpTE.
BATTLE OF BRITAIN BUNKER
The Battle of Britain Bunker and its Operations Room on the former site of RAF Uxbridge are perhaps best known for controlling Royal Air Force fighter operations during the Battle of Britain. However, it was actually responsible for coordinating the air defence of London and the South East of England throughout World War II. Fighter operations during the Dunkirk evacuations and the Normandy landings were also coordinated at the Bunker.
The Operations Room is currently set up exactly as it was on 15 September 1940, the day Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited and witnessed the most significant day of the Battle of Britain.
A new Visitor Centre at the Bunker opened to the public on 30 March 2018. A state-of-the-art exhibition tells the story of the world's first integrated air defence system, and visitors can take a guided tour of the original underground bunker. Tour times and admission prices can be found at http://battleofbritainbunker.co.uk/