Polish Air Force coverage in Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Year Book

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20 May Polish Air Force coverage in Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Year Book

The RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight has included extensive coverage of the Polish Air Force in its current ‘Royal Air Force Memorial Flight Official Club Year Book 2021’. The front cover features a magnificent photograph of its MkXVI Spitfire TE311 in the colours of Gp Capt Aleksander Gabszewicz when he was the Commanding Officer of 131 Polish Wing. See photo.

Inside there is a comprehensive article about the new 303 Squadron colour scheme for the BBMF’s Hurricane LF363. This is being repainted to represent the MkI Hurricane V6665, ‘RF-J’, of 303 Kościuszko (Polish) Squadron, during the Battle of Britain period of September 1940. The BBMF has kindly allowed the PAFMC to post an extract from this detailed article, included below. The full article is only in the Year Book 2021, which is not on public sale and only available to members of the RAF Memorial Flight Official Club. If anyone would like a copy of the book and the full article they will need to join the RAF Memorial Flight Official Club. The Club website with news, information and details of how to join can be found at this link https://www.memorialflightclub.com/

Hurricane V6665 was delivered to 303 Squadron at Northolt on 7 September 1940 and painted in the code of RF-J. Two days later ‘A’ flight commander Flt Lt Johnny Kent, flying this Hurricane, claimed a Messerschmitt Bf 110 destroyed and a Junkers Ju-88 probably destroyed. V6665 was only with 303Sqn for just 20 days and was successful in combat with three different pilots in that time. It was destroyed on 27 September when Sgt Tadeusz Andruszków was shot down and killed. He was 19 years old and is buried in Northwood Cemetery, grave H-208.

The repainting of LF363, as 303 Squadron’s ‘RF-J’, is part of the Hurricane’s major maintenance and servicing programme ongoing at The Spitfire Company (Biggin Hill) Ltd. It will retain its military serial number LF363 and not carry V6665, as it is a military and not a civilian registered aircraft. When LF363 leaves Biggin Hill, possibly in late August, it will be replaced by TE311 for repainting, but not in Polish colours. It will allow the BBMF to tell the story of 303 Squadron during the Battle of Britain, its Polish pilots and its Canadian RAF flight commander Flt Lt Johnny Kent.

The BBMF has confirmed that ‘RF-J’ will make a flypast at the 60th Annual Commemoration of Fallen Polish Airmen on Saturday, 4 September 2021, at the Polish Air Force Memorial, Northolt, weather and serviceability permitting.