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Polish pilots’ Memorial replaced

11 May Polish pilots’ Memorial replaced

A replacement memorial to two Polish fighter pilots, P/O Mieczysław Waszkiewicz and P/O Bogusław Mierzwa, has been erected in the Dungeness Estate, Kent close to where they were killed.

On the 16 April 1941 P/O Mieczysław Waszkiewicz and P/O Bogusław Mierzwa from 303 Kościuszko Squadron at RAF Northolt were escorting Blenheim bombers on a raid to Berck-sur-Mer in the Pas-de-Calais region of the French coast. On their return they were attacked by German fighters and both were shot down and killed.

P/O Mieczysław Waszkiewicz in Spitfire IIA P8039 with the code RF-R went into the Channel near the Dungeness coast and his body was never recovered. P/O Bogusław Mierzwa in Spitfire IIA P7819 with code RF-S crashed on the shore at Dungeness close to where the memorial is sited. Both pilots are recognised on the Polish Air Force memorials at South Ruislip and Warsaw. P/O Bogusław Mierzwa is buried in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission section at Northwood cemetery grave H209.

EDF Energy, which now owns the Dungeness Estate, generously funded the replacement and erected the memorial on the 15 April. The following day and the 80th Anniversary of the pilots’ death the new memorial was commemorated in a small service. This was led by the vicar of Lydd Rev Chris Maclean with curator Jackie Darling followed by laying of wreaths by Colin Clayton, who has maintained and cared for the site for many years and Michael Golding, who laid wreaths on behalf of local residents and the local branch of the British Legion.

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