Coronavirus: Visits to the Museum in 2020 have been cancelled in accordance with Government advice.
Prime Minister praises Polish Air Force
The Prime Minister Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, in his constituency role as MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, was recently sent details of the Polish Air Force Memorial Committee’s new film ‘The Polish Air Force in the Battle of Britain - An 80th Anniversary Tribute’.
His response, addressed to the Trustee responsible for our Public Relations, is below:
Book royalties donated to the PAFMC.
Royalties from a new book about the Polish Air Force ‘Truly of The Few’ are being generously donated by its author Penny Starns to the Polish Air Force Memorial Committee.
An article about the new book appeared in the July/August issue of ‘The 1940s Society’ and is available on page 36 by clicking this link.
Penny Starns said: “Yes, all the royalties are going to the Polish Air Force Memorial Committee. I know it sounds really daft, but when I listen to all these pilots and I’ve got their laughter in my head, I’ve got their fears in my head. I’ve got the pilots telling me that sometimes their legs used to tremble before they went into a dive, but when they went into a dive their nerves were gone. I remember thinking that not enough people know about these pilots, they don’t know how important they are and I think if we can encourage people to understand that contribution it’s really important. So, by giving the royalties to the Polish Air Force Memorial Committee I’m hoping that will help to keep their memory alive.”
‘Truly of The Few’ which is published by Sabrestorm Publishing, normally costs £20, but is on special offer from the PAFMC at £16 plus £2.98 postage and packing and can be purchased by contacting PAFMC chairman Richard Kornicki on email
Amended status for The Polish Air Force Memorial
The Polish Air Force Memorial at South Ruislip, just outside the south east perimeter boundary of RAF Northolt, has been amended on the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest to Grade II* status by Historic England.
Historic England has concluded that after examining all the records, other relevant information and consultation responses, and having carefully considered the architectural and historic interest of this case, the criteria for listing at Grade II* are fulfilled.
The designation decision in the List entry for The Polish Air Force Memorial, erected in 1948, should be amended and upgraded from Grade II to Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural and historic interest: to reflect the more than special interest of the memorial as a testament to the important role played by the Polish Air Force in the Second World War designed by an eminent Polish sculptor;
* Clarity: to state clearly where the special interest of the monument lies and to aid future management and understanding;
* Accuracy: to update the list description to the current format, and to correct the site name from Polish War Memorial to Polish Air Force Memorial.
Battle of Britain tribute film launch
The Polish Air Force Memorial Committee has spent the past few weeks producing a new film - ‘The Polish Air Force in the Battle of Britain – An 80th Anniversary Tribute’. This is now freely available from a link at the top of this website’s Home Page or direct on YouTube at this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lhoytCWsEY&feature=youtu.be
The PAFMC had to cancel the normal annual Commemoration ceremony at Northolt because of Covid-19, and this film is intended to provide an educational and symbolic tribute that will be of value for many years.
The PAF played a critical role in the Battle of Britain. This film is the PAFMC’s tribute and by making it freely available it is hoped that the achievements in the air of Britain’s only ally in 1940 will become more widely known, among both British and Polish audiences, especially the young.
Please feel free to pass the link on to colleagues, family, friends, social media and anyone else who will find it of interest.
Polish Air Force Memorial Ceremonies video compilation
Although Squadron wreaths have been laid privately at the Memorial, this year we have all missed the opportunity of publicly commemorating the Polish Air Force. To fill that gap, a video compilation of excerpts from Ceremonies between 2006 and 2018, has been kindly put together by Marek and Cornelia Borzęcki. It includes footage of many veterans, familiar to us for many years, but now sadly departed and is available at the following link. https://youtu.be/RvtXIYf40Eg
BBC Antiques Roadshow
The BBC TV programme Antiques Roadshow is schedule to broadcast this Sunday 13 September a special commemorative programme on The Battle of Britain. Carol Waluga Gradwell is scheduled to appear talking about her father Jerzy Waluga, a mechanic in 303 Squadron. We do not know the content of the material that may feature in the programme.
Polish Air Force Memorial Wreaths.
Although we were unable to hold our normal Commemoration ceremony at the Polish Air Force Memorial this year, we have placed the wreaths at the Memorial. These are shown in the attached photographs.
Instead of the Commemoration we have been making a new film ‘The Polish Air Force in the Battle of Britain - An 80th Anniversary Tribute’. This will stand as a permanent tribute to the role of the Polish Air Force in the Battle of Britain.
We had hoped to release this film around the time we would have had the Commemoration at the beginning of September. However, we have been slightly delayed by the amount and quality of material that we have been able to gather, including a full reconstruction of events in the Sector Operations Room at RAF Northolt on 15 September 1940.
The editing is nearing completion and we are aiming to release the film before the 15 September and will be available on our website and YouTube.
"15 August - Centenary of Polish defeat of the Bolsheviks at the Battle of Warsaw, 1920"
The Battle of Warsaw was the turning point in the Polish-Bolshevik war of 1920. Under Piłsudski's leadership, Polish forces inflicted what Lenin called 'an enormous defeat' on the Red Army, after which the Bolsheviks abandoned their plans to impose communism across Europe. In the air, the Kościuszko Escadrille (forerunner of 303 Sqn) played an extremely valuable role attacking Bolshevik ground troops. Often referred to as 'The Miracle on the Vistula', it has been long regarded as one of the decisive battles in the world's history.
A bi-lingual presentation is available by clicking on this icon
Also there is a video on YouTube at this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMhXBympLyU&app=desk, both kindly provided by the Polish Embassy.
Laguna Spitfire Project – latest news.
The Laguna Spitfire project has appointed the airframe restoration and manufacturing specialist company Airframe Assemblies Ltd, as build partners for the restoration of the MKIIB Spitfire P8331, which was flown by Wg Cdr Piotr Laguna when it was shot down by flak on 27 June 1941. Airframe Assemblies, based in Sandown, Isle of Wight, is renowned worldwide for its restoration and repair of airframes for World War II aircraft, mainly Spitfires.
For further information see this link: https://lagunasspitfirelegacy.org/appointment-of-build-partners-airframe-assemblies-for-spitfire-mkiib-p8331/
This Spitfire, in 303Sqn code RF-M, was also flown by Wg Cdr John Kent as part of the 1st Polish Wing at Northolt. His youngest daughter Alexandra Kent and Janek Laguna, the son of Wg Cdr Piotr Laguna, have accepted to be Honorary Patron’s of the Laguna Spitfire Project. For further information see this link: https://lagunasspitfirelegacy.org/news-blog/.
Also see post below 29 April for additional information.
Northolt Commemoration Ceremony Cancelled
The annual Commemoration of Fallen Polish Airmen, scheduled for Saturday 5 September at the Polish Air Force Memorial at South Ruislip, is just twelve weeks away. Although the state of the Coronavirus pandemic is easing, we still have no idea when it will be possible to have unrestricted public gatherings at which it will be safe for people of all ages to take part. An event such as our crowded public Ceremony would obviously be a high-risk setting. RAF Northolt, where we had planned to have lunch in the Officers' Mess is not anticipating hosting public events until later in the autumn.
We have delayed our decision as long as possible, but given the long lead-in period and planning requirements for an event on this scale, we have to make a judgement now. Having consulted the Polish Embassy and RAF Northolt, we have decided, with much regret, that the only prudent course is to cancel the public ceremony this year. It will be replaced by a filmed virtual Commemoration. This film will particularly mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and we intend it to serve also as a permanent tribute to the airmen of that time. We are aiming to release the film on the PAFMC website and YouTube prior to the 15 September.
We recognise the deep disappointment the cancellation will cause - which the Committee of course shares - but we hope that we can rely on your understanding in these exceptional times. We look forward to welcoming everyone in person at next year's Commemoration, which will be on Saturday 4 September 2021.
307 Squadron Project Streams Live
The 307 Squadron Project will live stream a video event - The Polish D-Day Story Live! on Saturday 6 June at 16.00 British Summer time. More details are available at this link https://www.facebook.com/events/895236307648199/
The story of the Polish role during the invasion of Normandy, presented in English, includes interviews and details of how the Polish Air Force, Army and Navy played important roles during the D-Day Campaign. We will also include videos and photos, some of which have never been seen publicly before. You can watch this event, a first for our organisation, on our Facebook page facebook.com/307squadronproject. If you do not have a Facebook account it will still be available to view by scrolling down to the live video link.
Polish Air Force Memorial - temporary closure
The Polish Air Force Memorial and the adjacent Memorial Garden at South Ruislip, will be temporarily closed for all public access from the 8 May. This is for essential routine maintenance work and reconstruction of paving to be carried out by the owner of the Memorial the London Borough of Hillingdon. The site will be totally locked down with external fencing until work is complete in 6 to 8 weeks’ time. LBC apologises for any inconvenience this necessary temporary closure may cause.
307 Squadron Project Streams Live.
The 307 Squadron Project will stream for the first time a live video event 307 Squadron Live! on Sunday 3 May at 16.00 British Summer time.
The story of the Polish 307 Squadron, presented in English, includes interviews with veterans and all are welcome to view on its Facebook page facebook.com/307squadronproject. If you do not have a Facebook account it will still be available to view by scrolling down to the live video link.
307 Squadron Live! is part of Polish Heritage Day 2020 with the support of the Polish Cultural Institute. #PLHeritageDays #PolesinUK
Polish Spitfire to fly again.
The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority has issued the MKIIB Spitfire, serial number P8331 (Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory number 709) with its new civilian registration designated G-KOSC. This is the first step, by the recently formed Spitfire P8331 Restoration Project Ltd, towards producing an airworthy MKIIB Spitfire P8331, which served with 303 Kościuszko Squadron in the code of RF-M during 1941.
The MKIIB Spitfire P8331 RF-M was flown by several 303Sqn pilots from 21 May 1941 until the 27 June 1941, when it was shot down during a raid on a Luftwaffe airfield near Coquelles, France. Its pilot, Wg Cdr Piotr Laguna, was killed and is buried in the military cemetery at Pihen-les-Guines, France, Row A Grave 9. At the time Wg Cdr Piotr Laguna, was commander of the 1st Polish Wing of 303Sqn, 306Sqn and 308Sqn at Northolt, and jointly led the fatal mission with Wg Cdr John Kent.
The Spitfire P8331 Restoration Project Ltd is now seeking business leaders, companies and individuals interested in becoming serious partners in the estimated £3 million project, which is hoped to include any items that are deemed recoverable from the surviving wreckage. Only 170 MKIIB Spitfires were built at the Castle Bromwich factory and when complete P8331, in 303Sqn code RF-M, will be the world’s only airworthy MKIIB.
The aim is to start on the project with a build partner within the next 6 to 12 months and be complete in time to fly to Poland for the 85th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain and the 80th Anniversary of VE Day in 2025.
Further information is available at this website link
The full press release can be viewed by clicking the icon