Photo courtesy of the Polish Embassy
26 Sept 2022
The annual and 61st Ceremony of Homage to Fallen Polish Airmen during World War II, organised by the Polish Air Force Memorial Committee (PAFMC), was held at the Polish Air Force Memorial at South Ruislip on Saturday 3 September.
The ceremony opened with a trumpeter sounding the assembly and a fly past of a Spitfire from the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight followed by a Parade of Standards led by the replica Polish Air Force Standard. Polish Air Force Memorial Committee Chairman Richard Kornicki CBE DL, welcomed dignitaries, veterans, guests and the public.
Rector Commandant of the Polish Air Force University, Dęblin, Brigadier General Krzysztof Cur, paid tribute to the fallen Polish airmen in a moving speech. (His speech is available in full by clicking the link below)
His address was followed by the Polish Roll-Call of the Fallen, carried out by the Officer Cadets of the Polish Air Force University, Dęblin, six of whom had cycled for 13 days from Dęblin, escorted by Major Grzegorz Buśko. Prayers followed by Ks Stefan Wylężek, Rector of the Polish Catholic Mission in England and Wales.
Invited dignitaries, representing national and local government, Polish and Royal Air Forces and various organisations and associations laid wreaths on the Memorial. They were followed by veterans and descendants of the Polish Squadrons and Units commemorated on the Memorial that flew alongside the RAF from 1940 to 1945. Concluding Prayers were followed by the Last Post and a minute’s silence ending with Reveille.
The ceremony ended with the Polish and UK national anthems and withdrawal of the Standards followed by the trumpeter playing ‘White Roses’. Personal wreaths were laid after the end of the ceremony. Music was provided by the RAF Central Band with the kind permission of the Air Force Board of the Defence Council.
Invited guests transferred to RAF Northolt for a reception and lunch in the Station’s historic Officers’ Mess, which now includes the Polish Air Force Exhibition opened in May by the Consul General of Poland, Mateusz Stąsiek. Guests were entertained by Polish dancers followed by PAFMC chairman Richard Kornicki’s presentation of a Commendation to aviation enthusiast Lewis Shelley who, with no personal connections with Poland, made an exceptional contribution to preserving the memory of the Polish Air Force by identifying the site of Sgt František’s fatal crash during the Battle of Britain enabling a Memorial to be created at the spot.
Brigadier General Krzysztof Cur presented PAFMC chairman Richard Kornicki with the Commemorative Badge of the Polish Air Force University for his dedication and long-term work in promoting the memory and achievements of the Polish Air Force.
A Spitfire from the Historic Aircraft Collection at Duxford, which flew in Polish 315 and 317 Sqns during the war, provided a flypast and landed and taxied close to the Officers’ Mess. Officer Cadets of the Polish Air Force University, Dęblin, each sat in the cockpit, prior to acting as ground crew to turn the aircraft round ready for taxiing out for takeoff.
Photos in the slide show are courtesy of Marek Borzęcki, unless otherwise stated.
An archival record of the Commemoration by Marek Borzęcki is available on YouTube at the following link: https://youtu.be/cglv7nLXRZI
Polish TV has posted a short clip of the Northolt ceremony and is available at 2.40 into the following link. https://magazynzwysp.tvp.pl/62304521/odc-208-magazyn-z-wysp
Next year’s Commemoration will take place on Saturday 2 September at 12.00