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Polish Heritage Flight Awarded Silver Medal of the Polish Army

5 Dec 2022

Polish Heritage Flight Awarded Silver Medal of the Polish Army

The Polish Heritage Flight (PHF) has been awarded the Silver Medal of the Polish Army by the Minister of National Defence of the Republic of Poland, Mariusz Blaszczak. PHF pilots Clive Denney and Dave Harvey and project leader Derek Rusling, received the medals on behalf of the PHF from Deputy Defence Attachés Col Robert Pawlicki and Col Tomasz Ferfecki at a ceremony at the Polish Embassy in London on 2 December.


“It is with the utmost humility and dedication to our duty that we accept this recognition on behalf of the Polish people, whose stories we try to tell, to ‘Remember and Inspire through Unity’” said Derek Rusling.


Clive Denney added, “To fly a Hurricane or Spitfire is an enormous responsibility and privilege, the success of the PHF in the past 3 years has only been possible due to the fantastic support from the public, event organisers, sponsors and in particular the directors and volunteer team of the Historic Aircraft Collection. This award is theirs too.”


Dave Harvey expressed what it means to fly such a significant Spitfire,

“Every time I climb onboard Spitfire BM597, I think of the Polish Airmen that flew this very aeroplane, 80 years ago from RAF Woodvale. Some of their signatures are on the cockpit door and you very much understand, even 80 years on, it is still their Spitfire. It is the ‘Polish Spitfire.”

Among the Polish pilot's signatures on the cockpit door of BM597 are those of Ludwik Martel, who flew the aircraft in 317 Squadron, and of Franciszek Kornicki who later commanded 317 Squadron and who also flew the aircraft during its earlier service in 315 Squadron. It is thought BM597 is the only airworthy Spitfire carrying its wartime Polish markings.


The PHF is based at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and more details are available at these links:


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