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Annual Commemoration of Homage for Fallen Polish Airmen

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6 August 2023

Annual Commemoration of Homage for Fallen Polish Airmen


The Polish Air Force Memorial Committee will stage the annual and 62nd Commemoration of Homage for Fallen Polish Airmen on Saturday, 2nd September 2023, at 12.00, at the Polish Air Force Memorial, South Ruislip. The ceremony will be conducted in English and Polish and everyone is welcome.


Invited guests will include dignitaries, representing national and local government, Polish and Royal Air Forces and various organisations and associations. Guests’ dress code will be uniform, lounge suit or equivalent. Decorations will be worn and descendants will be encouraged to wear inherited medals on the right side of the jacket.


The ceremony will open with the marching in of the replica Polish Air Force Standard by Officer Cadets from the Polish Air Force University, Dęblin and the Silk Ensign of the RAF.  This should coincide with a fly-past of a Hurricane from the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, weather and serviceability permitting.


Polish Air Force Memorial Committee Chairman Richard Kornicki CBE DL will follow with an opening address, welcoming dignitaries, veterans, guests and the public.  His address will be followed by the Polish Roll-Call of the Fallen, carried out by the Polish Air Force Officer Cadets.


After prayers in Polish the invited dignitaries will lay wreaths on the Memorial to be 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 will be led by the Rt Rev Paul Mason, Catholic Bishop to the Armed Forces followed by the Last Post and a minute’s silence ending with Reveille.


​The ceremony will end with the Polish and UK national anthems and withdrawal of the Standards followed by the playing of ‘White Roses’. Personal wreaths will be laid after the ceremony ends.  Music will be provided by musicians of the RAF Central Band with the kind permission of the Air Force Board of the Defence Council.


Invited guests will then transfer to RAF Northolt for a reception and lunch in the Officers’ Mess, while being entertained by Polish dancers. PAFMC Commendations will be awarded to people who, with no personal connections with Poland, have made an exceptional contribution to preserving the memory of Polish Airmen.


Weather and serviceability permitting the Hurricane from the Polish Heritage Flight’s Historic Aircraft Collection at Duxford, now in the colours of Polish 302 Sqn, will provide a flypast and land and park close to the Officers’ Mess. The starboard side has been finished as P2954 with the code WX-E, the Hurricane flown by F/Lt Tadeusz Chlopik, while the port side represents P3935 code WX-D, the aircraft of F/Lt and later W/Cdr Julian Kowalski.


The PAFMC has been organising the Annual Ceremony of Homage to fallen Polish airmen since 2011 after officially succeeding the Polish Air Force Association Charitable Trust (PAFACT) which dissolved at the end of 2010. The PAFMC is the designated successor of the war-time PAF and the organisations which represented it after the war.


The Memorial is situated at the junction of the A40 and the West End Road, South Ruislip. The nearest Underground is South Ruislip. Limited parking (at own risk) will be available at McGovern Park GAA 200 yds up the West End Rd, or adjacent side streets.


Other Polish Air Force heritage sites in Hillingdon can be found at:

For those who will not be to attend we are planning to live stream the Northolt ceremony via our Facebook page. This can be found at this link or via our website and click on the Facebook icon.


Historic background.

General Władysław Sikorski, the former Prime Minister of the Polish Government in Exile and Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Armed Forces, formed the Polish Air Force early in 1940. He made the historic decision to make Lotnictwo Wojskowe (Military Aviation), the then air arm of the Polish Army, a completely independent member of the Polish Armed Forces. Thus on 1 March 1940 Military Aviation became the independent Polskie Siły Powietrzne (PSP) the Polish Air Force (PAF) under the overall command of General Józef Zając, but eventually under the operational command of the RAF after it transferred to Britain following the capitulation of France.


Just after the war, in the summer of 1945, a group of Polish airmen formed the Polish Air Force Association (PAFA) with the Polish name Stowarzyszenie Lotników Polskich (SLP) to meet the needs of those who stayed in exile in Britain. 


The PAFA subsequently became the PAFACT in 1987, which continued until it was dissolved in December 2010. To enable the continuation of its most important functions prior to dissolution, such as the annual Commemoration of Fallen Polish Airmen at the Polish Air Force Memorial, it formed the PAFMC as its successor body. This was done with the explicit agreement of the Commander in Chief of the PAF, Lt Gen Lech Majewski, and the Chief of the Air Staff for the Royal Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton. Sir Stephen continues to this day as PAFMC’s Patron. Trust funds were divided between various recipients in agreement with the Charity Commission; its records were transferred to the Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum; and all other art works, property and memorabilia, including the PAFA Standard, became the property of PAFMC.




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