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  • Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland

     

  • NEWS

  • 26 October 2018

    On Saturday, 27th September 2018, a special conference marking the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Polish Air Force took place at the Embassy of Poland in London.

     

    The event, co-organised by the Polish Airmen’s Association UK, examined a wide range of key aspects from the history of the Polish Air Force to create a full picture of how the force evolved over the years and became a pride of the Polish Army.

     

    The conference featured distinguished Polish and British experts in Dr Marcin Kruszyński (Polish Air Force Academy in Dęblin), Dr Paul Latawski (Royal Military Academy Sandhurst), Dr Andrzej Suchcitz (The Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum), Dr Alastair Noble (RAF’s Air Historical Branch), Sqn Ldr Mark Discombe (Battle of Britain Memorial Flight), Dr Andrzej Ossowski (Pomeranian Medical University), Agnieszka Kaczmarska (Józef Piłsudski Museum in Sulejówek), Andrzej Michalski and Michael Parrott (307 Squadron Project), and Sqn Ldr Ronald Kellett's children, Judy Williams and Victor Kellett.

     

     

    During the first session, speakers explored the development of the Polish Air Force during the interwar period, the memoirs of Sqn Ldr Kellett who fought with the 303 Polish Squadron, the two iconic Battle of Britain aircrafts in the Hurricane and the Spitfire, the story of Jadwiga Piłsudska, and the 307 Squadron. The second session focused on the 300 Bomber Squadron, the Polish Air Force Intelligence Service between 1930 and 1945, forensic identification of fallen Polish airmen and airwomen, and the contribution of the Polish Air Force in the West between 1940 and 1945.

     

    Highlighting the importance of celebrating the Polish Air Force during his opening speech, Polish Consul General in London Mateusz Stąsiek said: “This year, we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of Poland regaining its independence, and it makes me so happy that as part of the many commemorations we can celebrate the major chapter of our history that is the Polish Air Force, and spread the word about its invaluable contribution to the history of the UK and the world. It is thanks in large part to the Force and its war achievements that Poland’s ties with the UK are so strong, and the bonds of friendship between our peoples continue despite the uncertain political circumstances, in the true spirit of camaraderie, loyalty and teamwork as demonstrated by our pilots in the Battle of Britain.”

     

     

    The first official combat flight of the Polish Air Force – a symbolic event marking its formation – took place on 5th November 1918, just days before Poland regained its independence. The interwar period saw a fight for the country’s borders and a dynamic reorganisation, expansion and development of the Force. After the invasion of Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union in September 1939, thousands of Poles were forced to escape the country and found their way to France and the United Kingdom to enlist in the reformed Polish Army in the West, where the Polish Air Force was reborn. Many Poles fought in the Polish squadrons in the Battle of Britain, with the 303 Squadron becoming the most successful squadron during the battle. After the war, many airmen and airwomen remained in the United Kingdom as Poland saw a communist regime imposed. The year 1989 brought with it independence, and Poland – together with the Polish Air Force – soon joined NATO, the Partnership for Peace programme and the Air Policing mission, as well as operations in such places as Iraq and Afghanistan.

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