Hundreds of local residents, veterans, civic dignitaries, air cadets, scouts and personnel from RAF Northolt gathered at the Polish War Memorial in South Ruislip on Saturday 7 September to remember the Polish airmen who gave their lives whilst serving with the RAF in WW2.
The ceremony, which commenced at midday with a flypast by a Spitfire from the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, was attended by the new Polish Ambassador, His Excellency Mr Witold Sobków; the Mayors of Hillingdon, Ealing, and Deputy Mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham; as well as many other veterans and dignitaries. The Chief of the Air Staff was represented by Air Vice-Marshal Tim Bishop.
For the third time the event was enhanced by the presence, of a group from the Polish Air Force Academy at Deblin. The Officer Cadets, led by Major Mariusz Garbacz, recited the “Roll Call of the Fallen” and laid a wreath on behalf of the group. RAF Northolt Station Commander Group Captain Andy Bacon and the Acting Polish Defence Attaché Colonel Piotr Pacek laid a wreath, in their role as co-Presidents of the Polish Air Force Memorial Committee, which now organises the ceremony.
Musical accompaniment was provided by the Middlesex Wing Air Training Corps band and a trumpeter and drummer from the Band of the RAF Regiment based at RAF College Cranwell.
The Wilno Standard was paraded by representatives of the Queen’s Colour Squadron. The original standard was carried throughout WW2 by the Polish Air Force Squadrons in the RAF and was handed back to a democratic Poland in 1992.
Event organiser Richard Kornicki CBE said, “I was delighted with the turnout and how smoothly everything ran on the day. It is so important to remember the contribution made by Polish airmen and women during World War 2 and that contribution is exemplified by the Polish airmen who served at RAF Northolt. The link between the Polish Air Force and the RAF is as strong as ever and is evident in the support given by RAF Northolt in organising this annual event.”
RAF Northolt was the home to Polish Fighter Squadrons during the war, including the famous 303 Squadron, which was the top scoring squadron in the Battle of Britain.
Editor: Sqn Ldr Willis
Officer Cadets from the Polish Air Force Academy at Deblin recite the “Roll Call of the Fallen” in Polish.
RAF/MOD Crown Copyright 2013