Me­mo­rial gar­den hon­ours Bat­tle of Bri­tain he­roes

Of­fi­cial open­ing on 75th an­niver­sary re­mem­bers Pol­ish pilots

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Kather­ine Cle­men­tine

A NEW Pol­ish War Me­mo­rial Re­mem­brance Gar­den was of­fi­cially opened at the week­end to mark the 75th an­niver­sary of the Bat­tle of Bri­tain.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Hilling­don Coun­cil, the Em­bassy of the Re­pub­lic of Poland in Lon­don, the Pol­ish Air Force Me­mo­rial Com­mit­tee and RAF Northolt stood to­gether to mark the oc­ca­sion on Satur­day (Septem­ber 5).

The gar­den was de­signed and cre­ated by Hilling­don Coun­cil with a con­tri­bu­tion from the Pol­ish Em­bassy.

It was opened by Cllr Ray Pud­di­foot MBE, leader of Hilling­don Coun­cil, and His Ex­cel­lency Wi­told Sobków, the Am­bas­sador of the Re­pub­lic of Poland in Lon­don, at the an­nual Pol­ish Air Force Me­mo­rial Cer­e­mony.

Cllr Pud­di­foot said: “The coun­cil is ex­tremely proud of its close links with the mil­i­tary and we are de­lighted that in this 75th an­niver­sary year, we are able to ac­knowl­edge the sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions made by the Pol­ish Air Force in se­cur­ing vic­tory in the Bat­tle of Bri­tain.

“This gar­den will pro­vide a peace­ful and beau­ti­ful open space for peo­ple to be able to re­mem­ber and re­flect on the piv­otal role they played.”

The open­ing was fol­lowed by the an­nual Pol­ish Air Force Me­mo­rial Cer­e­mony, in which RAF Northolt per­son­nel were on pa­rade and was con­cluded by a Spit­fire from the Bat­tle of Bri­tain Me­mo­rial Flight.

Group Cap­tain David Man­ning, RAF Northolt’s Sta­tion Com­man­der, said: “History recog­nises the sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion of the Pol­ish pilots and air­men dur­ing the Bat­tle of Bri­tain 75 years ago.

“We at RAF Northolt are ex­tremely proud of the close link that we cher­ish and main­tain with the Pol­ish com­mu­ni­ties to this day.

“It has been a su­perb com­mem­o­ra­tion cer­e­mony and as Sta­tion Com­man­der I am hugely hon­oured to be able to rep­re­sent the sta­tion, hon­our the mem­ory of those pilots and air­men, and spend time with the in­spi­ra­tional vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies.”

A Port­land Stone obelisk with gran­ite plaques, one in English and one in Pol­ish were un­veiled in the new gar­den to mark the oc­ca­sion and blessed by Mon­signor Wylezek.

Am­bas­sador Wi­told Sobków, said: “The con­tri­bu­tion made by 145 Pol­ish fighter pilots to the Bat­tle of Bri­tain, who fought in No. 302 and No. 303 Pol­ish Squadrons as well as in Bri­tish units, is a source of im­mense pride for Poland and the Pol­ish com­mu­nity in the UK.

“Out of the over­all num­ber of fighter pilots from Al­lied coun­tries, they con­sti­tuted the sec­ond largest con­tin­gent af­ter the Bri­tish.

“We are very thank­ful to Hilling­don Coun­cil that the sac­ri­fice made by Pol­ish air­men and air­women “for your free­dom and ours” will now be com­mem­o­rated also by this peace­ful gar­den.”

The Pol­ish Air Force Me­mo­rial Cer­e­mony at­tracted rep­re­sen­ta­tion at the high­est lev­els of of­fi­cials from Poland as well as se­nior Bri­tish rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Wreaths were laid by the Pol­ish and Bri­tish Gov­ern­ments, Lo­cal Author­i­ties, the Pol­ish Air Force and the Royal Air Force.

Vet­er­ans of in­di­vid­ual squadrons or their de­scen­dants also laid wreaths for each Pol­ish squadron that flew along­side the Royal Air Force from 1940 to 1945.

In­ter­pre­ta­tion Boards, also in both lan­guages, and in­stalled ad­ja­cent to the obelisk state ‘This Me­mo­rial Gar­den is ded­i­cated with grate­ful thanks to the Pol­ish Air Force by the Lon­don Bor­ough of Hilling­don.’

n RE­MEM­BRANCE: Ken Olisa lay­ing a wreath. Left, Low­er­ing the Stan­dards as the last post is called

Photos by Rob Bourne www.buyapho­totms.co.uk WL154919

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.