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Coventry's Polish Airmen Remembered

Cadet drummers from the band of 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron lead the procession through the village of Baginton to the St John the Baptist Cemetery - Click to view more imagesWarwickshire based Polish airmen who lost their lives while serving with the RAF during the second World War have been remembered.

On Sunday 1 st November members of the Polish Ex-Combatants Association were joined by representatives of other local Ex-service Associations and Air Cadet drummers from the band of 121 ( Nuneaton ) Squadron who led the procession for a Remembrance Service at the St John the Baptist Cemetery , Baginton near Coventry Airport . The Service was held to remember the valour of the Polish Airman who lost their lives whilst serving with the RAF in the area during the Second World War.

The service was conducted by the Rev Romuald Szczodrowsdki, leader of the area's Polish Catholic Community who is based in Spingfield Road , Coventry.

During the service Polish veterans and their families, members of other ex-service associations and the Air Cadets from 121 (Nuneaton) and 84 (Coventry Airport) Squadrons stood side by side in silent vigil at the graves of Polish Airman as the bugler Sergeant Amiee Easterlow of the Nuneaton Air Cadet band sounded the Last Post and the standards were dipped in salute of those who gave their lives in the service of their country and the defence of Britain.

There are nine graves of Polish airman at Baginton. They were serving with 308 ( Krakow ) Squadron which flew both Spitfires and Hurricanes from RAF Baginton, now Coventry Airport . There are also many more of their fellow countrymen buried in the Nuneaton , Oaston Road Cemetery who lost their lives whilst serving at RAF Bramcote and RAF Nuneaton which were training bases for Polish bomber Squadrons.

Standards dipped in salute to those who gave their lives in the service of their country and the defence of Britain - Click to view more images

Flight Lieutenant Paul Hincks of 121 Squadron said, “We are always delighted to be able to attend the Polish Ex-Combatants Association Remembrance Service. It's so important that we don't forget the ultimate sacrifice made by so many fallen Polish airmen who served with the RAF at local airfields during the war”.

Pilot Officer Michael Drahun who served with the RAF as a Wireless Operator on Wellington Bombers proudly wearing his Polish and British medals - Click to view more imagesHe added, “It's also an excellent opportunity for the cadets to meet some of the Polish veterans and listen to some of their fascinating stories. People like 85 year old Michael Drahun who served as a Wireless Operator on Wellington Bombers”.

Michael, only 18 years old at the time was captured by the Russians and sent to Siberia . He managed to escape and started an epic journey from Russia through Iran , India and eventually making his way to South Africa and then on to Britain where he joined the RAF. He was posted to RAF Bramcote near Nuneaton where he trained as a Wireless Operator on Wellingtons . Pilot Officer Michael Drahun also saw service with the RAF Metrological Office in Italy.

Flight Lieutenant Hincks went on to say, “I can't imagine how difficult it must have been for Michael, no older than some of our cadets and finding himself thrown into the turmoil of war and yet managing to summon up the strength and courage to go virtually half way around the world to join the RAF and continue the fight for his homeland”.

He added, “Young cadets from all three services will be out on the streets next Saturday collecting for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal and I would urge everyone to dig deep and buy a poppy.

“On Sunday 8 th of November the Nuneaton Air Cadet Band will also have the honour of leading the parade of veterans from the Royal British Legion and other ex-service organisations to and from the Nuneaton War Memorial in Riversley Park for the towns Remembrance Service and I would encourage other people to come along and take part in the service”.

121 (Nuneaton) Squadron’s Air Cadet drummers with Rev Romuald Szczodrowsdki, bugler Amiee Easterlow, J.Jankowski with Polish Ex-Combatants Association Standard and Michael Drahun - Click to view more images

More photographs from Polish Ex-Combatants Association Remembrance Service


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