Warwickshire based Polish airmen who lost their lives while serving with the RAF during the Second World War have been remembered.
On Sunday 4th November, members of the Polish Ex-Combatants Association were joined by representatives of other local Ex-service Associations and the Royal Air Force Air Cadet band from 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 the Polish Airman as 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 Nuneaton's, Oaston Road Cemetery, who lost their lives whilst serving at RAF Bramcote and RAF Nuneaton which were training bases for Polish bomber Squadrons.
Flight Lieutenant Paul Hincks, Officer Commanding 121 (Nuneaton) 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”.
He added, “The link between Nuneaton based Air Cadets and Polish airmen goes back to 1942 when our cadets regularly visited RAF Bramcote and RAF Nuneaton. We have always had a special interest in finding out what happened to the fallen Polish airmen and over the years we have managed to piece together the stories behind the nine graves of Polish airman at Baginton”.
“Over the last two years we have been in touch with the ‘Rwetes' Scout Group from ZHP Puszczykowo near Poznan in Poland who also have a special interest in the history of Polish airmen serving with the RAF. They have also provided us with valuable information relating to their fellow countrymen buried in Nuneaton's, Oaston Road Cemetery”.
“We are keen to keep the relationship between the young people of 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron and the ‘Rwetes' Scout Group in Poland going and once again our cadets have laid a wreath bearing the name of both youth groups on the Polish war graves during this years service”.
“Many years ago the Polish community held an annual service in Nuneaton to remember the many Polish, German and Commonwealth servicemen who are buried in the Oaston Road Cemetery and I am keen to see this old tradition revived and hope to be able to get some support from our local ex-service community for the idea of holding such a service some time during 2013.”
“I was pleased to meet some other young people from the ‘Polish Youth Association in the United Kingdom’ on Sunday who were visiting Baginton for the service and I am delighted to say that they were extremely interested in the idea of holding a similar service at Nuneaton's, Oaston Road Cemetery.”
“Year upon year, the number of people of all generations attending the Polish Ex-Combatants Association Service at Baginton appears to be increasing and I think it most fitting that young people here in the UK and those back in Poland are collaborating in support of what is now a truly international act of Remembrance”.
More photographs from the 2012 Polish Ex-Combatants Association Remembrance Service