A museum dedicated to Polish WWII airmen will open in Lincolnshire

A heritage centre exclusively devoted to Polish WWII airmen is set to open at the former RAF Ingham air base in Lincolnshire next weekend. 

During WWII, three Polish bomber squadrons were stationed at this location in northern England. It marks the first museum solely dedicated to the contributions of Polish fliers to the British and Allied war efforts against Germany. 

Geoff Burton, the Chairman of RAF Ingham Heritage Centre, expressed his delight at the culmination of years of hard work by dedicated volunteers. He informed Lincolnshire Today about the unique nature of the centre, which focuses entirely on the fate of Polish airmen in the UK, distinguishing it from broader exhibitions.

Burton emphasised the global significance of the project, narrating the story of Polish Bomber Squadrons fighting alongside the RAF above the British sky. Additionally, it commemorates the history of RAF Ingham, a small Lincolnshire airfield that existed solely during the war years.

Following 14 years of dedication from local volunteers and history enthusiasts, the museum has been established in the old outbuilding where the mess hall was located during the war. Burton anticipates visitors from the local area, regionally, and nationally, as well as international visitors from Poland, USA, Canada, and Australia, owing to the Centre’s unique focus.

Polish fighter pilots, owing to their training in Poland and combat experience during the German invasion of Poland in 1939 and subsequent invasion of France in 1940, were among the most experienced fliers under RAF command during the Battle of Britain in 1940.

Their significant contribution, despite their small numbers, received widespread recognition during and after the war. The Polish Air Force in the UK also operated several bomber squadrons.

RAF Ingham base operated for six years, from 1940 to 1946. Initially serving as an auxiliary to nearby RAF Hemswell, it housed Polish 301 and 305 bomber squadrons, later joined by 300 squadrons and three British RAF squadrons. 

The grand opening of the Polish-British Museum RAF Ingham will take place on 20-21 April between 10-15.

Image: X @Polak_z_uk, Richard E Flagg, RAF Ingham

Author: Sébastien Meuwissen