The year 2020 marks the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. The United Kingdom remembers the contribution of 145 Polish airmen, who fought shoulder to shoulder with the Allies against Germany.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill put it eloquently in a speech in August 1940, saying:
“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few”
The brave airmen who fought during the Battle of Britain are known as The Few. Among The Few, are an even smaller group: the men of the Polish Air Force, whose gallantry during the Battle of Britain played a vital role in defeating the Luftwaffe.
To mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, the Embassy of the Republic of Poland has presented an exhibition telling the story of Poles in the Battle of Britain.
HRH Duke of Kent has unveiled the exhibition in front of the Polish Embassy, located on Portland Place in London.
Prince Edward, Duke of Kent is the grandson of King George V, who ruled the British Empire that expanded to over 36 million square kilometres at the time of Prince Edward birth. Being a grandson of the British monarch in the male line, he is the “Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” and “His Royal Highness”. His father and father of Queen Elizabeth II were brothers.
During the unveiling of the exhibition, HRH Duke of Kent said:
“Many thanks to His Excellency the Ambassador Arkady Rzegocki for his kind welcome to the Polish Embassy and his invitation to open the Exhibition to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and to honour the contribution of the Polish airmen.
The story of the Polish pilots during the Battle of Britain is remarkably inspiring and is always worth retelling. Their courage, resilience and determination are legendary.
This exhibition will ensure more people are aware of what took place, and that the exploits of the “Few”, will never be forgotten.
The Polish contingent of airmen was the second largest in Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain. This shows the level of commitment, as ‘brothers in arms’, but is also underlines the ties that bind our two nations.
It therefore gives me great pleasure to open the Polish airmen in the Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary Exhibition.”
The Duke of Kent visited Poland several times taking part in various ceremonies. He was awarded the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland for his work on the Polish-British relations. He is a chairman of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, a leading charity for RAF ex-servicemen. He likes to pay visits to one of the oldest Polish restaurants in London – Daquise, to satisfy his taste for Polish dishes he has been familiar with since childhood. He is also a regular guest to the ‘Ognisko’ – the Polish Hearth Club in London’s South Kensington. The ‘Ognisko’ was opened by his parents on July 16, 1940, and the Duke is the club’s patron.
The exhibition is available to view until 31 October 2020.
Pictures: British Poles