Poles and Brits celebrated 75th D-Day anniversary at Worcester Cathedral

Jun 24, 2019

On Sunday (16.06.2019) at Worcester Cathedral we marked the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day landing. Just as during the war, we found ourselves standing together again side by side with our British Friends.

The service started by the bells being rung by the Cathedral Guild of Bell Ringers.

During the address, we were reminded of some key events of the Second World War when Polish airmen, soldiers and sailors stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the western Allies, fighting bravely on all fronts and in all major battles – not least the Battle of Britain, in which Polish pilots played a significant part.
In addition, Polish Navy ships and Air Force planes supported the D-Day landings.

Polish Air Force Squadrons at D-Day: 302 Squadron, 308 Squadron and 317 Squadron were part of the 131 Polish Fighter Wing that took part in the invasion alongside the entire 133 Polish Fighter Wing with 306 and 315 Squadrons.
In addition, 303 Squadron also participated performing tasks over the landing area to support the invasion.

As part of the 2nd TAF (Tactical Air Force)-305 Bomber Squadron. 304 Coastal Defence Squadron and 300 Bomber Squadron also took part in the operation.
Other members of the Polish Air Force took part indirectly in support roles, for example, the 316th Fighter Squadron. Polish pilots assigned to RAF Squadrons also flew during the landing.

The Polish Navy participated in 665 battles during WWII and escorted 787 Allied convoys.

Polish Navy ships at D-Day:
•ORP Garland
•ORP Dragon
•ORP Błyskawica
•ORP Piorun
•ORP Słazak
•ORP Krakowiak

Polish Merchant Navy Ships at D-Day:
•Kimicic
•Katowice
•Kraków
•Poznań
•Chorozów
•Wilno
•Narew
•Kordecki

As part of Operation Fortitude, Polish intelligence officer Roman Czerniawski, who was known by various aliases: Brutus, Armand or Walenty, misled German intelligence by sending false messages to Hitler’s army telling them the Allied invasion would be at Pas de Calais, not Normandy.

There were many brave Polish soldiers who took part in D-Day in various guises and contributed to the success of the operation.
Together, we acknowledged the many Polish servicemen and women who gave their lives for freedom in the war against Hitler. We remembered them with gratitude in our hearts.

British and Commonwealth soldiers landed at Juno Gold and Sword. American soldiers were sent to Omaha and to Utah.
Some 5300 ships and craft, 1500 tanks, 12000 planes, and 150000 men took part in D-Day.
It was the largest seaborne invasion in history. This Operation later became known as one of the most successful military operations of all time.

We would like to thank Royal British Legion and many people who worked hard to make this event happen.
The service was sung by the Cathedral Choir, conducted by the acting assistant director of music, Mr. Richard Cook.

Finally, we would like to thank everyone for coming from London, Worcester, Chentalham, Bromsgrow, Manchester, Glasgow, abroad, many other cities and supporting the event.

May our nations long-standing friendship continue 🇵🇱🇬🇧

Author: Tom Wisniewski

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