A Polish Spitfire and Hurricane will constitute the new Polish Heritage Flight, set up by the Historic Aircraft collection to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
The Polish Heritage Flight will be a tribute to the Air Force of Poland – Britain’s only ally in 1940 – as well as to pilots of all other nations who came to Britain. As Dowding said: “Had it not been for the magnificent material contributed by the Polish Squadrons, and their unsurpassed gallantry, I hesitate to say the outcome of the Battle would have been the same.”
The Historic Aircraft Collection has had a long-standing and significant relationship with Poland. Supermarine Spitfire BM597 a genuine wartime aircraft which served with 315 and 317 Polish Squadrons. Hawker Hurricane G-HURI took its part in commemorating Polish heritage as the star of the recent 303 Squadron film, markings it proudly still wears today.
To help commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain in 2020, Historic Aircraft Collection are very proud to confirm these aeroplanes will operate as the “Polish Heritage Flight” as a mark of respect to all those, from all nations who came to Britain to fight the Nazi regime.
HAC Director Janice Black said “We are very proud of our association with Poland and it is a huge responsibility not only as custodians of these historic aeroplanes but to ensure the stories, people and sacrifices they represent continue to be shared with new generations. In due course we intend to form a Trust to purchase and run these aircraft as a living memorial to all the Polish pilots who fought alongside their British and commonwealth compatriots.”
Chairman of the Polish Air Force Memorial Committee, Richard Kornicki, welcomed the initiative, saying: “Our Committee is delighted to support the creation of the Polish Heritage Flight: it provides the perfect counterpart to our own educational and historical work, bringing it to life as nothing else could. We hope to have both aircraft of the Flight present at RAF Northolt during our annual Commemoration of the Polish Air Force in September – the Polish pilots who flew from there would be immensely proud that their memory is honoured in this way.”
Historic Aircraft Collection pilots Dave Harvey and Clive Denney will head up the project team along with HAC Volunteer Derek Rusling. Clive and Derek were part of the team who delivered ‘Merlins Over Malta’ in 2005.
Joining them is Scott Booth from the Laguna Spitfire Legacy project. Scott and the Laguna Spitfire Legacy team will be a key aspect in helping to deliver the story to the public. Further information on this project can be found at: www.lagunasspitfirelegacy.org
As well as the Polish Heritage Flight, Historic Aircraft Collections unique inter-war Hawker Fury & Nimrod biplane Fighters as well as the Airco DH9 1st World War Bomber, are available for events during 2020. Visit www.historicaircraftcollection.ltd.uk/ for further information.