Bow Group calls for Polish RAF contributions at the Battle of Britain to be memorialised and included on the national education syllabus

Home Affairs
Friday, September 23, 2016

 

Following the 76th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain and our commemoration event, the Bow Group calls for Polish RAF contributions at the Battle of Britain to be memorialised in central London and included on the national education syllabus

UPDATE: Former Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, The Rt Hon. The Lord Ashcroft KCMG and Bow Group Parliamentary Board Member Daniel Hannan MEP support the memorial.


"The Bow Group proudly campaigned for Brexit, but we didn't campaign to make Polish people feel unwelcome in Britain. We condemn xenophobic attacks on Poles in the UK as we also honour the proud tradition of alliance between Poles & Brits.

No one can deny the significance of the Polish contribution to the Battle of Britain once they know the story, and it's a story everyone in Britain needs to hear. A prominent memorial in central London and inclusion in the national education syllabus would remind us all of this proud moment in our history for Brits and Poles alike"

- Bow Group Chairman Cllr. Ben Harris-Quinney


"The impact of those Polish fighter pilots was even greater than their number suggests. By sheer weight of numbers, the Luftwaffe were winning.  Just in time came the battle-hardened Poles, who had escaped the Germans and were here, eager, skilled, to fight for their country and ours. They turned the battle. The Luftwaffe backed off. The invasion of Britain was cancelled.

There are not many people much more English than me, but I am proud to be English, in an England which has welcomed so many into our midst, who live by our standards and want to make this again a great country."

- Bow Group Senior Patron The Rt Hon. Lord Tebbit (RAF Flight Officer - RET)


Following the Bow Group's Battle of Britain Day Celebrations event, the Group now calls for the crucial contributions of the brave Polish RAF pilots to be memorialised with a stand-alone statue in central London.

Given the significance of their heroism, and in times of heightened tensions across the European continent, the Bow Group also calls for the faithful service of the Polish airmen to be included within the national education syllabus so that their memory can be passed on to subsequent generations.

Key Points:

  • The Bow Group calls for a memorial in central London to commemorate the service of the 145 Polish airmen to Britain.
  • The Bow Group calls for the inclusion of the contribution or Polish airmen in the Battle of Britain to our national curriculum.
  • This campaign is in partnership with Senator Anna Maria Anders (Polish Secretary of State for International Dialogue), Mr. Daniel Kawczynski MP (Foreign Affairs Select Committee), Prince Janek Zylinski and Bow Group Senior Patron The Rt Hon. The Lord Tebbit of Chingford CH.
  • The Bow Group campaigned for Britain to leave the European Union, but has also campaigned for the status and rights of EU Citizens already in the United Kingdom to remain in place.

Proposals:

1.     A prominent monument to be constructed in a central London public park to commemorate the contribution of the Polish airmen to the Battle of Britain.

2.     The national education curriculum to feature the Polish RAF airmen's role as part of World War II history lessons.

Quotes:

Bow Group Senior Patron, The Rt Hon. Lord Tebbit of Chingford CH (RAF Flight Officer - RET) said:


"I was taught at school during the war years history, and in particular the history of Europe through the 19th and early 20th Century, by an inspirational woman teacher who we knew as Miss Rudwig. It was many years later that I discovered she was really Miss Rudwigski and that I had been taught the history of Europe by a Pole.

It gives one a slightly different angle on these things and underlines that view of Margaret Thatcher that Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakian Republic were not Eastern Europe but were the centre of Europe.

During the war I was aware of the strangers in our country – Aussies, Kiwis, South Africans, Poles, Czechs – who were fighting on our side. Only much later did I fully understand how close we had been to defeat and how the arrival of the battle-hardened Poles swung the battle back towards free Europe and against the Nazis.

The failure of the Luftwaffe to win command of the air led to the cancellation of Operation Sea Lion to invade these islands and gave time for Churchill to pursue his plan of dragging the Americans into the war. We were saved by the intervention of, not least, the Poles, to win the Battle of Britain.

The impact of those Polish fighter pilots was even greater than their number suggests. By sheer weight of numbers, the Luftwaffe were winning. We had no shortage of aircraft, but we were running out of pilots. Young men, having only just won their wings, were being thrown into battle against the Luftwaffe’s experienced pilots. Some were shot down within days.

Just in time, came the battle-hardened Poles, who had escaped the Germans and were here, eager, skilled, to fight for their country and ours.
They turned the battle. The Luftwaffe backed off. The invasion of Britain was cancelled.

There are not many people much more English than me, but I am proud to be English, in an England which has welcomed so many into our midst, who live by our standards and want to make this again a great country."
 
His Highness Prince Janek Zylinski said:

“I believe that we are Britain’s best ally and the time when we proved it, our real entry card into this country, was the Battle of Britain.

That’s when we got the right to be here. We proved our commitment to this country. I feel that - really - we paid with our blood. Most people don’t know about the key role of the Polish pilots at the Battle of Britain and that needs to change.

During the Battle of Britain, Britain was losing the battle until the Poles came along, because they were battle-hardened. They’d already dealt with the German air force a year earlier when the Germans invaded Poland. They’d seen their families murdered, their houses, their villages, their towns destroyed.

Therefore, in a sense, they had nothing to lose. That gave them no fear. They had no fear.

Britain’s greatness has been about working with other nations. Britain has a genius for coordinating other nations towards a common aim, and it succeeded brilliantly during the Second World War. I’m very keen for Britain to resume its traditional role of coordinating all these various different nations, and the largest minority in this country at the moment are the Polish people.

One of the purposes, apart from saying thank you to the Polish pilots - those who actually made that huge contribution - is to change the awareness in this country."

Bow Group Chairman, Cllr Ben Harris-Quinney said:

"The Bow Group proudly campaigned for Brexit, but we didn't campaign to make Polish people feel unwelcome in Britain. We condemn xenophobic attacks on Poles in the UK as we also honour the proud tradition of alliance between Poles & Brits.

No one can deny the significance of the Polish contribution to the Battle of Britain once they know the story, and that's a story everyone in Britain needs to hear. A prominent memorial in central London and inclusion in the national education syllabus would remind us all of a proud moment in our history for Brits and Poles alike"

Polish Minister for International Dialogue, Senator Anna Maria Anders said:

"This is a tremendous idea. What it's all about is the co-operation between Poland and England.

This is about appreciation for what Poland did during the war. It would be a great gesture, it is about the pilots for the Battle of Britain, but I think it's also perhaps a gesture to all the Polish people who fought with the Allied forces during the Second World War and contributed to a free world and, above all, a free Poland.

The Polish Government will support this, because I think they will see it the way I do. There is a lot of concern in Poland about what has been happening in the UK. A gesture like this would serve to calm everybody down, the UK still loves Poland and Poland still loves the UK.

Mr. Daniel Kawczynski MP said:

“It is vital that we pass on to the next generation the proud legacy of the Polish pilots, ground crew, and administrative staff that fought in the Battle of Britain, so they can do the same.

No other nation sent as many airmen to fight in the battle of Britain than Poland, indeed one in five of all pilots flying in the Battle of Britain was Polish. That is something we should celebrate and we should thank Poland for that unique contribution. This co-operation between Britons and Poles is truly special and should never be forgotten.

I am, therefore, delighted to join The Bow Group, Prince Janek Zylinski, Senator Anna Maria Anders and Lord Tebbit in calling for these extraordinary men and their historic accomplishments to be memorialised with a stand-alone statue in central London and a place in our national education syllabus.

As the first ever Polish-born British Member of Parliament, I am passionate about engaging with Poland in post-Brexit.

I campaigned very strongly for Brexit in my constituency and we won. But that doesn't mean to say, we will never continue to co-operate with Poland and engage in a tailor-made relationship and a bilateral basis with our Polish friends and allies; through trade, through partnership, but also most importantly in NATO and in our common defence capability.

We have heard expressions of the concerns about the Polish diaspora on certain number of attacks on them post-Brexit. With this in mind, we held a debate in the House of Commons last month on the contribution of Poles to the United Kingdom. So we were accentuating not just their unique contribution during the Battle of Britain, but the extraordinary contribution that the 900,000 strong Polish community in this country continue to contribute to our country today.

I think it is extremely important to share this message with the younger generation so that they remember and never forget the extraordinary contribution.

I also ask Mrs. May, our new Prime Minister, to visit the Polish War Memorial at the earliest opportunity - although she's been in the post a short time - I think it's extremely important that she visits the Polish War Memorial with senior members of the Polish diaspora to show just how grateful we all are for the Polish contribution and how we are all looking forward to working with the Poles in the future."