Polish fighter pilots honoured at Dungeness
A tribute to two Polish fighter pilots killed over Dungeness during the Second World War, has been updated and unveiled.
The memorial stands in a quiet area of the EDF owned Estate on the old railway line to the north of the Estate’s main carpark. And on the 80th anniversary of the day the pair died, it was commemorated by the Vicar of Lydd, Rev Chris Maclean and Curate Jacky Darling.
John Benn, Station Director of EDF’s Dungeness B power station, said: “Dungeness Estate has a long, varied and interesting history. But the night during the Second World War that a pilot died here and another close by, is one of the darker moments of that history. When we realised this year marked the 80th anniversary of that night we felt something should be done to flag the bravery of the pilots and the sacrifice they made. So the company collaborated with Richard Kornicki, chairman of the Polish Air Force Memorial Committee, Wojtek Matusiak, an historian, and the Polish Air Force, to gather up the correct information and then put together the new information board.
“I hope the completed memorial prompts visitors to take a moment to reflect on these amazing individuals.”
Polish pilots Mieczysław Waszkiewicz and Bogusław Mierzwa had joined their country’s air force in 1939. But after the German and then Soviet invasions of their country, the pair travelled to Romania and then to England where both joined the 303 Squadron, one of two Polish units which fought alongside the RAF throughout the Battle of Britain.
On April 16 1941 pilots from the 303 Squadron escorted bombers to northern France on a raid but on the way home they were attacked by German fighter planes. Pilot Officer Waszkiewicz was shot down over the English Channel, his body was never recovered. Pilot Officer Mierzwa was shot down and died when his Spitfire crashed at Dungeness.
Richard Kornicki, chairman of the Polish Air Force Memorial Committee, said: “These two Polish pilots fought for our freedom. It is deeply moving that, so many years later, the place of their sacrifice is remembered and honoured by those who live and work there. I would like to thank all those involved with the memorial for the time and effort they have spent to make sure that the memory of these pilots lives from generation to generation. They deserve nothing less."
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