Polish veterans to take part in London Victory Celebrations

Polish war veterans will take part in The London Victory Celebrations, marking the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII, on May 8, 2020, Poland’s “Rzeczpospolita” daily wrote on Thursday.

According to the British media, the invitation to the celebrations is compensation for the omission of soldiers of the Polish Armed Forces in the West in participating in the original victory parade organised in 1946. Only representatives of the communist authorities had participated in them, the daily added.

The “Rzeczpospolita” daily received confirmation of the invitation from the Polish Embassy in London. Also, alongside the victory parade, the UK will commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, in which Polish pilots took part.

Perhaps the most famous out of the 16 Polish fighter squadrons that took part in the battle was the No. 303 of Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF). Made up of Polish airmen who shot down 60 Nazi-German aircraft (confirmed kills), the squadron was the highest-scoring fighter units during the Battle of Britain.

Among many initiatives undertaken by the Polish Embassy and Polish diaspora organisations, there is one which certainly draws the attention. The “Victory Flypast - 303” mobile educational installation dedicated to the participation of the courageous Polish airmen is to cruise around the most important landmarks related to the Battle of Britain.

The installation was designed by Austrian architect Alexander Smaga, who also authored the “D-DAY 75 ‘Victory Flypast – Zwycięski Lot’” memorial to Polish airmen who fought in the D-Day in Normandy. Interestingly, Mr Smaga’s ancestors were Polish.

Concerning the “Victory Flypast - 303”, it constitutes of a Spitfire warplane rotor-blade and the steel silhouettes of Polish airmen. The installation will call at London, RAF Northolt, Southampton, Portsmouth, Portsmouth, Coventry, Biggin Hill, Dover, Duxford and memorials at Essex, Kent, Sussex and Hampshire.

Whereas in Poland, the exhibition will be displayed in Warsaw, Poznań, Wrocław, Kraków and Gdańsk.

In 1946, the British government, under pressure from Joseph Stalin, the leader of the USSR, did not invite the Polish Armed Forces who fought with the Allies, to the Victory Parade in London. The parade took place on June 8, 1946, to celebrate the victory over Germany during World War II.