British PM, Polish ambassador pay tribute to heroes of Battle of Britain

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Polish Ambassador to the UK Arkady Rzegocki have laid wreaths at a monument commemorating pilots who took part in the Battle of Britain in the year marking its 80th anniversary.

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“I am extremely proud to be here today, at the Battle of Britain Bunker in Uxbridge, to pay tribute to those individuals who fought hard in the sky and on the ground 80 years ago. One of the decisive confrontations during the battle took place on September 15, 1940. On that day, Winston Churchill visited the HQ of No. 11 Group, Fighter Command here at Uxbridge. Deep underground in the operations room, he witnessed the titanic effort of the men and women working to defend the skies over Britain,” Mr Johnson said.

“Just in this battle, 145 Polish pilots fought alongside British airmen, resisting the Nazi German offensive and giving hope to many in Europe,” Mr Rzegocki said.

“Today’s ceremony is an opportunity to reflect on the Polish-British spirit of friendship and cooperation that our war heroes ignited and our generation nurtures until this day. Glory to the heroes and we will always remember them,” the Polish ambassador emphasised.

In the summer and autumn of 1940, German and British air forces clashed in the skies over the United Kingdom. The daring air campaign to defend Britain from the German air force, which later came to be known as the Battle of Britain, has been described as the first major military campaign to be fought entirely by air forces.

Following the Nazi German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, and subsequent invasion by the Soviet army two weeks later as a part of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, many Polish Air Force fighters left for England.