80th anniversary of Battle of Britain honoured by the Senate

Poland's Senate adopted a resolution on Wednesday, commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and the role played in it by, among other heroes, Polish pilots.

The resolution was approved by 85 senators, with no abstentions and no votes against.

The Senate described the Battle of Britain as "one of the most decisive battles of the Second World War," which showed that the course of the war could be reversed, and that the participation of Polish pilots in it was priceless.

The upper house recalled in its resolution that 145 Polish pilots fighting in the Battle of Britain, both in Polish and British squadrons, shot down over 200 German planes. Twenty-nine Polish pilots were killed during the battle.

The Battle of Britain was a WWII military campaign in which the RAF successfully defended the United Kingdom against the German Luftwaffe between June and October 1940. Notable in the battle were 16 Polish squadrons formed from pilots who escaped from Poland after the country was invaded in 1939 by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Among them was the famous No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron - the highest-scoring and boasting the highest ratio of enemy aircraft destroyed to their own losses of any squadron in the RAF.

Despite the Poles' willingness to fight, initially they did not have the consent of the RAF. This was due to the fact that few Polish exiles spoke English and their morale was initially questioned. The British did not yet realise that many of the Poles were excellent pilots. They had been through the Polish and French campaigns, had more combat experience than most of their British comrades, and also used brilliant tactics.

Speaking about heroic actions by pilots fighting in the Battle of Britain, then British PM Winston Churchill said that "never (...) was so much owed by so many to so few."

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