It is the first permanent exhibition highlighting the pivotal role that Polish airmen played during the Battle of Britain and it is on this occasion that UK PM Boris Johnson explicitly said that his country’s debt to the courageous aces “is eternal”.
Officially opened on May 21 by Poland's Ambassador Arkady Rzegocki and London Borough of Hillingdon Councillor Ray Puddifoot in the presence of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the exhibition is located at the Battle of Britain Bunker in west London.
On display are exhibits and documents, many of which have not been shown to the public until now. The array of exhibited objects tells stories of Polish combat missions during WWII. The exhibition does not focus exclusively on the airmen as it also brings the role and importance of observers, ground crew and the Polish Women's Auxiliary Air Force to the fore.
Visitors are able to learn about the journeys undertaken by Polish Air Force personnel following the invasion of Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939. The exhibition explores the military preparations in pre-war Poland and how the Polish Government in exile and military were organised in France and Britain during 1940.
During the opening ceremony, PM Johnson said that the Spitfire fighter plane on display in the Battle of Britain Bunker always reminded him of Polish pilots' bravery and efficacy in shooting down German planes in the Battle of Britain. He expressed his absolute conviction that the outcome of the battle would have been much different, should there be no Poles to fight on Britain’s side and that his country’s debt to the Polish pilots was eternal.
Polish Ambassador to the UK Arkady Rzegocki said the Battle of Britain, whose 80th anniversary was commemorated last year, "turned the tide of WWII."
“Our debt is eternal": 🇬🇧 PM @BorisJohnson praised #BoBPoles' skills & courage, echoing ACM Sir H. Dowding's words: "[Without 🇵🇱] the outcome of the #BattleofBritain would have been very, very different." He congratulated the exhibition's creators, finishing with "Dziękuję!" pic.twitter.com/OLvowK9pEA— Polish Embassy UK 🇵🇱 (@PolishEmbassyUK) May 22, 2021