The Polish 300 Squadron 'Ziemi Mazowieckiej' of the RAF was based nearby

The small church in the United Kingdom that pays tribute to the Polish airmen of the WW2

During World War II, the United Kingdom experienced a desperate situation after the fall of France at the hands of Nazi Germany.

The 303 Squadron of the RAF: the Polish airmen who defended the United Kingdom
The Berlin 1939–1945 War Cemetery that honors 3,595 allied soldiers

Between 1940 and 1941, Britain became the target of a fierce German air raid campaign, first during the Battle of Britain and then during the Blitz campaign, which focused on civilian targets. , causing tens of thousands of deaths. The United States did not enter the war until December 1941, after japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, so many British, even with the help of their overseas dominions, they felt alone against Nazi Germany.

Faldingworth All Saints Church (Photo: International Bomber Command Centre).

However, the United Kingdom was not alone: many airmen from other countries fought to defend Britain. Hundreds of them arrived from German-occupied countries, but also from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa, also from neutral countries such as the United States and Ireland.

The entrance to All Saints' Church in Faldingworth, with the insignia of the RAF and the Polish Air Force and the letters "BH" carried by the aircraft of 300 Polish Squadron (Photo: National Churches Trust).

The largest group of foreign pilots in the British Royal Air Force (RAF) were Poles. Some 19,400 Polish airmen served in the RAF during the Second World War, as fighter and bomber crews. 16 Polish squadrons were formed in the RAF, and one of them, 303 Squadron "Tadeusz Kościuszko", was the RAF unit with the most victories during the Battle of Britain.

The flags of the RAF and the Polish Air Force inside the church (Photo: Polish Heritage Flight).

Many of those Polish airmen could not return to their homeland at the end of the war, as they were loyal to the Polish Government in exile, based in London, and the communist dictatorship installed by Stalin in Poland called them traitors and stripped them of their nationality. The United Kingdom has not forgotten the sacrifice of those Polish airmen, and there is a Christian temple that fervently remembers it: the Church of All Saints in Faldingworth, belonging to the Anglican Church.

The stained glass window of the church with the historic Polish motto "Za naszą i waszą Wolność", for our and your Freedom (Photo: Polish Heritage Flight).

This church, located in the county of Lincolnshire, in England, was near the former RAF Faldingworth base, built in 1943 and closed in 1972. A Polish unit was located on this base, the 300 Bomber Squadron "Ziemi Mazowieckiej", formed in 1940 with Polish aviators who had managed to reach Great Britain after the German-Soviet invasion of their country and the fall of France. Between 1940 and 1945, this unit carried out 3,891 missions, accumulating 20,264 flight hours. This unit, together with 301 Squadron made up of British pilots, carried out the first Allied air attack on Berlin on the night of March 23 to 24, 1941.

A metal plaque commemorates Polish Air Force personnel who served at RAF Faldingworth (Photo: International Bomber Command Centre).

During these missions, the Polish 300 Squadron lost 79 aircraft, 371 airmen were killed and 87 were captured. After the war the unit handed over its aircraft to the RAF on 11 October 1946 and was disbanded on 2 January 1947.

A table with souvenirs from the 300 Squadron and the coat of arms of this Polish unit inside the church (Photo: International Bomber Command Centre).

The small Church of All Saints in Faldingworth remembers those Polish airmen and the British pilots who fought alongside it from its entrance. Its door includes the insignia of the RAF and the Polish Air Force and the letters "BH", which were worn by the aircraft of 300 Squadron. On the left side of the Church there is a stained glass window that also includes the British and Polish insignia, and the text "Za naszą i waszą Wolność" (For our and your Freedom), one of the national mottos of Poland, widely used during World War II. On the wall are the flags of the RAF and the Polish Air Force. Next to the Polish flag is a metal plaque commemorating the Polish airmen who served at RAF Faldingworth.

A replica of an Avro Lancaster bomber from the Polish 300 Squadron preserved inside the church (Photo: International Bomber Command Centre).

If you want to see this church better, in this video published a few months ago by The Village Idiot shows its interior:


Main photo: National Churches Trust.

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