Polish War Memorial

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The Polish War Memorial
Detail of the memorial. Note that the cities of "Lwow" and "Wilno" are now Lviv and Vilnius respectively.
Some of the names at the rear of the memorial.

The Polish War Memorial is a memorial erected in England to remember the contribution of airmen from Poland who helped the Allied cause during the Second World War.

It is situated beside the A40/A4180 roundabout junction near RAF Northolt in South Ruislip in the London Borough of Hillingdon.[1] The Polish War Memorial is often used by locals as a landmark when giving directions and in broadcasts of traffic reports, as it is prominently situated by a major road junction on one of the main routes into London.

The Polish Air Forces in France and Great Britain supported the Allied powers during the Second World War. A group of Polish officers who remained in Britain after the war formed the Polish Air Force Association and decided to erect a memorial. A committee, led by Air Vice Marshal Izycki, raised the necessary funds mostly from British people, and the memorial was unveiled on 2 November 1948 by Lord Tedder, Chief of the Air Staff, after a speech by Viscount Portal of Hungerford in which he said that it was a sad blow that many Polish veterans were unable to return home, as their country had been occupied by the Soviet Union. He added that it would be to the mutual advantage of Britons and Poles that the latter were to make their home in Britain.[1]

The memorial was designed by Mieczysław Lubelski, who had been interned in a Nazi German concentration camp during the war. The memorial is made from Portland stone and Polish granite, with bronze lettering and a bronze eagle - the symbol of the Polish Air Force.[2] The names of 1,243 Polish airmen who died during the war were inscribed on the memorial, and a further 659 names added between 1994 and 1996, when the memorial was refurbished and rededicated.[1] The memorial was given Grade II listed status in 2002.[3]

Polish presidents Lech Wałęsa and Aleksander Kwaśniewski have both visited the war memorial to lay a wreath, in 1991 and 2004 respectively.[4]

Memorial after 2010 refurbishment

The memorial was refurbished in 2010 in time for the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.[2] In September 2012, a replica of the Polish wartime standard, the Wilno Standard, was paraded at the memorial as part of a memorial ceremony.[5]

Other Polish Memorials[edit]

Other Polish war memorials exist within the United Kingdom; in St Clement Danes Church, and at Audley End, Brookwood Cemetery, the former RAF Chailey, Plymouth, the National Memorial Arboretum, Buckden Pike, Bradley Newark-on-Trent, and between Terminals 2 and 3 at Manchester International Airport (the former RAF Ringway), in England; at Wrexham and Cardiff in Wales; and at Douglas, Duns, Invergordon, Perth and Prestwick in Scotland.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Polish War Memorial". London Borough of Ealing. Retrieved 20 October 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Polish War Memorial restored for Battle of Britain Anniversary". London Borough of Hillingdon. 27 August 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2011. 
  3. ^ Historic England, "The Polish War Memorial (1088113)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 14 July 2016 
  4. ^ "Polish president welcomed to UK". BBC News. 5 May 2004. Retrieved 8 March 2011. 
  5. ^ Drewett, Zoe (12 September 2012). "Replica wartime flag unveiled at Polish memorial ceremony". Uxbridge Gazette. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°32′56″N 0°24′01″W / 51.548809°N 0.400239°W / 51.548809; -0.400239