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Ceremony in honour of Polish pilots – Plumetot (Normandy, France), 9 June 2019

Plumetot in France hosted a ceremony in honour of Polish pilots who provided air shield to the Allied troops during Operation Overlord and the Allied offensive in France.




The ceremony took place on Sunday, 9 June, as part of the international celebration of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day, Landing of the Allies in France.


The celebrations began with the Holy Mass for the Polish airmen at the church of St. Samson in Plumetot. The following persons participated: Polish Ambassador to France, Tomasz Młynarski, Deputy President of the Institute of National Remembrance, Jan Baster, Director of the IPN's Office for Commemorating the Struggle and Martyrdom, Adam Siwek, head of the Office for Veterans and Victims of Oppression Jan Józef Kasprzyk, and Jan Ambroziak from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. The commander of the General Type of Armed Forces was represented by Gen. Ireneusz Nowak. Among the gathered at the ceremony were veterans of the Polish Air Force in the West, representatives of local authorities, and state institutions: the prefect of the Calvados province, Laurent Fiscus, Mayor of Plumetot, Jean-Pierre Tarlet, and the city residents. Polish, French and British military delegations also took part in the event. The honorary guard was composed of the representatives the 41st Aviation School Base in Dęblin, and the flagship base was provided by the 31st Tactical Aviation Base in Poznań-Krzesiny. The officer of the latter unit also read out the Call of Remembrance.

The ceremony featured a flight of the original Spitfire fighter aircraft in the colours of the Polish No. 317 Polish Fighter Squadron.

"Although they helped France to gain freedom, there was no victory for them because their country was handed over to the communist tyranny. ...At the moment these Polish airmen were leaving this town in September 1944, they would never have thought that we would gather here, 75 years later, on their behalf. I think they would have been happy, " said Ryszard Kornicki, son of the commander of Np. 308 Squadron, the late Gen. Franciszek Kornicki, the originator of the commemoration project.

A letter to the participants by President of the IPN was read out by Deputy President Jan Baster:                                

“They brought us freedom from the air, on the wings of the slender Mustangs and the agile Spitfires. They transported weapons and supplies for the resistance movement of occupied Europe on board powerful Liberators and Lancasters. Amongst them were numerous machines with white and red checkers, wreaking havoc among the German Luftwaffe. They were present in all key operations and campaigns on the Western Front. On their wings,
the Poles brought freedom to the nations of Europe conquered by the Third Reich. The airmen of the Polish Air Force were relentless: they persisted in combat from the first to the last day of the war. Unconquered after the defeats in Poland and in France, retaliating for revenge, they persevered in their victories under the skies of the western part of the Continent ….”


"What a beautiful a symbol! The monument designed in Poland, by a Polish architect, found its place here on French soil to talk about the role of Polish airmen in the liberation of France and Europe, " said Tomasz Młynarski, Polish Ambassador to France, who also read out a letter from Poland's President Andrzej Duda, addressed to the participants to the ceremony.

Next, a monument devoted to Polish pilots was unveiled, its construction having been co-financed by the Institute of National Remembrance. 

On the north coast of France in Plumetot, during the Normandy Landing, a landing pad codenamed "B 10" was located, from where, No. 302 “City of Poznan” Polish Fighter Squadron, No. 308 "City of Kraków" Polish Fighter Squadron and No.317 "City of Wilno" Polish Fighter Squadron took off to fight  in order to shield the Allied forces

The erecting of the monument and the inauguration of the memorial site is intended to remind the world about the contribution of the Polish Air Force to the Norman campaign and the liberation of France. The originator of the project to commemorate Polish airmen in Normandy is the Polish Air Force Memorial Committee in London, under the leadership of Ryszard Kornicki, son of the commander of No, 308 Squadron, the late Gen. Franciszek Kornicki. The sculpture symbolizes the winning flight of Polish pilots in Spitfire aircrafts. The author of the monument "Victory Fly Past Memorial" - "The winning flight" is Alexander Smaga, architect and the winner of the international competition for the design of this memorial. The monument was dedicated to Polish airmen on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Poland’s regaining independence and the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom - RAF. The sculpture has the shape of the letter V (for victory). Three miniatures of Spitfire fighter planes symbolizing three Polish squadrons stationed at Plumetot were placed on strings, stretched between the arms of the letter V. On the RAF hallmark, the inscription "For Your and Our Freedom" was engraved in Polish, English and French.



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