The Polish Cultural Club of Greater Hartford, Inc. and The S.A. Blejwas Endowed Chair in Polish Studies are co-sponsoring a special event on Sunday, November 17, 2019 in the Chopin Ballroom at the Polish National Home, 60 Charter Oak Avenue, Hartford to honor the heroic Polish Kosciuszko 303 Squadron fighter pilots who helped the British Royal Air Force (RAF) win the Battle of Britain during World War II. Doors open at 1:00 PM to provide time to view a curated collection of Kosciuszko Squadron memorabilia. At 2:00 PM, a feature film called “Mission of Honor” will be shown (in English with some Polish) preceded by a brief introduction by Dr. M.B. Biskupski, Chair of Polish Studies at Central CT State University. A question and answer period will follow the conclusion of the film. Admission is FREE and open to the public.
The Polish National Home will be featuring dining specials from the Polish Cultural Club cookbook available to order from 11:30 AM to 6:00 PM. As a tribute to all Polish veterans, a Mass will also be held at SS. Cyril and Methodius Church, 55 Charter Oak Avenue, Hartford at 11:30 AM. All are welcome to attend.
The Kosciuszko 303 Squadron RAF, formed in July 1940 as part of an agreement between the Polish Government in Exile and the United Kingdom, had a distinguished combat record until it was disbanded in December 1946. “Had it not been for the magnificent material contributed by the Polish squadrons and their unsurpassed gallantry,” wrote Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, head of RAF Fighter Command, “I hesitate to say that the outcome of the Battle of Britain would have been the same.” The 303 Squadron was one of the top fighter units in the battle and the best Hurricane-Spitfire equipped one. Its success in combat can be mainly attributed to the years of extensive and rigorous pre-war training many of the long-serving Polish veterans had received in their homeland. During the Battle of Britain, the Squadron was credited with 126 enemy aircraft destroyed, 13 probables, and 9 damaged. From September 1, 1940 to May 8, 1945, they destroyed 205 enemy aircraft, with 40 probables, and 28 damaged. Winston Churchill, speaking about the Battle of Britain in 1940 said, “Never was so much owed by so many to so few.” The Kosciuszko 303 Squadron was one of these “few.”
For further information, please call (860) 841-3477, the Polish Studies Program at (860) 832-3010, or the Polish National Home at (860) 247-1784.