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- September 26, 2011 at 1:52 am #342217
There weren't just Poles in the squadron, despite its common name. However, what is true is that this was the most effective squadron of the Battle of Britain.
303 Squadron BadgeNovember 19, 2011 at 3:13 am #364213
I stubled over this, and wanted to ask whether someoen has more information about this:
Legally speaking they were completely Polish, although falling under British operational control (in about the same manner as British troops in places like Afghanistan might fall under US operational control, for example). I believe in summer 1940, when things got hot, it took the British Parliament just a couple of days to pass a new law that made it legal for foreign troops to be based in Britain, and that was specifically to allow the Poles, the Dutch and Norwegians (IIRC) to form their own troops in UK. The Czechs and the French, on the other hand, had to join the RAF, as their own governments have (in vastly different circumstances) surrendered to Germany, so there was no way for them to form their own national forces that would be internationally recognised.
And yes, the Polish government in exile did pay for the aircraft, fuel, ammunition, for using RAF bases etc. IIRC the final balance was something like 60 odd million pound sterling paid by the Polish government in exile.
'Airmen in Exile' by Alan Brown is strongly recommended if you're really interested in the subject.
(BTW: I have two small model aircrafts, a Hurricane and a Spitfire on my shelf, both bearing markings of Polish squadrons, I will add a picture one day.)November 19, 2011 at 4:42 am #364214
Very interesting information. Thank you for sharing.
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