Polish Pilots in British Services

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Kuno, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. Kash Seal

    Kash Seal Member

    Im really not trying to be the bad guy here, but im rather annoyed at the people who claim Britain treated the Polish pilots badly or shamelessly etc...
    Did some people suddenly develope amnesia! Has anyone forgotten that Britain declared war against Germany for invading Poland.... Personally i think the British acted pretty decently considering. Allowing the Poles to fly in the RAF using British aircraft and giving them refuge in England during the war. One can hardly blame Britain for Stalin and Russia's desires for land grabbing. It's funny how out of all the non British nationals that flew in the RAF such as Czech, French, Belgium, Dutch etc, it's only the Polish veterans who cry foul. Many allied countries including England suffered their own version of the Warsaw destruction. Coventry was almost wiped off the map! Im not saying in any way what happened after the war was right, but it could hardly be avoided without another immediate huge war with Russia. And once the war was over, well why wouldnt the English expect foreign nationals to go home. England was bankrupt and ruined just like eastern european cities and countries...
  2. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Postwar,Polish nationals were not forced out of Great Britain having served in their country's government in exile service here. Czechs were treated similarly when they returned home and found the situation not to their liking and returned to Great Britain.After 1948 when the country became a satellite of Russia,Czech citizens then had to decide if the new regime offered the freedom they had fought for...they chose to return to Great Britain if that was possible.

    As regards Polish airmen,many transferred to the RAF after being in the PAF and subsequently married British citizens, took out British naturalisation papers and citizenship.If you have ever watched the film,The Dambusters,two of the four pilots used in making the film were Polish pilots serving in the RAF.

    I have never heard of former members of the PAF complain of their treatment in Britain.However one complaint would be at diplomatic level when the British government tried to back charge the Polish Government in Exile for the organisation and equipment required to establish the PAF in Great Britain.In the end there were many meetings over time in the summer of 1940 at a diplomatic level to solve the problem.The outcome was that Great Britain would bear the costs of the PAF operating within the structure of the RAF.I would think that this was the agreement ultimately of all governments in exile forces, operating within British military structures.

    "Land grabbing".Stalin showed his hand when took Eastern Poland after German had taken Western Poland,the new boundary being agreed by the German Russian Pact of August 1939,a pact that gave Stalin a free hand in the annexation of the three Baltic states.That Pact sealed the fate of Poland which at the time was seen as a buffer state against Russian expansion westwards.On the defeat of Germany,Stalin ensured that he would have buffer territory against a future invasion from the West when he pushed the eastern borders of Poland and Germany westwards.

    Incidentally I do not think you can equate the Luftwaffe raid on Coventry.as bad as it was, to the destruction of Warsaw....Warsaw was badly damaged during the 1939 invasion and was raised to the ground during the uprising of August 1944.

    Overall the British philosophy during the critical days of 1940 was anybody was welcome into Great Britain who were capable of taking the war to Germany and ensuring that these islands did not fall under the NAZI yoke.

    As regards the British and French declaration of war against Germany,it followed the Great Britain and French/ Polish Treaty which guaranteed the security of Poland following the strained relations between Germany and themselves.This guarantee was made on 25 August 1939,two days after the German Russian non aggression pact was signed in Moscow.

    The declaration of war against Germany was the result of Hitler's treaty obligations and promises not being met and the acceptance that his assurances were not to be trusted.In January 1934, Poland and Germany had already signed a non aggression treaty,effective for 10 years which was reneged on by Hitler in his plans of April 1939 to invade Poland.On the acceptance of Great Britain and France of his claim to the Sudetenland in September 1938,Hitler declared "I have no more further territorial claims".Then in March 1939,he annexed the remainder of Czechoslovakia as a protectorate of the Third Reich.The German invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939 was the last straw and Great Britain and France declared war on Germany.

    I would say the the guarantee had more spirit than substance since geographical problems would have made it difficult to give direct military aid.As it was, both Great Britain and France entered into the era of the phoney war and did not take the war seriously to the German mainland until the Blitzkreig erupted on 10 May 1940.

    There might be some Poles among others who might think that the war should have been launched at Germany as soon as the BEF and French forces were ready in 1939.For Germany, the war on two fronts would have come much earlier than it was destined to.

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