Polish airmen tour factories in Northern Ireland

14th October 2018

In October 1943, a pair of Polish airmen made a tour of factories in Northern Ireland. They told employees of their time in Poland and desire to fight.

Two Polish airmen attached to RAF 315 (City of Deblin) Squadron toured factories in Northern Ireland in October 1943. They thrilled workers engaged in the war effort with their tales of aerial battles with the Royal Air Force.

One of the Polish airmen, a Flight Lieutenant said:

Poland fights on in spite of everything. Since the campaign in Warsaw ended, 4,000,000 men and women have been killed or taken to concentration camps. One night, after two Germans were shot, I saw the Nazis take 100 Poles from a street and murder them. But there is the greatest underground movement in the world in Poland. Some days the leader will say, “today between one and two, no Pole will travel on public transport”. This is a gesture of unity. The Germans are watched, known, and hated. With your aid from the factories in aircraft, shells, guns, we here and our friends in Poland look forward to the day when our leader can say, “there will be no German riding in our tramcars tomorrow.

A second Pole based in Northern Ireland reminded workers in the factories that his people received no orders to fight on. He and thousands of others had made their own choice to battle alongside the Allies.

Flying Officer JA Cornish, a South African night fighter pilot accompanied the Polish airmen. He had toured factories as part of a Short Stirling Bomber crew.

This story featured in the Belfast Telegraph on Wednesday 13th October 1943 and the Belfast Newsletter on Thursday 14th October 1943.

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