303 “KOŚCIUSZKO” POLISH FIGHTER SQUADRON
This was the highest scoring unit of all sixteen Polish squadrons that served alongside the RAF during the Battle of Britain.
In July 1940, the 303 was created and flew Spitfires and Hurricanes out of RAF Northolt.
Its predecessor was the Polish 7th Air Escadrille, adopted in 1919 and renamed after the great hero General Tadeusz Kościuszko.
This unit was a group of volunteer American pilots who, led by Merian C. Cooper, fought alongside the newly-independent Poland in the Polish-Soviet War.
After the Second World War ended, the 303 was decommissioned in December 1946.
Size: W 4″ x H 4″
Hand embroidered with gold wire bullion on a black wool felt background
Spitfire Liberator: The Alex Herbst Story
Captain Alex Herbst is the oldest living WWII pilot of the elite 303 and 308 Polish Fighters Squadrons of the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force.
The documentary Spitfire Liberator: The Alex Herbst Story, honors Polish aviators who fought for freedom under foreign skies. Captain Herbst flew 141 missions on Spitfires, escorted B-17 bombers, and took part in the Invasion of Normandy by the Allied Forces. He survived three emergency parachute landings after being shot down.
For his heroism and achievements Captain Herbst received the Polish Cross of Valor and multiple British decorations.
After the war, he settled in the United States and currently resides in the Seattle area. His autobiography Cavalry of the Skies walks the path of a generation of forgotten heroes who lost everything but faith in a brighter future for the world
You can see clips from this film on YouTube.
308 “City of Kraków” POLISH FIGHTER SQUADRON
This squadron was formed in September 1940 and by November was operational, flying Hawker Hurricanes from an RAF base near Coventry, England.
It later moved to RAF Chicolton and became part of the 10th Fighter Group flying Spitfires and Hurricanes.
Like the 303, it also had a distinguished combat record and claimed its first victory in November when one of its pilots shot down a Luftwaffe fighter.
This squadron was decommissioned in December 1946 after WWII ended.
The Military Place carefully researches each patch to achieve authentic replication of size and color. However, due to lack of official standardization during the era to which the patch relates, and variations found, some elements may differ from historical documentation.
Image credits: Newark Cemetery Polish War Memorial & Exhibition, Blue Horizon Films & Ice Breaker Film Production, YouTube/NatGeo., Pinterest.com/WWI