Tribute to heroic airmen unveiled as part of Remembrance commemorations

Published: Thursday, 11 November 2021

Photo of tribute to Polish airmen in Wigston at Remembrance 2021

A permanent reminder of a Polish aircrew’s heroic actions has been installed opposite Wigston’s Peace Memorial Park as part of today’s Remembrance Day commemorations.

In February 1946, disaster was prevented in Wigston when a Lancaster Bomber was struck by lightning, plummeting towards the town before being diverted towards an open field where it crashed claiming the lives of all on board. The site of the crash was just feet away from what was then Long Street Modern School, now the site of the Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland Records Office next to All Saint’s Primary School.

The annual Oadby & Wigston Borough Council organised Remembrance service on Thursday 11 November in Peace Memorial Park was followed by the unveiling of the Wigston Civic Society’s tribute to the six Polish crew that died.

The crew were: Wing Commander Romuld Sulinski KSOVM D.S.O D.F.C, Flying Officer Wladyslaw Jedrzejczyk, Warrant Officer Michal Szwandt, Flying Officer Czeslaw K. Sulgut, Warrant Officer Waclaw Brzezinski and Flight Sargent Feliks Mikula.

The informative commemoration board was installed on the corner of Elizabeth Court and Long Street prior to the 75th anniversary of the crash in February 2021, but due to lockdown restrictions no unveiling could take place at the time.

The installation of the information board is the result of a collaborative effort between the Wigston Civic Society, the Greater Wigston Historical Society and Oadby & Wigston Borough Council, and was funded by the Allen family.

The unveiling ceremony was also attended by pupils from All Saint’s Primary School, which hosts a permanent display in honour of the airmen and continues to educate the community about the crash.

Colin Towell, Secretary of the Wigston Civic Society, said: “We were aware that although All Saint’s Primary School maintains links to Poland and holds an annual memorial event for the airmen, there was very little information available to the wider community.

“We worked with the historical society to pull the information together and the borough council to identify an appropriate site, and were really pleased to have this permanent reminder of these heroic airmen in place.

“Being able to officially unveil it on Remembrance Day is particularly poignant as we reflect on all the selfless sacrifices made by members of the Armed Forces.”

Councillor Bill Boulter, Chair of the Armed Forces Working Group at OWBC, said: “The story of these airmen and their heroic actions need to be told and remembered and now we have the permanent reminder that they deserve right by Peace Memorial Park.

“It is the perfect tribute on an already emotional day of reflection and remembrance and we’re grateful to the civic and historical societies for bringing this idea forward and making it happen.”

The airmen were part of the 300 Polish Squadron, six of many who made their way over to the U.K from Poland during WWII as part of an alliance between both governments. Although the war ended in 1945, many of these airmen chose to stay in the U.K and continue flying with the R.A.F, rather than return to what was now Soviet-occupied Poland.

They were buried in a Polish cemetery in Lincolnshire, but will always be remembered by the people of Wigston.