Poignant tribute to Polish wartime paratroopers who flew from Saltby

A child from Melton's Polish School climbs aboard a military vehicle after a special service at Saltby Airfield to honour paratroopers from Poland who flew from there to fight in the Second World War EMN-190310-112656001
A child from Melton's Polish School climbs aboard a military vehicle after a special service at Saltby Airfield to honour paratroopers from Poland who flew from there to fight in the Second World War EMN-190310-112656001
0
Have your say

Melton schoolchildren poignantly sang patriotic Polish songs at a service at Saltby Airfield to honour paratroopers from Poland who flew from there to fight in the Second World War.

The ceremony was organised to mark the 75th anniversary of members of the 1st Independent Polish Brigade parachuting into Holland to take part in the iconic Battle of Arnhem.

Mayor of Melton, Malise Graham pictured with members of the Polish military and other guests at a special service at Saltby Airfield to honour paratroopers from Poland who flew from there to fight in the Second World War EMN-190310-112706001

Mayor of Melton, Malise Graham pictured with members of the Polish military and other guests at a special service at Saltby Airfield to honour paratroopers from Poland who flew from there to fight in the Second World War EMN-190310-112706001

Like the British Army paratroopers, who were stationed in and around Melton and who also flew to Arnhem from Saltby, the Polish battalion suffered huge losses.

More than 750 Poles fought in the battle after dropping into the conflict alongside members of four American squadrons who were based at the airfield.

The service, which took place in front of the war memorial, which was dedicated back in September 2007, was attended by the Mayor of Melton, Councillor Malise Graham, the Deputy Military Attache from the Polish Embassy in London and two officers of the 6th Airborne Brigade who came over from Poland.

Children from the Polish School, based at Melton’s St Francis CofE Primary, sang at the event and later had the opportunity to climb onboard a military vehicle.

Family members of Corp Antoni Szulakowski, who fought at Arnhem, laid flowers at the memorial and on the runway.

Corp Szulakowski, who was in the Anti Tank Airlanding Battery, joined up after being deported to Russia with his family and spending 20 months hardship working in a gulag.

They were released in 1941 when Stalin granted amnesty after an appeal from the Polish Government.

He enlisted in Iran in 1942 aged 17 and then volunteered for the 1st Independent Polish Brigade in April 1943, beginning training in Scotland under Major-General Stanislaw Sosobowski, with whom he flew from Saltby Airfield in September 1944.

The event was hosted by the Saltby Airfield History Group and a member of the Polish Heritage Academy, in Melton, translated the programme so it could be produced in Polish as well as English.