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Blyskawica commemorations mark heroism of Polish Navy in Cowes

The Polish Warship ORP Blyskawica.

The Polish Warship ORP Blyskawica.

David Newble

davidn@iwcpmail.co.uk

Friday, May 5, 2017 - 9:37

THE Polish ambassador and a visiting navy ship from the Eastern European country are just two of the highlights of the 75th anniversary commemorations of the warship Blyskawica's defence of Cowes and East Cowes in 1942.
A series of exhibitions, ceremonies and festivals across the Island between Thursday and Sunday, May 7, will mark the anniversary of a ferocious overnight aerial attack on Cowes and East Cowes by the German Luftwaffe and commemorate the heroism of the Polish crew in defending the two towns.
Main attractions during the four days of Polish-themed events, organised by the Friends of the ORP Blyskawica Society, in co-operation with the Polish Embassy in London, will be the visit of Polish Navy ship ORP Gniezno, which will arrive from Poland to honour the anniversary.
There will also be a parade of the Representative Orchestra of the Polish Armed Forces and Cowes Royal British Legion Band, and a Round the IW Regatta, hosted by the Polish Yacht Club London in co-operation with the Royal London Yacht Club.
The official ceremonies will be attended by ambassador of the Republic of Poland to London, Dr Arkady Rzegocki, consul general Krzysztof Grzelczyk, commander of the maritime operation centre of the Polish Navy vice-admiral Stanislaw Zarychta and representatives of the British local authorities.
Ambassador Rzegocki said: "I am delighted the 75th anniversary of the defence of Cowes by ORP Blyskawica is an opportunity to celebrate our shared culture and history.
"The bravery and efforts of Capt Francki's crew are a true testament to the unofficial motto of the Polish Armed Forces, who during the Second World War fought 'for our freedom and yours'.
"The links forged in these tragic circumstances form the foundation of our shared heritage and partnership, and act as an example for future generations."
Cllr Geoff Banks, chairman of the Friends of the ORP Blyskawica Society, said: "This will be a memorable occasion for Cowes, East Cowes and the Island.
"The 75th anniversary of the defence of our two towns is an occasion whereby our society intends to pay due homage to the officers and crew of ORP Blyskawica, which came to their defence at the time of their greatest need.
"The tragic loss of life that night of the blitz had a devastating effect on our towns and, but for the bravery of our Polish allies, that loss of life would have been that much greater".

ORP Blyskawica by IWCPOnline on Scribd

 


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