Polish Airmen Remembered at Grangemouth
On 13 September 2008 a memorial was unveiled to commemorate pilots killed at RAF Grangemouth during the 2nd World War. The trainee pilots and their instructors came from Australia, Canada, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, United Kingdom and the USA (with RCAF). Their 71 names are engraved in granite on the memorial wall which is situated close to one of the old hangars of the former airfield in Boness Road, Grangemouth, Scotland.
Spitfire Unveiling at Grangemouth 9 May 2013 (34 photos)
Memorial Wall Unveiled at Grangemouth 13 Sep 2008 (26 photos)
The event was organised by Flying Officer Tom McMorrow, commanding officer of 1333 (Grangemouth) Squadron Air Training Corps. Its purpose being to honour those pilots who came to RAF Grangemouth to be trained to fly Spitfires and who died during their training. RAF Air Marshal Sir Robert Austin paid tribute to the airmen and wreaths were laid by representatives of the countries concerned or on their behalf by air cadets from 1333 ATC .
The ceremony was witnessed by invited guests and members of the public. Unfortunately a flypast by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, which would have included a Spitfire, had to be cancelled due to bad weather. Funds were raised to purchase a full size replica of a Spitfire and this will be sited beside the memorial wall.
Exercise Grave Secret
The unveiling of the memorial marked the completion for No. 1333 (Grangemouth) Squadron Air Training Corps of Exercise Grave Secret. Every Remembrance Sunday since 1979 the air cadets, aged 13 to 17, and the staff of 1333 ATC have laid wreaths at the graves of the deceased pilots in nearby Grandsable cemetery.
In 2006 the cadets started a project to trace the relatives of the Polish pilots who lay buried there. The squadron then visited Poland in June 2007 and their visit and research should result in the names of two missing polish airmen being added to a national war memorial in Warsaw.
The story of Exercise Grave Secret was covered in the following media:
- Move to contact airmen families BBC (28 Dec 2006)
- Squadron ensures Polish comrades are remembered Falkirk Herald (5 Jul 2007)
- Cadets remember Polish pilots BBC (3 Jul 2007) Video which can be seen if in UK.
- Cadets honour pilots' memories Falkirk Herald (31 Jan 2008)
- Operation Bairn Falkirk Herald (12 Jun 2008)
- Spitfire tribute to WWII airmen BBC (12 Sep 2008)
- Tribute to forgotten warriors of the sky The Scotsman (13 Sep 2008)
The Polish airmen commemorated on the memorial wall at Grangemouth are given below. The date of death is shown in brackets.
The location of both the Memorial Wall and the Polish War Graves can be seen at Google Maps.
This page was added on 30 November 2008. Updated on 12 May 2013.