Coming soon to Channel 4, this dramatised documentary recounts how, during the most decisive phase of the Battle of the Britain, a single squadron of 34 Polish fighter pilots wreaked havoc on the Luftwaffe, in the process helping to change the course of history and overturning RAF prejudices.
From 303 Squadron’s bitter struggle for acceptance when they first arrived in the UK, to the crucial part they played in averting the German invasion, and their ultimate betrayal by the Allies, this unknown story is one of the most extraordinary episodes of World War II.
Based on a diary kept by the pilots of the squadron, it is a story of increasing frustration on the part of the Poles who had already fought the Luftwaffe and now found themselves having to learn English and the RAF way of doing things. Meanwhile, as the Battle of Britain got underway, inexperienced British pilots were paying a heavy cost.
Belatedly, the Poles were cleared for active service and had an immediate impact. In their first week they shot down 40 enemy aircraft, making them the highest scoring RAF squadron. By the time the Battle of Britain was won, they had claimed 126 enemy planes. But as the war ended, their joy turned to despair as they saw their own country handed to Stalin.
To access interviews with Witold Urbanowicz and Philip Methuen, whose fathers were among the most successful Polish air aces of the war, click on the Interviews tab above.