The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and other Allied countries before, during, and after World War II. Many variants of the Spitfire were built, using several wing configurations, and it was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft. It was also the only British fighter produced continuously throughout the war. The Spitfire continues to be popular among enthusiasts; nearly 60 remain airworthy, and many more are static exhibits in aviation museums throughout the world.
On June 4th 1940, following the evacuation of British and Allied forces from the beaches of Dunkirk and the decimation of the British Army, all that stood between German invasion of Britain was a 20 mile stretch of the English Channel and the pilots of the RAF’s Hurricane, Spitfire and bomber squadrons, later to be called ‘The Few’. And so began the Battle of Britain.
Among the brave airmen who fought in the skies above Britain during the Battle and after, were a few Polish fighter pilots, volunteers, our first Allies who had been ordered to evacuate across German-occupied Europe to continue the fight for the defence of France and then Britain. Sadly at the end of the war they never formally received the recognition they, we feel deserved, and were not wholly allowed to participate in the VE Day celebrations. We call them ‘The Forgotten Few’ and want to change this to ensure there is a lasting remembrance, unity, legacy and education (RULE) for all generations.
Wing Commander Piotr Łaguna
November 11, 1905 – June 27, 1941
Born of nobility, having already served with distinction as a senior officer in Poland, prior to the invasion of Poland in 1939 and then on to France, shooting down many German aircraft, Piotr Laguna came to Britain in 1940 to join the RAF. Along with many other Polish and foreign pilots, he continued the fight to defend, push back, defeat and liberate Europe from the grip of Hitler’s tyranny.
The project’s theme is Polish at heart given the history of both its Spitfire P8331 and the Pilots that flew it. However, we predominantly aim to tell the story of the 18,000 Polish Pilots and Crews, as well as the stories of all Pilots who flew during the wartime years. Piotr’s story would be a familiar tale similar to most of the men who endured those terrible years.