I had the rare pleasure of being allowed to sit in the cockpit of this remarkable Spitfire at Goodwood Revival where I was playing music a couple of weeks ago. I fell in love with this WW2 fighter the moment I laid eyes on it not only because the Spitfire is such and incredible flying machine but also because this one served with the 315 and 317 Polish squadrons here in the UK – the British and Polish RAF connections remaining close to my heart….
My beloved Polish Spitfire
My first glimpse of this aircraft and I thought immediately wow it’s got the Polish emblem on it wow! This rare WW2 fighter was built at Castle Bromwich and delivered on 26th April 1942. It served with 315 and 317 [Polish] Squadrons before sustaining damage on 13th February 1943. It was repaired but saw no further action. After the war the BM597 was assigned several so serveral “gate guardian” positions outside RAF stations, finishing up at RAF Church Fenton.
Acquired by Historic Aircraft Collection it was restored to original specification and flies in the colours of 317 Squadron
there is very little space to move around inside the Spitfire cockpit. I think I would have been too tall to fly this aircraft in WW2 as I entered without a parachute. The Spitfire Pilots had to also be extremely careful not to drop anything into the controls just beneath the foot pedals. It’s very delicate and complicated down there and the slightest tiniest blockage could cause the airplane to malfunction!
My beloved British Polish Spitfire
I dedicate this post to all the Polish Pilots who flew for the RAF in WW2 and were excluded from parading next to their British comrades at the London Victory Parade of 1946. The 303 squadron was the most effective Polish squadron during the Second World War.
During the Battle of Britain Polish Pilots shot down 203 Luftwaffe aircraft which stood for 12% of total German losses in the battle.
Big thanks to Janice and Roy Black at the Historic Aircraft Collection for allowing me access to their beautiful Spitfire. Thankyou also to the Spitfire Pilot Charlie Brown. I hope one day to own a Spitfire meanwhile I have a model of one hanging from my music room ceiling…..

  1. Chris says:

    Wow Katy, thats a lovely spitfire, made even more wonderful by you sitting in the pilot’s seat, take care, Chris

  2. The Poles in the RAF were superb. It’s no exaggeration to say that had they not been there in the Battle of Britain it is conceivable the result might have turned out differently. They formed the largest non-British contingent in the Battle, that had it been lost, would have led inevitably to a final victory for the Germans.
    I am immeasurably proud my father Alecsander Pietrzak was a fighter pilot in the Polish squadrons, and as all Poles do, I swell with pride in our lost heroes when this Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire flies by, bearing the Polish emblem. It may not mean that much to anyone else, but to Poles it is a reminder of how in our darkest hour a small band of brave men kept our honour intact.
    An RAF squadron leader, speaking of the Polish airmen, was quoted as saying: “They are fantastic—better than any of us. In every way they’ve got us beat.” This may or may not be true, but that it was said at all says it all.
    You may read of some of the fliers in WWII at:

  3. Olek Brzeski says:

    I think that all Poles should be proud of their Polish relatives who not only fought during the war but also struggled to bring up families in war torn Poland. My grand father Andrzew Witold Brzeski started the war in the 8th Cavalry and then joined forces with the british army in Egypt.` I am immensly proud of him! I have just started delving into his history and looking forward to learning new things about him and his regiments. Unfortunately he died when I was two. Thank you for your post Katy.

  4. karl schiele says:

    tadeusz schiele was my grandfather SQT tadeusz schiele was polish piolet supermarine in the 308 squard

  5. Susan Page (nee Rush) says:

    Attn of Karl Schiele….
    Hi, I have read the comments from Karl Schiele and believe that Tadeusz Schiele could have been my Uncle. Can you tell me Karl if your Fathers name is Kazik Schiele & your Grandmothers name is Jeanne. If so I would love to get in touch again as we now live in Australia.
    Hoping to hear from you,
    Regards Sue Page

    1. nicola schiele says:

      Hi Sue..my name is Nikki i am Tadeusz schieles granddaughter and yes kazik is my dad ..

    2. Karl schiele says:

      Hi susan its karl sorry its been awhile my email had just finished .yes tadeusz is ny grandad jeanne is my nan.here is my number 07808830390 get in touch

    3. Nicola says:

      Hi Susan
      karl is my brother and yes Tadeusz and Jeanne are my grandparents, I would love to hear from you

  6. Duncan Stuart says:

    Sometime during 1942 or 1943 I was a young lad of about 5 living in Rhyl N.wales, across from Liverpool and we could see the bombs being dropped about 25 miles away, On eday I stood and watched a Spitfire chasing and shooting down a German plane which ditched in the shallow water near the Rhyl pier and the crew were brought ashore under guard. The Spitfire was brought to Rhyl Sea front a few days later and placed alongside the wrecked German plane as a a show for the public, kids could sit in the cockpit on the knee of the pilot (a sergeant) for the sum of one penny ! Perhaps it was from RAF Woodvale which defended Liverpool
    I gladly paid my penny and it was the first plane I had ever been inside – I will never forget that great Spitfire. Can anyone find information on this shoot-down, was it a Polish Squadron ?

  7. nicola schiele says:

    Are you daughter of Danushas sister? i am on fb under Nicola Schiele…would be great to get in touch x

  8. Nicola says:

    I Susan
    Tadeusz is my grandfather and yes kazik is my dad and Jeanne is my grandmother.
    I am Karls sister.

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