- No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron
No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron
303 Squadron Honour Badge Design
Active 2 August 1940 – 11 December 1946 Country United Kingdom Allegiance Polish government in exile Branch Royal Air Force Role Fighter Squadron Part of RAF Fighter Command Nickname "Rafałki" Scarf colour Scarlet Anniversaries 1 September Squadron holiday Battle honours Battle of Britain 1940, Fortress Europe 1941-1944, France and Germany 1944-1945 Commanders Notable
R. G. Kellett
Insignia Squadron Codes RF (Aug 1940 - Apr 1945)
PD (Apr 1945 – Dec 1946)
Aircraft flown Fighter Hawker Hurricane
No. 303 ("Kościuszko") Polish Fighter Squadron (Polish: 303 Dywizjon Myśliwski "Warszawski im. Tadeusza Kościuszki") was one of 16 Polish squadrons in the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the Second World War. It was the highest scoring RAF squadron of the Battle of Britain.
The squadron was named after the Polish and American Revolution hero General Tadeusz Kościuszko, and the eponymous Polish 7th Air Escadrille founded by Merian C. Cooper, that served Poland in the 1919-1921 Polish-Soviet War. No. 303 was formed in Britain as part of an agreement between the Polish Government in Exile and the United Kingdom. After a distinguished combat record, the fighter squadron was disbanded in December 1946.
No. 303 (Polish) Squadron was formed on 2 August 1940 at RAF Northolt, and became operational on 31 August. Its initial cadre was 13 Officer and 8 NCO pilots and 135 Polish ground staff. At the outset, serving RAF officers were appointed to serve as CO (S/L RG Kellett) and Flight Commanders (F/L JA Kent and F/L AS Forbes) alongside the Poles, as the Polish pilots were unfamiliar with RAF Fighter Command language, procedures and training.
The name chosen by the squadron was in honour of the famous Polish Kosciuszko Squadron which fought during the Polish-Soviet War in 1920. No. 303 Squadron was also linked to the original Kosciuszko Escadrille through personnel that had served in the squadron. Later, further air force units from the aforementioned unit were renamed the 7th, 121st and 111th Escadrilles of the Polish Air Force.
The Battle of Britain August–October 1940
On 24 August 1940, equipped with Hawker Hurricanes, the squadron was scrambled for the first time, although it did not come into contact with any enemy aircraft. On 30 August 1940, the squadron scored its first victory while still officially non-operational, when a German Messerschmitt Bf 110 of 4./ZG 76 (initially incorrectly recorded as a Dornier Do 17) was shot down by F/O Ludwik Paszkiewicz during a training flight. The wreck was excavated in 1982. After S/L Kellet's personal recommendation, the squadron was declared operational next day by No. 11 Group RAF.
On 31 August 1940, the squadron was scrambled in the late afternoon on its first operational sortie. In a dogfight over Kent, "A" Flight claimed four confirmed and two probable victories over Messerschmitt Bf 109s, possibly of LG 2. Claimants were S/L Kellet, F/O Henneberg, P/O Feric and Sgt. Karubin.
During 2 September 1940, the squadron was scrambled three times. On the last scramble, P/O Feric shot down a Bf 109 and then made a forced landing near Dover while former Czechoslovak Air Force pilot Sgt. Josef František claimed a Bf 110. The following day over Dover, Frantisek claimed his second victory; with a total of 17 victories he was the top-scoring Allied fighter pilot during the Battle of Britain. On 5 September, nine No. 303 Hurricanes intercepted a German bombing formation escorted by Bf 109s, with the Poles claiming five Bf 109s and three Junkers Ju 88s for one loss: P/O Lapkowski bailing out wounded.
On 6 September 1940, nine Hurricanes were scrambled towards incoming bomber formations. However, during the climb, they were bounced by Bf 109s of III./JG 27. S/L Kellet and F/L Forbes both force-landed, and were wounded slightly, while Sgt Karubin bailed out wounded, S/L Krasnodebski was severely burned and three other Hurricanes were damaged. The squadron claimed five Bf 109s (of JG 27 and JG 52), a Do 17 and a Heinkel He 111. F/O Witold Urbanowicz was appointed as acting Squadron Commander.
On 7 September 1940, the German air offensive switched to the London docks. No. 303 Squadron was successfully vectored towards the incoming bomber streams and claimed 12 Do 17s and two Bf 109s, with P/O Zumbach, P/O Feric, Sgt. Szaposznikow and Sgt. Wojtowicz all scoring double victories. P/O Daszewski was shot down and seriously wounded, while F/O Pisarek bailed out. His Hurricane crashed in a back garden of a house in Loughton, killing a family of three in their shelter. Two other aircraft were damaged. On 9 September 1940, 12 Hurricanes were scrambled and two claims made over Bf 109s by Zumbach (both of JG 53) and one by Frantisek -a Bf 109 of 7./JG 27 - who also claimed a He 111 of KG 53 as a "probable", while a Bf 110 was shot down by F/L Kent. Sgt. Wunsche had to bail out with burns over Beachy Head, and Sgt. Frantisek crash-landed.
At 16:00 hours on 11 September 1940, the squadron attacked a bomber formation south of London. F/O Cebrzynski was fatally wounded by return fire, while Sgt. Wojtowicz shot down two Messerschmitt Bf 110s before being shot down and killed. The pilots claimed two Bf 110s, one Bf 109, three Do 17s and four He 111s.
In the massed dogfights over London on 15 September 1940, the squadron was heavily involved, with nine Hurricanes led by F/L Kent intercepting a German raid in mid-morning. Nine kills were claimed: six Bf 109s, one Bf 110 and two Do 17s. In the afternoon, a flight formation led by S/L Kellet claimed four victories, while the five-strong "B" Flight led by F/O Urbanowicz, claimed two Do 17s, for two Polish pilots shot down (Sgt. Brzezowski killed, Sgt Andruszkow baled out while P/O Lokuciewski was wounded in the leg, returning to base safely). During the day, No. 303 Squadron claimed 15 victories.
On the afternoon of 26 September 1940, No. 303 Squadron was scrambled towards a large enemy raid over Hampshire, with the Poles claiming 13 victories for three Hurricanes damaged (actual Luftwaffe losses were nine in total). There was further intense fighting on 27 September 1940, with 11 Hurricanes engaged by massed escorts to a KG 77 30-bomber formation. The squadron claimed 15 victories: six Bf 109s, two Bf 110s of LG 1, four "He 111s" (probably Ju 88s) and three Ju 88s although F/O Paszkiewicz and Sgt Andruszkow were killed. F/O Zak was wounded and baled out over Horsham and four Hurricanes were lost in total. Just six aircraft were serviceable during the afternoon, engaging a raid of 15 Ju 88s. Two bombers were brought down before the escort intervened, and a Bf 109 was also claimed. F/O Urbanowicz claimed four German aircraft during the day. On 30 September 1940, F/O Urbanowicz once again claimed four victories, additionally a Do 17 was brought down by P/O. Radomski, who baled out, as did Sgt. Belc, while Sgt. Karubin claimed a Bf 109.
On 5 October 1940, Polish pilots claimed five Bf 110s and four Bf 109s, though P/O Januszewicz was killed. (Eprobungsgruppe 210 lost two Bf 110s Jabos and JG 3 and JG 53, a Bf 109 each). A fight over the Thames Estuary on 7 October saw claims for three Bf 109s of LG 2. On 11 October 1940, the squadron was transferred for a rest to Leconfield in No. 12 Group, ending its participation in the Battle of Britain.
No. 303 Squadron claimed the greatest number of aircraft destroyed of the 66 Allied fighter squadrons engaged in the Battle of Britain, even though it joined the fray two months after the battle had begun.
Its success in combat can be mainly attributed to the years of extensive and rigorous pre-war training many of the long-serving Polish veterans had received in their homeland, far more than many of their younger and inexperienced RAF comrades then being thrown into the battle. Tactics and skill also played a role; on one occasion, No. 303's Sgt Stanislaw Karubin resorted to extreme tactics to bring down a German fighter. Following a prolonged air battle, Karubin was chasing a German fighter at treetop level. As he closed in on the tail of the German fighter, Karubin realized that his Hurricane had run out of ammunition. Rather than turning back to base, he closed the distance and climbed right above the German fighter. The German pilot was so shocked to see the underside of the Hurricane within arm's reach of his cockpit that he instinctively reduced his altitude to avoid a collision and crashed into the ground.
During the Battle of Britain, even though the Hurricanes flown by the Polish pilots were considered inferior to the Messerschmitt Bf 109, they were far superior to the outdated Polish fighter aircraft that defended the country's skies during the German invasion in September 1939. Thus No. 303 Squadron, manned by experienced veterans, equipped with a fighter on a technical par with most of its opponents, and superbly backed by the well established RAF command, communication and logistics infrastructure, demonstrated its outstanding ability during the Battle.
Withdrawn from battle for a rest on 11 October 1940, the squadron had claimed 126 kills in six weeks. Relative to aircraft downed, losses were relatively small with 18 Hurricanes lost, seven pilots killed and five badly wounded. Although the number of Battle of Britain claims was overestimated (as with virtually all fighter units), No. 303 Squadron was one of the top fighter units in the battle and the best Hurricane-equipped one. According to historian John Alcorn, 44 victories are positively verified, making No. 303 Squadron the fourth highest scoring squadron of the battle, after Squadron Nos. 603 AuxAF (57.8 verified kills), 609 AuxAF (48 verified kills) and 41 (45.33 verified kills), which all flew Spitfires. It was also had the highest kill-to-loss ratio; of 2.8:1. However, J. Alcorn was not able to attribute 30 aircraft shot down to any particular unit, and according to Jerzy Cynk and other Polish historians, the actual number of victories for No. 303 Squadron was about 55–60. According to Polish historian Jacek Kutzner the verified number of kills of 303 Squadron is around 58.8, which would still place it above all other squadrons regarding verified kills. This is presented by Kutzner's chart, which shows Polish confirmed kills (left column), confirmed kills of all Allied squadrons, including Polish (central column) and real German losses on each day when No. 303 Squadron was involved in air combats (right column). In its first seven days of combat, the squadron claimed nearly 40 enemy aircraft. uadron in the Battle of Britain."] polishsquadronsremembered.com. Retrieved: 21 October 2009.</ref>
War over Europe 1941
By 1941, the immediate threat to the UK was over and RAF Fighter Command formulated more offensive fighter operations over occupied Europe. One of these was codenamed "Rhubarb", improvised low-level strafing attacks against opportunist targets on the ground. No. 303 flew its first "Rhubarb"' sorties on 22 January 1941. Six Hurricanes led by F/L Henneberg attacked 1./JG 26's airfield at Crecy, killing one ground crewman and destroying two Bf 109s, also wounding a pilot.
In late January 1941, the squadron converted to the Supermarine Spitfire Mk I. In February, the unit participated in the first fighter offensive sweeps, usually escorting a small number of light bombers.
In early April 1941, No. 306 (Polish) Squadron arrived at Northolt, and with No. 303 formed No. 1 Polish Fighter Wing. No. 601 Squadron, also stationed at Northolt complemented the two Polish units. The Wing was commanded by W/C Johnny Kent with W/C Urbanowicz. On 12 April 1941, six No. 303 Spitfires led by S/L Henneberg carried out a series of strafing attacks on German airfields. S/L Henneberg's Spitfire IIa (P8029) was hit by flak and the pilot had to ditch in the channel; despite an intensive search rescue operation, he was never found.
On 16 April 1941, the Polish Wing flew its first "Circus" escort operation. Engaged by Bf 109s, two Poles were lost: P/O Waszkiewicz and P/O Mierzwa. On 18 June 1941, No. 303 pilots claimed four Bf 109s without loss; two to P/O Drobinski, as RAF Fighter Command claimed 10 destroyed (The Jagdwaffe suffered no losses). On 21 June, Drobinski badly damaged the Bf 109F-2 of Oberst Adolf Galland, CO of JG 26, who made a forced landing at Calais, while W/C Kent downed Fw. Hegenauer (Galland's wingman) of Stab./JG 26.
On 22 June 1941, Fighter Command optimistically claimed 29 fighters shot down, No. 303 claiming six of these, two to S/L Lapkowski (JG 2 and JG 26 actually lost three aircraft). On 23 June 1941, No. 303 flew two full strength escort missions over France, and against 9./ JG 2 claimed five fighters destroyed. P/O 'Mike' Bolesław Gładych claimed three confirmed but was wounded and managed to crash land in the UK. JG 2 lost six Bf 109s and four pilots. On 28 June, No. 303 claimed another four Bf 109s, although P/O J. Bondar was shot down and killed by Uzz. Babenz, 3./JG 26. Fighter Command claimed six kills (JG 26 lost two, with three more badly damaged).
On 2 July 1941, No. 1 Polish Wing, with No. 303, engaged some 60 Bf 109s over Lille. Although No. 303 claimed four kills, (JG 2 lost three Bf 109s) the squadron lost S/L Lapkowski killed, while Sgt Gorecki had to bail out and was rescued from the channel. Command passed to S/L Arentowicz, who himself was shot down and killed just six days later. He was replaced by F/L Jankiewicz. After five months of operations, No. 303 was rested on 13 July moving to Speke near Liverpool, in 9 Group, Fighter Command.
On 7 October 1941, the squadron returned to Northolt and re-equipped with the Spitfire Mk Vb. Its opponents now included the formidable Focke-Wulf Fw 190, and on 13 October camera gun film from a No. 303 pilot gave the RAF the first photographic evidence of the new fighter. As winter approached, poor weather reduced operations significantly. However on 24 October, No. 303 claimed four fighters downed over Gravelines.
During combat operations through 1941, No. 303 Squadron claimed some 46 enemy aircraft destroyed, seven probably destroyed and four damaged, for a loss of nine pilots (including three Commanding Officers). Some 20 Spitfires were written off or lost in action.
After a quiet start to the year, on 12 February 1942, No. 303 Squadron participated in the RAF's offensive response to the 'Channel Dash' of the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau. Led by W/C Rolski, the Polish Wing flew several sorties in bad weather.
On 13 March 1942, the Squadron lost F/Lt W Lokuciewski, shot down by JG 26 and taken prisoner, and on 4 April F/L Daszewski (killed) and F/L Kustrzynski (POW) were lost over Saint-Omer.
On 11 April 1942, an aerial gunnery contest was staged within No. 11 Group RAF, and the three competing Polish squadrons— 303, 316 and 315 — took the first three places out of all 22 air squadrons, No. 303 Squadron coming first by a very healthy margin (808 hits), whilst No. 316 Squadron scored 432 hits, with the best British squadron scoring 150 hits.
During the spring of 1942, the frequency of offensive sorties increased and by May, No. 303 flew over the Channel daily, in numerous "Circus" escort missions and fighter sweeps. It engaged German fighters on numerous occasions, although JG 2 and JG 26, the main fighter units against Fighter Command, took an increasing toll utilising the superior Fw 190A. In early June, the unit flew sixteen squadron-strength sorties, in addition to numerous air-sea rescue, interception and convoy escort missions. On 5 June 1942, the squadron engaged Fw 190 fighters and claimed three for no loss. The squadron was rested on 15 June, relocating to Kirton in Lindsey in Lincolnshire.
On 15 August 1942, the squadron temporarily moved to Redhill near London in preparation of the Allied raid on Dieppe (Operation Jubilee). No. 303 was to fly with No. 317 Polish Squadron and four other squadrons. Covering the naval and ground forces, No. 303 Squadron claimed the highest number of aircraft shot down of all Allied squadrons participating. No. 303 then returned to Kirton in Lindsey, where it remained until March 1943.
1942 saw No. 303 Squadron claim 21 enemy aircraft destroyed, losing 10 pilots: four killed in action, two in accidents and four taken prisoner.
In early June 1943, the unit returned once again to Northolt, and No. 1 Polish Wing. The squadron converted to the new Spitfire Mk IX and in June resumed operations. On 9 June 1943, F/O Sliwinski claimed the unit's 200th victory, a Fw 190. On 24 June, both P/O Karcmarz and P/O Kobylinski were downed by 10./JG 26 pilots and made POWs.
In July 1943, S/L Falkowski replaced S/L Bienkowski. On 6 July, the squadron, led by F/L Majewski and with No. 316 Squadron over Amiens, fought a prolonged dogfight with Fw 190s with No. 303 claiming three German fighters from JG 2 and JG 27 without loss. By this time, much of No. 303's work was escort missions for the increasing numbers of United States Army Air Forces Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Consolidated B-24 Liberator heavy bomber missions over Europe. During escort cover for the ill-fated Schweinfurt mission on 17 August 1943, No. 303 claimed a further three fighters downed. On a 6 September "Ramrod" mission, the squadron claimed another six fighters destroyed.
On 12 November 1943, the unit was posted to RAF Ballyhalbert in Northern Ireland and soon after S/L Koc assumed command. The squadron flew convoy patrols and carried out operational training. By the end of 1943, No. 303 Squadron had claimed 203 enemy aircraft destroyed, 40 probables, and 25 damaged.
In April 1944, the squadron moved to the advanced landing ground at Horne, 30 miles south of London and joined No 142 Fighter Wing. The unit began flying escort sorties for bombing missions against V-1 flying bomb facilities. On 21 May the squadron strafed targets near Lille losing two pilots: F/O Brzeski and Sgt Kempka were shot down and taken prisoner. Next day Sgt Bartkowiak was also lost though he evaded capture and returned to the unit four months later.
On D-Day, 303 flew several times over the landing beaches. With the commencement of the V-1 offensive on London, on 19 June 1944, No. 303 moved to RAF Westhampnett and then to Merston. In June, F/S Chudek (nine kills) was shot down and killed. After D-Day, the squadron remained with Fighter Command, briefly renamed Air Defence of Great Britain (ADGB). On 18 July, the unit went back to Westhampnett and received new Spitfire Mk IXs. Any Luftwaffe fighter opposition now remained largely absent from the Squadron's sphere of operations, but flak defenses still took a toll. On 26 September S/L Drobinski replaced S/L Koc, and No. 303 continued using its Spitfires on various ground attack missions on V-1 and V-2 launch sites located in Holland.
In 1945, No. 303 Squadron moved to RAF Coltishall for operations over Holland. During 1945, No. 303 continued to operate over Holland, and on 3 April, the squadron joined No. 133 Polish Wing at Andrews Field, and was reequipped with the North American Mustang Mk. IV. On 25 April 1945, No. 303 made its last wartime operational sortie, escorting Avro Lancasters on a raid on Berchtesgaden.
No. 303 Squadron was the most effective Polish RAF squadron during the Second World War. Some sources state that its pilots were invited to the London Victory Parade of 1946, one source says that it was the only representative of the Polish Armed Forces in the West. The invitation was refused because no other Polish units were invited. However, according to other sources No. 303 Squadron was not invited and so could not have refused the invitation. After the end of the war, squadron morale decreased due to the treatment of Poland by the Allies, and the squadron was eventually disbanded in December 1946.
From 19 July 1940 until 8 May 1945 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 Total Combat sorties 1,049 2,143 1,348 2,075 2,653 632 9,900 Hours of flight time 1,086 2,743 1,967 3,693 5,259 1,118 15,866
- Enemy aircraft claimed
Battle of Britain Score destroyed 126 probables 13 damaged 9
(4.7% of all enemy aeroplanes during the battle. In fact some 44-60 victories, this however produces a similar percentage.)
1 September 1940 to 8 May 1945 Score destroyed 297 1/6 probables 35 damaged 25
(include 3-0-3 enemy aircraft on the ground)
- 2 August 1940 - RAF Northolt
- 11 October 1940 - RAF Leconfield
- 3 January 1941 - RAF Northolt
- 17 July 1941 - RAF Speke
- 7 October 1941 - RAF Northolt
- 15 June 1942 - Kirton-in-Lindsey
- 16 August 1942 - Redhill
- 20 August 1942 - Kirton-in-Lindsey
- 1 February 1943 - RAF Northolt
- 5 February 1943 - RAF Heston
- 3 March 1943 - RAF Debden
- 12 March 1943 - RAF Heston
- 26 March 1943 - Martlesham Heath
- 8 April 1943 - RAF Heston
- 1 June 1943 - RAF Northolt
- 12 November 1943 - Ballyhalbert
- 30 April 1944 - Horne
- 19 June 1944 - Westhampnett
- 27 June 1944 - Merston
- 9 August 1944 - Westhampnett
- 25 August 1944 - RAF Coltishall
- 4 April 1945 - Andrews Field
- 16 May 1945 - RAF Coltishall
- 9 August 1945 - Andrews Field
- 28 November 1945 - Turnhouse
- 4 January 1946 - Wick
- 31 March 1946 - Charterhall
- 23 March 1946 - RAF Hethel
- 19 July 1940 - Sqn Ldr Ronald Kellett
- 2 August 1940 - Sqn Ldr (mjr) Zdzisław Krasnodębski
- 7 September 1940 - F/O (por.) Witold Urbanowicz
- 22 October 1940 - F/O (por.) Zdzisław Henneberg
- 7 November 1940 - Sqn Ldr (kpt.) Adam Kowalczyk
- 20 February 1941 - Sqn Ldr (por.) Zdzisław Henneberg
- 13 April 1941 - F/Lt (por.) Tadeusz Arentowicz
- 5 May 1941 - Sqn Ldr (kpt.) Wacław Łapkowski
- 3 July 1941 - Sqn Ldr (kpt.) Tadeusz Arentowicz
- 9 July 1941 - Sqn Ldr (kpt.) Jerzy Jankiewicz
- 21 November 1941 - Sqn Ldr (por.) Wojciech Kołaczkowski
- 7 May 1942 - Sqn Ldr (kpt.) Walerian Żak
- 19 May 1942 - Sqn Ldr (por.) Jan Zumbach
- 1 December 1942 - Sqn Ldr(por.) Zygmunt Witymir Bieńkowski
- 4 July 1943 - Sqn Ldr (kpt.) Jan Falkowski
- 21 November 1943 - Sqn Ldr (kpt.) Tadeusz Koc
- 25 September 1944 - Sqn Ldr (kpt.) Bolesław Drobiński
- 1 February 1946 - Sqn Ldr (mjr) Witold Łokuciewski
Pilots of 303
- Sqn Ldr R G Kellett DSO DFC Original CO of 303 Sqn during the Battle of Britain, (five claims)
- Flt Lt John A. Kent, Canadian Flight commander during the Battle, (11 claims)
- Sgt Josef František, Czech Sgt. pilot flying with 303 Polish Squadron, was one of the top fighter pilots of the Battle of Britain, with 17 confirmed kills.
- Fg Off Witold Urbanowicz, Polish commander of 303 Squadron from 5 September 1940, scored 15 kills during the Battle of Britain (17 total)
- Plt Off Jan Zumbach, commander of 303 Squadron from 19 May 1942, scored eight kills during the Battle of Britain (13 total)
Pilot list of the No. 303 Polish "Kościuszko" Fighter Squadron Flight personnel:
Tadeusz Andruszków | Zenon Bartkowiak | Henryk Bieniek | Marian Bełc | Michał Brzezowski | Arsen Cebrzyński | Jan Daszewski | Mirosław Ferić | Athol Forbes | Josef František | Paweł Gallus | Bogdan Grzeszczak | Eugeniusz Horbaczewski | Wojciech Januszewicz | Józef Kania | Stanisław Karubin | John Kent | Bronisław Kłosin | Wojciech Kołaczkowski | Tadeusz Kołecki | Jan Kowalski | Karol Krawczyński | Bogusław Mierzawa | Włodzimierz Miksa | Tadeusz Opulski | Jan Palak
Jerzy Palusiński | Ludwik Paszkiewicz | Edward Paterek | Stanisław Pietraszkiewicz | Marian Pisarek | Mieczysław Popek | Jerzy Radomski | Jan Rogowski
Aleksander Rokitnicki | Tadeusz Sawicz | Henryk Skowron | Bronislaw Sikora | Antoni Siudak | Stanisław Socha | Józef Stasik | Eugeniusz Szaposznikow | Mirosław Wojciechowski | Stefan Wojtowicz | Kazimierz Wunsche
- 8 August 1940 - Hurricane I
- 22 January 1941 - Spitfire I
- 3 March 1941 - Spitfire IIA
- 20 May 1941 - Spitfire IIB
- From 25 August 1941 until 6 October 1941 - Spitfire I
- 7 October 1941 - Spitfire VB
- 1 June 1943 - Spitfire F IXC.
- 12 November 1943 - Spitfire VB, Spitfire VC and Spitfire LF VB, Spitfire LF VC
- 18 July 1944 - Spitfire F IX, Spitfire LF IX and Spitfire HF IX
- 4 April 1945 - Mustang IV and Mustang IVA.
“ I cannot say how proud I am to have been privileged to help form and lead No. 303 squadron and later to lead such a magnificent fighting force as the Polish Wing. There formed within me in those days an admiration, respect and genuine affection for these really remarkable men which I have never lost. I formed friendships that are as firm as they were those twenty-five years ago and this I find most gratifying. We who were privileged to fly and fight with them will never forget and Britain must never forget how much she owes to the loyalty, indomitable spirit and sacrifice of those Polish fliers. They were our staunchest Allies in our darkest days; may they always be remembered as such! ”
Notable appearances in media
The squadron was the subject of the 1942 book "Dywizjon 303" (Squadron 303), written by the well-known Polish writer Arkady Fiedler, which is considered the most famous and popular among this writer's many works and has sold over 1.5 million copies.
Because the book was published during the war, in order to protect the Polish airmen and their families remaining in occupied Poland from German reprisals, Fiedler used pseudonyms for the airmen of 303 Squadron. This practice was mandated in a memo regarding confidential information issued by the Air Ministry dated Oct. 14, 1949. In connection with the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in 2010, a new English translation was commissioned by publisher Aquila Polonica at the request of Fiedler’s son. "303 Squadron: The Legendary Battle of Britain Fighter Squadron" is the first new English-language edition of Dywizjon 303 since 1942, and for the first time in English identifies the pilots by their true names.
In 2010, the squadron's involvement in the Battle of Britain was featured in the dramatized documentary The Polish Battle of Britain produced by Hardy Pictures for the Channel 4 series Bloody Foreigners.