For Your Freedom and Ours
By Lynne Olsen and Stanley Cloud
Essential reading for anyone with a fleeting interest in WWII, and a book that demands to be read in one sitting. Telling the story of the Polish fighter pilots who made up the Kościuszko Squadron that fought in the Battle of Britain this is a non-fiction work that shatters the common myths associated with Poland’s role in WWII. The book traces the lives of key members, from their early days as dashing cadets, to their transformation into a elite combat unit. Having gained early experience against the Luftwaffe in the battle for Poland, many of the pilots who went on to form the Kościuszko 303 squadron escaped via Romania, then France, before ending up in England. Having endured foul treatment from the French – seemingly uninterested in sharing the Poles desire to defeat the Nazis – the Poles arrived in Britain only to be met with the same suspicions and distrust. 'Poles cannot fight,' and 'Poles certainly can not fly' appeared to be common sentiments. Even with the German army massing their forces on the other side of the channel, the English were reluctant to let the Polish pilots into the fray.