Tadeusz Sawicz - Polish RAF Pilot Dies at 97

The last surviving Polish Battle of Britain pilot Tadeusz Sawicz has died aged 97 in Canada. His remains were returned to Poland for a state burial. The Polish Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak, together with Polish and British armed forces, met the arrival of his ashes at Warsaw military airport.

On 30 November 2011 a requiem mass took place at the Field Cathedral of the Polish Army followed by a funeral ceremony and burial in the Powazki Military Cemetery in Warsaw.

The video shows the arrival of the remains of Tadeusz Sawicz in Warsaw, the requiem mass and burial in Powazki Military Cemetery.

Tadeusz Sawicz took part in air operations against the Germans when they invaded Poland in 1939. He evaded capture by escaping to Romania and later continued the fight in France. After France fell he made his way to England, joined 303 Squadron of the RAF and took part in the Battle of Britain.

He was awarded the Polish military honour a Virtuti Militari Silver Cross and the Distinguished Flying Cross from Britain, the United States and the Netherlands

The British Ambassador to Poland, Robin Barnett, delivered an address at the funeral:

... General Sawicz was the last survivor of the Polish pilots who flew operationally in the Battle of Britain...I cannot overstate the importance of his personal contribution and that of his friends. Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding, Commander in Chief Fighter Command, said it better than I could:

‘Had it not been for the magnificent material contributed by the Polish squadrons and their unsurpassed gallantry, I hesitate to say that the outcome of the battle would have been the same’

It is my privilege to acknowledge on behalf of my grateful nation the courage and sacrifice of General Tadeusz Sawicz. In our darkest hours he came to fight for our freedom as well as Poland’s. We will never forget.

Tadeusz W. Sawicz died in Toronto, Canada, on 19 October 2011 aged 97.

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This page was added on 03 December 2011. Updated on 21 August 2016.