Memory and loyalty – the 75th anniversary of the defense of Cowes

On Sunday May 7th 2017, representatives of SOS Polonia – employees, Community Advocates and our supporters – took part in the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the defence of the city of Cowes on the Isle of Wight.
On the night of May 4th 1942, the island was attacked by German planes. The Polish battleship ORP Błyskawica, commanded by Commander Wojciech Francki, played a key role in defence of the city. Residents of Cowes still remember the city’s defence and mention the heroic crew of ORP Błyskawica. During the four-day commemoration of the anniversary, the city was filled with fluttering red and white flags. Polish national colours were also visible in shop windows.
More than 70 lives were lost in the attack, from the Cowes residents and from the heroic Polish defenders who set out to defend the city without having to wait for orders. At the central point of the city promenade, a plaque was unveiled to commemorate those whose lives were lost.
The ceremony included, among others, the Polish war hero Major Otton Hulacki, and Janina Doroszkowska – the daughter of Commander ORP Błyskawica Wojciech Franckiego – who thanked Cowes for their memory and loyalty to her father and the great achievements of all Poles who fought during World War II for the freedom of the United Kingdom and the World.
The anniversary was celebrated by the Polish Navy and the local military regiments. During the celebrations on the coast of the island, ORP Gniezno tied into the simultaneous commemoration in Swinoujscie, Poland.

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