Battle of Britain Legend - 303 (Polish) Squadron

Having spent ten years researching their role in the Battle of Britain, Richard King delves into the legend to answer the question: fact or fiction?

Northolt-based 303 Squadron was declared operational on the evening of August 30, 1940, following its first victory claim by Ludwik Paszkiewicz during a training flight; an event immortalised in the movie Battle of Britain albeit with some artistic licence.

By the time the squadron was belatedly withdrawn from the frontline for a well-deserved rest six weeks later, their official tally stood at a staggering 126 enemy aircraft destroyed. This, for the loss in combat of six pilots killed and 15 Hurricanes destroyed, not only confirmed the Poles as the top scoring RAF unit in the Battle but also confirmed they had the best claim/loss ratio. Given what was at stake, their record was – and arguably still is – unequalled in the annals of air combat, thus cementing the legend.

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