A memorial has been unveiled at Saling Airfield (Andrewsfield) near Dunmow to commemorate the airmen and ground crew of 309 Polish Squadron, who served there in the Second World War.

The commemorative stained glass window was commissioned by the family of the first Polish commanding officer of 309, Colonel Karol Zygmunt Pistl.

Karol's granddaughter Marta Flavin (née Pistl) and her husband Shay Flavin came to the UK for the unveiling of the window, which depicts the squadron emblem and was designed and produced by artist Angi Driver, who also attended the ceremony.

Colonel Zygmunt Pistl was born in 1897, and fought with the Austrian army during the First World War on the Italian front.

During the Second World War, he arrived in the UK with the Polish Air Force in July 1940, then became commanding officer of the squadron in November of that same year, holding the position until February 1943.

He was discharged from the Air Force in 1949, then became president of the London branch of the Association of Polish Airmen. He received the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta in 1975, and died in November 1981.

Richard Kornicki, chairman of the Polish Air Force Memorial Committee, laid a wreath on the committee's behalf. Also in attendance was Joe Pietrzak, the grandson of Henryk Pietrzak - the last commanding officer of 309 Squadron.

Dunmow Broadcast: Joe Pietrzak, the grandson of Henryk Pietrzak, and Marta Flavin, granddaughter of Colonel Karol Zygmunt PistlJoe Pietrzak, the grandson of Henryk Pietrzak, and Marta Flavin, granddaughter of Colonel Karol Zygmunt Pistl (Image: Jason Gore 2018 Copyright All Rights Reserved)

Sqn Ldr Pietrzak took command in July 1945, and led the squadron until January 1947 when it was demoblised at RAF Coltishall.

Following the unveiling ceremony, a Spitfire arrived from Duxford's historic aircraft collection, flown by Clive Denney. This Spitfire served with 315 and 317 Polish Squadrons in 1942 and currently wears the colours of 317 Squadron.

While in 315 Squadron, the aircraft was flown by Richard Kornicki’s father, General Franciszek Kornicki.

Tad Dippel, who is in charge of operations at Saling Airfield, said: "Our thanks go to the owner and to Derek Rusling from Polish Heritage Flight for enabling the aircraft to be brought to RAF Andrewsfield, now known as Saling Airfield.

"Thank you also to Mike Rowland, Carol Cooper (the directors of Andrewsfield Aviation Ltd.), and several sponsors who enabled this day to happen."