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Remembrance Day 2017: Paying tribute to 18 nationalities who served at Fairlop Plain

PUBLISHED: 19:04 12 November 2017 | UPDATED: 09:56 13 November 2017

Remembrance service at Fairlop Waters Country Park, on Saturday, November 11. Picture: Ellie Hoskins

Remembrance service at Fairlop Waters Country Park, on Saturday, November 11. Picture: Ellie Hoskins

Archant

A Polish pilot who flew out of RAF Fairlop during the Second World War was given a special mention at the Fairlop Waters Remembrance service on Saturday, November 11.

The Polish flag was flown and the Polish national anthem played in memory of Stanislaw Kurowicki. He was the only pilot of 317 Squadron lost during their stay at Fairlop.

As in previous years, the Remembrance event was organised by the Fairlop Heritage Group. Each year a special tribute is paid to a different nationality - this year it was the contribution of the Netherlands that was honoured. Flight officer Kurowicki was mentioned because it was only recently discovered that he was Polish - it had been thought he was Russian.

David Martin, of the heritage group, told the gathering at the country park in Forest Road, Barkingside: “We are here this morning to remember over 6,000 men and women of 18 nationalities who served here on Fairlop Plain in two world wars. We should all be grateful for their service and sacrifice so we can enjoy our freedom today.”

Former Second World War air gunner Max Bean, 92, who lives in Barkingside, read The Fallen poem - a traditional part of Remembrance services.

He told the Recorder: “All my family were in the First World War and the importance of honouring Armistice Day was drummed into me as a lad living in Woodford Green.

Now we remember the chaps we knew. I lost quite a few mates serving during the Second World War.”

Among those paying their respects was Ilford South MP Mike Gapes – who told the assembled crowd that his father had served as a radio operator in India and Burma during the Second World War and his great uncle had been killed in the Battle of the Somme during the First World War.

Ilford North MP Wes Streeting said it was difficult to imagine the days when the now tranquil Fairlop park was a busy RAF base with spitfires and other aircraft taking off and landing in the middle of war. He said one in five pilots in the Battle of Britain had come from overseas, adding: “Without their service and sacrifice we might not be here today.”

All generations were represented. The 1st Hainault Scouts and Air Scouts laid wreaths, with Ethan Cartwright, 14, and Lewis Wotton, 12, carrying their flags.

Barkingside British Legion standard bearer John Bowers said: “I didn’t serve in armed forces but I wanted to give something back. We would not have the freedom we have today if it was not for these men and women who laid down their lives for all of us.”

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