Polish Memorial Unveiling

  |  Published: Nov 18th 2013
The ‘Brats’ march down Armoury Hill
The ‘Brats’ march down Armoury Hill

In 1943 several hundred Polish boys, some as young as 13 and many orphaned, endured a harrowing journey via the Middle East to the United Kingdom and freedom. After a period of acclimatising to their new environment, many were sent to RAF Halton to start Apprentice Training with the 49th and 50th entries.  Although still bearing the scars of their ordeal, they settled enthusiastically into life as Halton Brats and graduated in 1948.

In 1944 a stone flag staff base painted in the colours of the polish flag was erected at the edge of the Henderson Parade Square at the Recruit Training Squadron site.  Each morning at Colour Hoisting Parade the Polish flag was raised, and then lowered at sunset. 

By the turn of the century the site had deteriorated almost beyond recognition and, on seeing it in that state, Charlie Jeffery, (47th Entry),  decided he would completely restore it as a memorial to his Polish friends.  Over the past few years our fickle climate has taken its toll again and the site began to look in need of some serious care and attention.  Fortunately rescue was at hand, when Cpl Andy Brown and a team of four recruits volunteered to renovate it for this Triennial Reunion.  Cpl Brown attended the event and was given a huge vote of thanks from the Association for the magnificent job he and the recruits did, he was also asked to pass on thanks to members of his team unable to be there.

Min Larkin ex-Vice Chairman of the Halton Apprentice Association, said: “Opportunity was taken during the 2013 Triennial Reunion to unveil the recently restored memorial to the Polish Apprentices who served in the 49th and 50th Entries. Located on the side of Henderson Square the memorial is a replica of a flag pole base which was in the form of a Polish flag. At the Colour Hoisting Parade each morning in the 1940’s both the RAF ensign and the Polish flag were raised. We were delighted to see Charlie Jeffery at the event and thank him most sincerely for preserving this important part of our heritage."

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