Polish Spitfire on show at Blackpool Airport

A Spitfire flown by a Second World War Polish fighter ace has landed in Blackpool after a delay caused by the pandemic.

By Tim Gavell
Friday, 13th August 2021, 3:30 pm
Updated Friday, 13th August 2021, 3:50 pm

The Mark V Spitfire is on display at the Hangar 42 aviation museum at Blackpool Airport this weekend after flying in for a special visit.

The aircraft, P8331 Sumatra, is painted in the colours of Wing Commander Piotr Laguna, who was stationed in Blackpool in the early days of the war after escaping from his native Poland when the Nazis over ran the country in 1939.

He and other Polish airman who escaped the German Blitzkrieg, trained at Squires Gate before joining RAF squadrons to fight against the Luftwaffe which had been bombing Britain during the Battle of Britain.

A Polish Spitfire painted in the colours of a WW2 hero based in Blackpool is on display at Hangar 42. Pictured is volunteer Paul Lomax.

Piotr had been a bomber pilot in Poland fighting the Nazis and after his escape, he eventually assumed command of A Flight of 302 Squadron, the first Polish fighter squadron in the RAF.

A year later he was Commanding Officer of the First Polish Fighter Wing (303,306,308 Squadrons) based at RAF Northolt.

Sadly on June 27, 1941, Piotr was lost to anti-aircraft fire in a daring sortie whilst attacking a German airfield in Coquelles, just outside of Calais.

Dave Harvey, Pilot of the Polish Heritage Flights Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane collection will be hosting a number of meet and greet sessions at the Spitfire Visitor Centre, Blackpool Airport.

Volunteer Paul Lomax takes a close look at the aircraft.

The aircraft was due to visit in June, but the extension of lockdown restrictions meant the event had to be delayed.

The 90 minute sessions, include a welcome and tea and coffee, a meet the Pilot session in which Dave will talk about the Polish Heritage Flight, the Aircraft he flies and about the Spitfire, plus a walk around the aircraft and pre flight checks etc with a chance to look in cockpit.

There will also be a brief guided tour of Hangar 42 from its knowledgeable volunteer team.

John Coombes from Hangar 42 said: "We are delighted to have such a close working relationship with the Polish Heritage Flight and hope that they will feature in our future plans to expand the Spitfire Visitor Centre as an educational centre, with these iconic warbirds at its centre.

Inside Hangar 42

"RAF Squires Gate played a major role in training RAF personnel during WW2, with all Polish RAF Squadrons being formed in Blackpool, before deployment, this visit is a fitting tribute.”

Hangar 42 is open to the public every Saturday from 10am until 4pm and also also takes school visit bookings for September and beyond.

To take part in the special Polish Spitfire events this Sunday visit the Facebook page to book tickets in advance: https://www.facebook.com/SpitfireVisitorCentre