Friday, 21 November 2008


Taken from with thanks
A poignant and melancholy letter from a 304 Squadron crewman at RAF Benbecula. Reading it saddened me and accented the hardships experienced by Poles on remote outposts fighting a war they never wanted, but one they wouldn't run away from.
"Summing up their loneliness, George (Jerzy) Glebocki of 304 (Slaski) Squadron wrote from Benbecula in 1944, "
“ Our quaint little isle, inhospitable and unfriendly as it seemed at first has many hidden charms. As if nature herself in recompense for bad weather and rain, wanted in the rare moments of respite, to stun and intoxicate us. Morning rose like many others, bathed in misty drizzle. A new flight was already hovering somewhere out over the icy Atlantic, tracking German U-boats, waging a cunning and ingenious war against the inventive skill of German engineers, and against the U-boat Schnorkel. An almost hopeless war. So many flights endured in vain in this terribly difficult struggle. So many hundreds of hours of torture, vomiting, engines and crews dying in wild, devilish burst of squalls, in the cruel clutch of icing 500 feet over the raging Atlantic. Till finally one morning in the grey dawn “X”, for X-Ray, from our Squadron reported that he was attacking a streak of smoke ahead of him. A flame growing from the water. He knew that it was the first and probably the last chance for attack. The explosion and the plume of foam blotted out the scene. When the water settled there was on the spot of the attack an ever-widening patch of shiny oil. That was all. Hundreds of flying hours for an attack lasting a few seconds. Night again lengthens and at last the wind falls. Slowly we leave the mess. This solitude on the island, this desertedness, this overlooking of all our work. The uncertainty of our fate and our morrow, and the wrong done against the living body of our nation, against all that is holy to us. What is the aim, the essence of this war? The wind catches our words and tosses them into space. We do not know whether it is the wind or the rain, or whether tears flow over our cheeks”.
I am sure you will have your own feelings on this.