Horncastle happy to fly the flag and mark Polish links

Polish soldiers stationed in the area during the Second World War.

Polish soldiers stationed in the area during the Second World War.

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The Polish flag will be proudly flying over two of Horncastle’s most iconic buildings on Saturday (May 6) as part of a new national initiative.

Polish Heritage Day has been launched by the Polish Embassy and seeks to invite openness, appreciation and better understanding between the Polish community and the wider British society,

The day will also highlight the significant bonds between GB and Poland which began in the Second World War - and holds a lasting legacy to this day.

Many polish servicemen were based in Horncastle and Woodhall Spa during the Second World War.

And on Saturday, those links will be commemorated when Polish flags will fly over the War Memorial Hospital in North Street and Stanhope Hall.

It follows a request to Horncastle Town Council by local resident Simon Elmer.

A former chairman of the Woodhall Spa 1940s Festival, Mr Elmer is a keen student of Second World War history, specialising in Polish military history.

He acts as standard bearer for Polish veterans at many events and organises a major commemorative event every year at Newark’s Polish Military Cemetery.

Mr Elmer approached the town councillors for permission to fly the flags in Horncastle and said he was delighted to receive their support.

Mr Elmer said: “I would like to thank the town council. It’s a splendid gesture and it will be wonderful to see the flags flying over the town.”

Town mayor Coun Bill Aron said the council was aware of the area’s strong war-time links with Poland and was ‘proud’ to support the Heritage Day.

Across the country, many towns will fly Polish flags and events will include picnics, exhibitions, lectures and social gatherings.

Woodhall Spa was among several Lincolnshire bases that hosted Polish Air Force bomber and fighter squadrons in the Second World War.

Polish Army units, such as the Polish Parachute Brigade, Carpathian Lancers armoured car regiment and the 16th Pomeranian Infantry Brigade, were also based at Woodhall and RAF East Kirkby between 1945-47 before being disbanded.

Mr Elmer added: “Many service personnel opted not to return to Soviet-occupied Poland and stayed in Lincolnshire to forge new lives.”

Mr Elmer has an extensive collection of photographs showing Polish service personnel in the area during the war. The photos include the 66th Infantry Battalion of the 16th Pomorski Infantry Brigade.