I remain shocked that so many fellow Herefordians voted to leave the EU, frankly I don't understand it. But there is a continuing problem of dislike, amounting in some cases to hatred, judging by various reported incidents of hooligan and racial abuse. I wish to give testimony, as they say, on behalf of the Polish amongst us.

In the centre of their capital Warsaw, is a War memorial, inscribed with the battle honour 'Bitwa O Anglie 1941.' This I discovered meant 'the Battle of Britain' which led me to research the part they played in that battle for our survival.  It was enormously significant!

When Poland was finally overrun, after an epic defence against the Germans on one frontier, and the Russians on another, their remaining pilots were ordered to fly their planes to neutral Sweden, thus denying them to their county's invaders, although there

they would be impounded and the pilots 'supposedly' interned.

Nevertheless some 400 Polish military pilots safely 'out of the war,' escaped the light Swedish restraints, and made their individual way back into the war, across the North Sea to Scotland. In 1941 the war was going badly for the British. We were losing an average of seven Spitfires a day, which by an amazing effort by factory workers could just about be replaced, but something approaching 50 pilots a week, were being killed or injured in combat.  Despite volunteers from across the Empire and even the USA (not

yet in the war until 1942), and remnants of air-forces of  other occupied countries, it had reached the point where nothing was left but 18 year-old, British sixth-formers. Volunteering, they were being taken out of school, trained for 12 hours, and these brave boys sent into combat, sadly mismatched against the experienced Luftwaffe pilots, with inevitably high casualties. A large German invasion army was poised across the channel, waiting only for the Luftwaffe to gain control of the skies, when the experienced

Polish military pilots started to arrive and went immediately into battle.

If the Germans had been able to invade, then the remains of the British army that had just been rescued from the beaches of Dunkirk, which had been unable to bring out their heavy equipment - tanks, artillery etc; could hardly have stopped the invasion. It is no small tribute to the Poles that they were a key part of that fight, that saved us from invasion and military occupation, inevitably losing the war. It was that serious!

So, if you feel tempted to complain about Polish guest-workers being here, then remember what 'a debt of gratitude' means. They were very welcome when we needed them - for decent, right thinking people, they should be welcome now!  

Clive Lindley.