Memory of Polish airman is kept alive

A Hucknall veterinary surgery is making sure that a Polish pilot who was killed in an air crash during World War Two is not forgotten.

A memorial plaque to the airman is mounted on a sandstone wall on West Street near the now-closed Seven Stars pub.

It is directly opposite the Buckley House vets on West Street - and the practice manager, Howard Knott, regularly nips across the road to keep the plaque well polished.

The pilot died when his plane crashed into a house at the junction of Ruffs Drive and Laughton Crescent, Hucknall, in September 1940.

The Evans family of five, who lived at the address, also died in the tragedy. Occupants of a neighbouring house, the Smith family, were injured but survived.

A photo of workmen making the house safe after the crash was published on the front page of the Dispatch on 3rd October 1940.

But wartime reporting restrictions meant that there was no mention of the plane.

The aircraft was a Fairey Battle K9480 from 18 Operational Training Unit at the Royal Air Force base in Hucknall. The pilot was buried with full military honours in Hucknall Cemetery.

Howard (56) said: “Obviously, polishing a plaque is not considered to be part of a practice manager’s job but it is something I feel proud to do.”

The plaque is mentioned in a Notts County Council booklet entitled ‘Aviation in Nottinghamshire -- Airfields and Memorials’.

Next to the memorial is a more recent one in memory of Sally, a collie dog. Known as ‘The Pride of Hucknall’, she raised funds for the Royal Air Force Association, the Royal British Legion and the Polish Red Cross.

Sally had the honour of leading Hucknall’s Remembrance Day parade in 1979.