Worksop’s Polish community and local dignitaries will pay tribute to Squadron Leader Wladyslaw Jan Nowak, a decorated fighter pilot and former Worksop businessman, on Saturday May 14 as part of the Wings Over Worksop event.
The event will mark the 75th anniversary of Sqn Ldr Nowak becoming the first Polish pilot to destroy a German plane a night and recognise his contribution, along with that of thousands of other Poles during the Second World War.
As part of the official events of the day, a memorial bench will be unveiled in the Memorial Gardens, opposite Priory Church, followed by the unveiling of a Blue Plaque which is located on the front of Sqn Ldr Nowak’s former delicatessen on Hardy Street.
As well as being attended by members of the Polish community, dignitaries in attendance will include the Consul General of Poland, chairman of Bassetlaw District Council, Councillor Gwynneth Jones and Colour Parties from the Royal Air Force, Mercian Regiment and Veterans organisations.
Stephen Brown, head of Corporate Services and Armed Forces Liaison Officer at Bassetlaw District Council, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to commemorate Sqn Ldr Nowak’s war effort and recognise his work in the community with refugees after the Second World War.”
Having trained as a pilot and become an officer and instructor at the Pilot School in Grudziadz, Sqn Ldr Nowak was forced to escape Poland in 1939 through Romania, Syria, Beirut and France to UK where he eventually served with 306 Squadron of the Polish Air Force in Great Britain.
His daughter Krysia Michna-Nowa has written abook about her dad after having his diaries translated. She said: “We lived above the shop in Hardy Street in the early 50s and we had lots of Polish customers who were in the air force.”