Last of Polish Pilots Who Foiled Hitler in UK Dead at 97
Tadeusz Sawicz earned high military honors for bravery
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 27, 2011 4:10 AM CDT
Tadeusz Sawicz, believed to have been the last surviving Polish pilot who fought in the Battle of Britain, has died at 97 years old.   (Polish Air Force)
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(Newser) – A Polish fighter pilot believed to have been the last of those who fought alongside the English to stop Hitler's advance in the Battle of Britain has died at 97, reports the New York Daily News. After the Nazis took over his homeland in 1939, Tadeusz Sawicz made his way to France, where he fought until Paris fell; he then took up the fight in Britain in July 1940, just as the Luftwaffe began its three-month-long failed assault on England. Some 17,000 Polish pilots, mechanics, and ground staff fought for Britain, leading Winston Churchill to say of the decisive victory, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."

Sawicz earned Distinguished Flying Crosses from Poland four times, as well as the American, British, and Dutch equivalent for his service during the war. After Poland was taken over by Soviet-backed communists at World War II's close, Sawicz moved to Britain and later emigrated to Canada in 1957. Sawicz earned Poland's highest military honor and was granted the rank of brigadier general in 2006.