Cowes and East Cowes will be celebrating Polish style as the weekend of the 4th-7th May marks the 75th anniversary of the ORP Blyskawica’s defence of the towns.
Overnight on the 4-5 May 1942, during WW2, the Luftwaffe carried out a ferocious aerial attack on Cowes using some 160 fighter bombers in two raids. Fortunately for the town, the Polish Destroyer ORP Blyskawica was in the harbour for a refit, and against Admiralty regulations, was armed to the teeth. That night, the Blyskawica crew put up an impressive defence of the town and their ship throughout the raids. The intensity of her gunfire, coupled with a smokescreen laid across the town, dramatically reduced the effectiveness of the raid. Over 70 people died and all of Cowes and East Cowes firmly believe that except for the fierce resistance of the Polish sailors, the damage to lives, property and factories would have been far greater. The towns had been saved by these and other men from near destruction.
The towns will be celebrating ORP Blyskawica with a programme of events which can be viewed here.