: Poland's last known Battle of Britain vet buried
Tadeusz Sawicz 97, was buried in Poland six weeks after his death in Toronto.
A pilot in the Polish Air Force at the time of the 1939 German invasion of Poland, Mr. Sawicz was among the first to face the formidable power of the German Luftwaffe.
The main Polish fighter, an open cockpit biplane, had once been considered the most advanced in the world, but Polish pilots soon discovered it was horribly outdated against German Messerschmitt Bf 109s. Nevertheless, Mr. Sawicz was able to score at least two kills in the opening days of the conflict.
Sawicz was among the 145 Polish pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain, 31 of which died in action.
In the 1940 Battle of Britain, German bombers pounded Britain's ports, airfields and cities in a bid to destroy its defenses in preparation for either invasion or surrender.
Six weeks after Tadeusz Sawicz breathed his last in a Toronto nursing home, his ashes arrived in Poland Tuesday to a hero's welcome.
A Canadian resident since 1957, the 97-year-old former airman and general was the last surviving Polish veteran of the Battle of Britain.
"General, welcome in Poland, we shall always remember what you have done for the Republic of Poland," said Polish Defence Minister Tomasz Siemoniak as Mr. Sawicz ashes were received at Warsaw military airport by a joint contingent of Polish and British troops. Mr. Sawicz was named an honorary brigadier-general in 2006 by Poland's president at the time, Lech Kaczynski.