Isle of Wight Blitz Marked

Polish Destroyer Which Spared Towns Remembered

Błyskawica, now a museum ship located in Gdynia.

EVENTS HAVE taken place on the Isle of Wight marking the 75th anniversary of the destructive blitz on the island on 4 May 1942. Seventy people were killed in the raids, in which 160 Luftwaffe aircraft participated, focusing on ship-building facilities in Cowes and East Cowes. However, the towns and the wider island were spared from what may have been a much more destructive raid.

A Polish destroyer, ORP Błyskawica, was moored in the docks at Cowes undergoing an emergency refit. A German reconnaissance flight indicated to the ship’s captain, Wojciech Francki, a raid might be on the way, and he ensured his warship had stocks of ammunition on board. Sure enough, German aircraft attacked in two waves on the night of 4/5 May.

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