c. 1943

Polish flying ace Jan Zumbach, left, of the 303 Kosciuszko Polish Fighter Squadron poses with his Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Vb EN951 RF-D. Zumbach was stationed with the RAF at this time, and the plane bears his distinctive Donald Duck symbol. With him are Wing Commander Stefan Witorzenc (center) and Flight Lieutenant Zygmunt Bienkowski (right).

Image: Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

When Germany and the Soviet Union invaded Poland at the outbreak of World War II, the Polish air force was quickly defeated. Many pilots escaped to France and Britain, eventually forming a force of over 8,000 airmen in Britain, which they called Wyspa Ostatniej Nadziei — “The Island of the Last Hope.” Read more…

More about Poland, Aviation, World War Ii, History, and Retronaut

Continue reading:  

The exiled Polish pilots who flew against the Nazis