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Object of the Month – August

The winner of this month’s object of the month vote is…

IMG_0191

Flight Lieutenant Tadecusz Felc’s Royal Air Force Uniform

This object is an iconic symbol of allied forces in the Second World War and has a great story attached to it. Curator of Social History Edwin Rutherford gives us the low down on the uniform and the man who wore it.

“Tadecusz Felc (1919-1964) was a Polish Spitfire Pilot of 317 (Polish) Squadron. His squadron flew from many British airbases throughout the Second World War (1939-1945), but RAF Kingstown near Carlisle became its main base.

The bands on the tunic’s arm show his rank, while the coloured bars above the right pocket show which campaigns the owner fought in. The distinctive RAF eagle badge can clearly be seen above the the campaign bars along with the Polish Air Force medal below.

Tadecusz Felc’s war started in Poland when the airfield he was training at was attacked by the German air force, the Luftwaffe. as his home country was overrun he volunteered to join the allies, and completed his pilot training in Britain.

He joined 317 Squadron which had several duties:

  • Protecting convoys of supply ships to Britain
  • Provideing air cover against German bombing raids
  • Providing fighter protection to allied bombers

IMG_0190During one of these bomber escort missions his Spitfire was shot down. Captured by the Germans he was taken to the prisoner of war camp Stalag Luft III where he assisted in the Great Escape by depositing soil from the tunnels Tom, Dick and Harry.

After surviving an infamous forced march Tadecusz Felc was liberated in May 1945. He went back to Cumbria to the Carlisle girl he had married three weeks before he was shot down.”

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