Welcome to the Łaguna's Spitfire Legacy (LSL) Project

Scott Booth - Company Director

Brief

Welcome to Laguna’s Spitfire Legacy (LSL) project.

Thank you for taking the time to read this document. The idea behind LSL is to create a lasting recognition to the brave Battle of Britain Pilots with a specific focus on a central figurehead in Wing Commander Piotr Łaguna. These brave pilots whom were so pivotal in the outcome of the Second World War, were coined by Sir Winston Churchill as “The Few”.

LSL’s sole aim is to deliver this, through interaction with the public at organized events such as Polish Heritage days, Airshows and other such appropriate wartime events around the country. This will take place in the form of a full scale replica of Wing Commander Laguna’s 303 Squadron Spitfire, P8331 RF-M Sumatra. He flew this aircraft for the last time and was lost on 27th June 1941 over Coquelles, France. This will be for the public to see, touch and feel. We will also have a full scale cockpit replica for people to experience what it was like to sit in and fly a Spitfire. Supporting this will be an exhibition of personal equipment and articles relating to the aircraft and pilot(s).

Why

The Battle of Britain (BoB) was arguably the biggest turning point of WW2. Had the RAF not managed to surpress and hold back the German Luftwaffe, inevitably Great Britain would have fallen and, alas, Europe as a whole. To take this one step further, Britain had a big problem during this time: a lack of pilots and more specifically, experienced pilots.

The Polish were initially held back for language challenges until a break of procedure ended up with the Polish demonstrating their deadly flying skills with successfully shooting down a number of enemy aircraft without loss of pilots. At this point they were made operational and flew the last 42 days (Half of the period) of the BoB. During this time 303 Squadron became the highest scoring squadron with 126 enemy aircraft destroyed and the loss of 8 pilots. This was a remarkable feat, given their RAF counterparts shot down less and lost more pilots.

This ultimately made them the heroes of the hour. They were seen as ferocious and brave as well as deadly and skilled. They were admired and respected by their counterparts as well as by the enemy.

How

We would like to engage business, communities and schools to promote an interest for young adults in communities aiding intergration, engineering, leadership, management and motivation.

Business

There has been a long standing pride and global recognition of the quality of British Engineering Aerospace, Medical research and development, Banking and IT. The list is endless. However, it is very clear that the country faces a challenge in terms of recruiting young adults to choose a career in skilled roles in any given discipline.

LSL would like to work with businesses in actively engaging these young adults and inspiring a career into their chosen area of interest. This, we feel, could be through co-marketing and sponsorship as well as through trade fairs where we could have the replica there to act as part of their stand space or recruitment campaign. We hope that businesses will look to partner with us and choose a package of sponsorship, which will allow them a level of access to the project and also to our team of experts who can deliver anything from historical talks to motivational speakers and management skills.

Communities

The Anglo/Polish historical relationship has extended over many hundreds of years and has been positive for both countries with a huge respect held for each other. During WW2 the Polish forces, having been ordered to evacuate Poland, ended up as one of our strongest allies with associations to the most ferocious battles of that time including the aforementioned Battle of Britain and Monte Casino to name but two. These are seen as much Polish Battles as they were British.

Over the last few years, the Polish communities have made great efforts to try to integrate into local communities such as Polish Heritage Days and participation in local groups, councils and schooling. This, for the majority, has been very successful.

There is a large population of Polish people now working and living in the UK, the largest number since the end of WW2. Whilst intergration has been positive, there have been some challenges to communities with acceptance. This is seen specifically with children and young adults. They find that they have an identity crisis, having been either born in Poland or in the UK but living with Polish parents, and having to intergrate into British culture and lifestyle as a mixture of the two countries' heritage. It can be challenging at times for them.

The Future

We would like to encourage people to firstly remember the 80th Anniversary of the BoB. This was not of course just about the Polish pilots, but a representation of many pilots from many countries around the globe.

We would like schools to actively participate in remembrance of a pilot that is specific to the school. This may take the form of a former pupil as an example or a local pilot from the village / town / city / country. We would encourage them to research the pilot and produce a piece of work that tells the history of them and add pictures or art work to this. LSL would then create a database and web page that displayed this for the public to read and see. Finally we would then like to invite the school or participating pupils to come and see a flying Spitfire and hear some talks from the Pilot and historians.

Time Frames

Date / Action

Sep 2019 - Schools packs available

Dec 2019 - 2020 Diary plan set

Feb 2020 - Replica ordered

May 2020 - Replica delivered