Memorial honours Poland's WWII heroes

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Thousands of Poles fled their homeland, many never to return, when their country was invaded by the Germans and the Russians during World War II. The Polish Armed Forces Memorial being unveiled later aims to commemorate their heroism.

It stands at the end of a broad, grassy avenue, and with every step you take, the giant bronze figures on top of a block of polished granite come more sharply into focus.

They each represent a specific branch of the Polish armed forces. A pilot from a squadron that fought in the Battle of Britain; a seaman from the small Polish navy; a soldier who took part in the vicious battle of Monte Cassino and a woman resistance fighter.

It is the latest addition to the sprawling grounds of the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. Scattered throughout the 150 acres of avenues, arbours and groves there are poignant reminders of the dead, ranging from the gigantic Armed Forces Memorial built from blocks of white Portland stone, to a simple plaque on a bush or tree.

There are other monuments throughout the country dedicated to the Poles who fought for the Allies. But this one is the biggest and it is thought to be the first to include all the branches of the armed forces alongside the underground fighters.

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