DEPUTY Chief Minister of Gibraltar Joseph Garcia likened the death of a Polish war hero exactly 80 years ago this week to the struggle to support Ukraine.

Garcia spoke to a large crowd of military people and civilians about General Wladyslaw Sikorski who died in a freak accident on July 4 1943 in Gibraltar.

Sikorski, Poland’s Prime Minister in exile at the time died when the Liberator Bomber he was flying in crashed into the sea 15 seconds after taking off from the local airport.

Although various authors claimed his death was staged, they could never prove it.

But Garcia dwelt on the common sense of duty, shared principles and values and determination to stand up for what is right between Poland and Gibraltar.

He attended a special religious service at the St Mary’s Cathedral and later lay a wreath at the Sikorski Memorial at Europa Point.

Garcia, a keen historian himself, paid tribute to Sikorski, who he said represented the Polish resistance to Nazi oppression.

Over 100 Polish pilots served in the Royal Air Force, its ships sailed to the UK when war broke out and its infantry fought with the Brits in different operations.

In total, six million Poles died in World War II, a fifth of the country’s pre-war population.

‘Today’s commemorations offer an important opportunity for reflection,” Garcia said.

“Eighty years on, Gibraltar is united with Poland and our European allies in backing the struggle against tyranny elsewhere.

“We are defending the same values in 2023 that we stood for in 1943, as we stand together with the people of Ukraine.

“I am proud that this enduring alliance between Poland and the United Kingdom enjoys the full support of the Government and the people of Gibraltar,” he added.

However, a damning EU report Wednesday raised ‘serious concerns’ about the independence of courts and judges in Poland.

Brussels has also clashed with Warsaw over migrant rules, attacks on LGBTIQ rights and a nationwide abortion ban.

The day after the ceremony Minister for Heritage John Cortes attended a dinner held by the Office for War Veterans and Victims of Oppression at the Rock Hotel.


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