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Long-serving 309 (Sawbridgeworth) Squadron Air Training Corps commander Flt Lt Andrew Passfield awarded Bronze Medal of the Polish Armed Forces





A long-serving commanding officer with Sawbridgeworth air cadets squadron has been presented with one of the Polish armed forces' top medals.

Flight Lieutenant Andrew Passfield was invited to the Polish Embassy in London to receive his prestigious award and meet Polish dignitaries.

He said: “It was an incredibly proud moment to be recognised and a very special day.”

Flt Lt Andrew Passfield receives his Bronze Medal
Flt Lt Andrew Passfield receives his Bronze Medal

A spokesman for the Polish armed forces said: “The award of the Bronze Medal of the Polish Armed Forces was made to Flt Lt Andrew Passfield, Royal Air Force Air Cadets, in recognition of his long and outstanding leadership of the Sawbridgeworth air cadet unit and upholding and promoting the honoured memory of the 309 number plate that was associated with (Land of Czerwień) Polish Fighter Squadron RAF.”

When 309 (Sawbridgeworth) Squadron Air Training Corps (ATC) was formed on January 12, 1984, Flying Officer Passfield was appointed the squadron adjutant. He later served 29 years as commanding officer and recently completed 50 years’ service with the ATC.

He was nominated for the award by Sawbridgeworth town councillor John Burmicz when he was mayor in 2020-21. John’s late father served with the British Army and later in the Second World War with the Royal Air Force as a wireless operator in 300 Squadron RAF, a Polish manned unit in Bomber Command.

Flt Lt Andrew Passfield, centre, at the Polish Embassy with Cllr John Burmicz, second right, and Polish dignitaries
Flt Lt Andrew Passfield, centre, at the Polish Embassy with Cllr John Burmicz, second right, and Polish dignitaries

Cllr Burmicz said: “Andrew has helped build characters and inspire many young cadets over his years of service to the ATC and this award is the least that I could organise to recognise this fact.

“It is also another positive step in maintaining Anglo-Polish relations, which is another of my priorities. We could do with a few more Andrews in today’s society to lead and inspire."

The award was established by Poland in 1999 to recognise service to the country's armed forces by foreign civilians and military personnel. The majority are awarded to members of Allied armed forces, but the medal is also presented to civilians who contribute to promoting the history and traditions of the Polish armed forces abroad.

Flt Lt Passfield, his wife Shona and John and Sandra Burmicz attended the Polish Embassy in Portland Place, London, on Wednesday March 8.

Flt Lt Andrew Passfield and wife Shona with John and Sandra Burmicz, left
Flt Lt Andrew Passfield and wife Shona with John and Sandra Burmicz, left

Flt Lt Passfield added: “It was an amazingly warm welcome and it was humbling to meet and talk with the other guests, some of whom were also being presented with awards.

“The Polish consul, Mateusz Stᶏsiek, was in attendance, and the speeches acknowledged the very close and important relationship between our two nations.”



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