The Yalta Agreement signed by Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin in February 1945 ensured that Poland would become a satellite of the Soviet Union. Though everything the Poles had fought for was now lost, to their great credit they continued to fight out of duty to their homeland and loyalty to their British and allied brothers in arms. The war went on and the Polish Air Force continued to fly and fight as the Third Reich slowly ground to a halt. On 25 April 1945, the Lancasters of 300 Squadron, escorted by 303 Squadron's Mustangs, attacked Hitler's mountain retreat at Berchtesgaden. This would be the last operational mission of the war for both Squadrons.
Tragically, whereas the exiles from Western Europe returned to their homelands as liberators, the Poles watched helplessly as their country was taken over by the communists. As those that returned home risked death or imprisonment, most opted to remain in the UK or to begin new lives abroad. For political reasons, Polish servicemen and servicewomen were excluded from the Victory Parade in London in June 1946. The Poles, who had fought so hard and sacrificed so much, felt they had been betrayed. Nevertheless, veterans remembered their years as brothers-in-arms of the RAF with pride and affection. The British airmen admired the men and women who had fought alongside them and hundreds of Poles were re-admitted to the peacetime air force.
In all, 2,408 Polish airmen gave their lives during the war and a memorial was raised in their honour at Northolt from funds contributed by Polish and RAF veterans and the British public. Unveiled on the 2nd of November 1948, the memorial bears an apt inscription:
"Stoczyłem piękną walkę, bieg ukończyłem, wiary nie straciłem."
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."
In 1990, 51 years after the German and Soviet invasions, Poland at last took its place among the free nations of the world. In September 2003, the British Government at last apologised for refusing to permit Polish participation in the Victory Parade 57 years before.
Poland was left under the rule of the USSR and the Polish Government in Exile established during the war years remained in Great Britain.The Polish Air Force Association was formed in June 1945 to look after the interests of its personnel in exile.