Polish pilot’s headstone restored

The headstone on a heroic Battle of Britain pilot’s grave has been restored – thanks to support from HAVEN Funeral Services and stonemason Made On Earth.

Polish Wing Commander Walerian Żak, who received the Distinguished Flying Cross, died in 1969, and is buried with his wife Jeanne in Northwood Cemetery. Their eroded marble headstone has been extensively restored, free of charge, to recognise the airman’s service to Britain.

Originally HAVEN Funeral Services was approached The Polish Air Force Memorial Committee for an estimate to restore the headstone. Following discussions with monumental stonemason and sculptor Francis Sancisi from Made On Earth, Funeral Partners agreed to restore the marble headstone free of charge.

The extensive restoration took place at the Made On Earth workshop in Buckinghamshire. It involved cleaning, skimming, removal and replacement of the lead inscription and reinstallation in Northwood Cemetery with the permission of the London Borough of Hillingdon.

Polish Air Force Memorial Committee chairman Richard Kornicki said: “The Committee is extremely grateful to HAVEN Funeral Services and Made On Earth for their kindness, generosity and expertise in restoring Walerian Żak’s headstone and contributing towards maintaining the memory of the Polish Air Force in the West.”

In gratitude, the Committee awarded HAVEN Funeral Services and Made On Earth one of its coveted Commendations.

Walerian Żak arrived in England in 1940 and flew Hurricanes from RAF Northolt. During the Battle of Britain he shot down two enemy aircraft. Żak was shot down in September 1940 and seriously injured but returned to operational flying and went on to command 308 (Polish) City of Cracow Squadron and also commanded Nos 3 and 133 (Polish) Wings. He died in March 1969.