For the second consecutive season, the IBB Polonia London kit will include a commemorative design symbolising the shared Polish and British history. Last year, a white-and- red checkerboard on the back marked the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, where Polish pilots formed the second largest contingent after the British. In 2016/17, Polonia’s shirt will feature the diving eagle emblem of the Polish paratrooper unit the Silent Unseen. History of Polish-British cooperation will be visible throughout the league, cup and CEV Challenge Cup matches. We are very grateful to the Polish Embassy in London for supporting this project.
“We are very proud to be one of Polonia London’s partners and look forward to continuing our cooperation in season 2016/17. Sport is one of the key areas of public diplomacy, through which the Embassy hopes to showcase Poland in Britain, engage with the community, promote inclusion and mutual respect. By developing a loyal and committed fan base, Polonia London have significantly contributed to the promotion of Polish culture and sport in the United kingdom. Therefore, we are very happy that the emblem of the Silent Unseen will be displayed on the players’ new shirts as a continuation of the initiative started last year with the commemoration of the Polish contribution to the Battle of Britain. Cichociemni’s legacy is a brilliant example of Polish-British cooperation, and this project allows us to build a bridge between our shared past and present. We wish the team every success in the English League and the European championships. Go Polonia!” commented Ambassador Arkady Rzegocki.
“Representing the Polish/British alliance is an honour for us. Playing with the paratroopers badge on our shirts ensures that the combined work between the two countries will not be forgotten. We want to show respect for both nations, shared history and sport are important issues for the society, and strengthening ties between the two areas is key for us. We are really honoured that we will be able to commemorate the Silent and Unseen when we play. They are an inspiration for us and allow us to strengthen international relations. We know that the soldiers used to play volleyball in their down-time for exercise and for relaxation. Our volleyball is more intense, but we are motivated knowing that we have that in common with them. Now the time has come for us to continue our combined history” said Bartek Luszcz, IBB Polonia London Chairman
The Silent Unseen (in Polish Cichociemni) were an elite paratrooper unit of the Polish Army, who trained with the support of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) in bases across the United Kingdom. The brave volunteers were parachuted into German-occupied Poland under the cover of darkness to support the secret operations and partisan warfare of the Home Army. Out of 316 Cichociemni who attempted to reach Poland, 103 perished in the war and further nine were murdered by the communist regime of post-war Poland. In December 2015, the Polish Parliament declared 2016 the Year of the Silent Unseen, to mark the 75th anniversary of the first jump. The diving eagle emblem was designed by Marian Walentynowicz in June 1941, and is currently used by “GROM” – the elite special forces unit of the Polish Army continuing Cichociemni’s legacy.
IBB Polonia Londnon is a current English Champion and English Cup holder and in 2016 the club will participate in the CEV Challenge Cup as a first club in English League.