It is situated beside the A40/A4180 roundabout junction near RAF Northolt between Ruislip and Northolt in the English county of Middlesex, in the London Borough of Hillingdon. The Polish War Memorial is often used by locals as a landmark when giving directions, as it is prominently situated by a major road junction on one of the main routes into London. Other Polish war memorials exist within the United Kingdom, including those at Invergordon, Scotland.
The Polish Air Forces in France and Great Britain supported the Allied powers during World War II. A group of Polish officers who remained in Britain after the war formed the Polish Air Force Association and decided to erect a memorial. A committee, led by Air Vice Marshal Izycki, raised the necessary funds mostly from British people, and the memorial was unveiled on 2 November 1948 by Lord Tedder, Chief of the Air Staff, after a speech by Viscount Portal of Hungerford in which he said that it was a sad blow that many Polish veterans were unable to return home, as their country had been occupied by the Soviet Union. He added that it would be to the mutual advantage of Britons and Poles that the latter were to make their home in Britain.
The memorial was designed by Mieczysław Lubelski, who had been interred in a concentration camp during the war. The memorial is made from Portland Stone with bronze lettering and a bronze eagle - the symbol of the Polish air force. The names of 1,243 Poles who died during the war were inscribed on the memorial, and a further 659 names added between 1994 and 1996, when the memorial was refurbished and rededicated.
Polish presidents Lech Wałęsa and Aleksander Kwaśniewski have both visited the war memorial to lay a wreath, in 1991 and 2004 respectively.