A POPULAR annual event that transports West Fife back in time to World War II has been cancelled because of coronavirus.

The Defend Fife festival, organised by Forth Pilgrim, had been due to take place for a fourth year over the last weekend in July, with events in both Pittencrieff Park and at Lathalmond.

It delves into life in Dunfermline and the East of Scotland as people prepared for a potential invasion during the war, and has received financial support from Fife Council, and the Polish Consulate for Scotland.

Although this year's event has had to be called off, it is hoped it will return in 2021 and Roger Pickering, director of Forth Pilgrim, said: "We made the decision quite early on.

"When it looked like there was little chance of it happening, we didn't want to put tonnes of effort in, and who wants to fund an event that will probably get cancelled?

"We will speak to people and see about the way forward. We are grateful for the support we have received in the past, and from the people who have come."

Despite the disappointment of having to cancel, organisers of Defend Fife are playing their part in commemorating a lost World War II submarine that also has a connection between West Fife and Poland.

ORP Orzel, the lead ship of her class of submarines serving in the Polish Navy, arrived at Rosyth Dockyard in October 1939 after escaping internment in Estonia and surviving an arduous journey through the Baltic Sea.

Described by Sir Winston Churchill as "the greatest adventure story to come out of the war", the Orzel went on to serve with the 2nd Submarine Flotilla in the Royal Navy on missions in the North Sea, and around the Norwegian coast.

On what turned out to be its final mission, on May 23, 1940, the Orzel – containing 60 Polish and three British sailors – left Rosyth and was lost at sea, and never found.

Led by artist and writer Colin Maxwell, who last year released a comic book commemorating the first air raid of the war, which took place over the Forth Bridge in October 1939, a fundraising campaign has been launched to create a memorial to the Orzel in Rosyth.

On Sunday, a number of online events will take place to remember the Orzel, and Roger added: "We have created this funding page to try and get some sort of permanent plaque, or memorial to remember them and their Royal Navy colleagues, who supported and fought alongside them. There were Royal Navy personnel on the sub with them when it finally sunk.

"There's a Polish team that still go out every summer to try and find this sub."

From 1pm, on the 'Orzel Rosyth' Facebook page, a series of videos will be available to watch, including the story of the Orzel, presented by Colin, a video of a beach art memorial, and presentations from members of the Polish community.

To access the fundraising page, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/orzel-memorial-rosyth.