Polish Army in Scotland

The Scottish-Polish connection goes back a long way. For eg, in the 17th century Scots fled to Poland due to religious persecution, Bonnie Prince Charlie’s mother was Polish, elements of the Polish army were based in Scotland during WW2 … sadly, some people have forgotten this and even think that the Poles were here as prisoners of war. Argh!


Today I went to St Andrews Museum to view their Polish collection.  They have a few things on display and quite a large and growing collection in stores. The curator, Lesley Lettice, is rightly very proud of it and keen to keep alive the important contribution the Poles made to the Allied effort during WW2. I hope you all watched the documentary, The Untold Battle of Britain,  last night on Channel 4 about the Polish fighter pilots. Without the phenomenal success rate of 303 Squadron (the Poles), Britain would not have won the Battle of Britain. About time that story was told. And, if you missed it, you can watch it on 4oD. Sadly this recognition comes too late for many of those who took part but for their families it is welcomed.

Sikorski Memorial in Kinburn Park, St Andrews.

One of the reasons I was looking at the collection was to see if I could place some of my dad’s old photos which, of course, had nothing written on the back. He was in the 1st Independent Polish Parachute Brigade which was formed in Leven, Fife, on 23 September 1941. My dad reached Britain and joined it in 1942. The Poles were stationed all over Fife and did a lot of their training at Largo House, near Lundin Links. I’m planning a trip there but sadly it’s a ruin now – can’t wait, you know how much I love a derelict building!

I’d like to think this one was taken in Tentsmuir but I don’t know for sure.
(My dad with his pipe is in the back row, fifth from right.)

This one was taken in Pittenweem opposite where my dad was billeted for a while.
It’s now the Blue Door Gallery.
My mum lived in the cottage behind them just across the road
… and sweet love blossomed …

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~ by marysia on 30 June 2010.

3 Responses to “Polish Army in Scotland”

  1. I was a schoolboy in Elie,Fife, Scotland during the war. The Polish soldiers (approx 2,000) were billeted throughout the town in large houses and hotels that were taken over for the duration.

    I have many fond memories of those times. The soldiers had concerts and other events for the public. I remember them holding Christmas parties for we kids. Complete with a Polish Santa Clause. We all received a gift and lots to eat. They were always very good to us.

    There’s a beautiful plaque in Elie (Earlsferry) which commemorates their stay there.

    These old soldiers will probably all be gone by now…but not forgotten.

  2. I am hunting for a polish soldier billeted during the war with others in a mansion house in fotheringham near forfar in angus during ww2 where all the local women helped to do there washing cooking etc. Can’t spell his last name but he was stanislaw swaskie?

    • Sorry I haven’t come across anyone of that name. If I do I’ll get in touch. I haven’t done much research in Angus yet. Sorry I can’t help.

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