Refugee Week #3 – fighting back

During the Second World War, many refugees from the Nazi regime played an active role fighting again Germany both in  defence of their allies and to help liberate their homelands.

3 Troop 10 Commando memorialOnce such memorial is this large, slate stone of remembrance erected in in Aberdyfi, Gwynedd in 1999, to commemorate 3 Troop 10 Commando.  The inscription reads,

For the members of 3 Troop/ 10 (1A) Commando who were/ warmly welcomed in Aberdyfi/ while training for special duties in battle 1942-1943./ Twenty were killed in action.

Additional plaques in both English and Welsh give more information about 3 Troop 10 Commando.  It was made up initially of 86 German speaking refugees who were given fictitious names and identities as British Nationals. They were involved with various special duties including reconnaissance, interrogation and intelligence. Many made lasting friendships in the local community and two even married local women.

Another memorial commemorates the contribution made a  Polish destroyer, O.R.P Blyskawica, during German bombing of Cowes on the Isle of Wight on 4th/5th May 1942.  The plaque records that the officers and crew “bravely defended the town and were largely instrumental in reducing the number of casualties and in saving a large part of Cowes from being destroyed.”

During the Second World War several Polish-manned ships and submarines fought alongside the Royal Navy.  Some of these vessels had escaped following the German invasion and others were loaned by the Royal Navy.  The Polish sailors occupied barracks at Devonport, Plymouth and after the war some remained and made their home in the UK.

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