Polish Paths to Freedom: First to Fight 

Polish film season - First to FightThroughout September and early October Imperial War Museum, London will be showing a special programme of rarely seen Polish features and documentaries, together with a selection of material from the museum’s film archive. The programme looks at the story of Eastern Europe from the outbreak of the Second World War, through the Stalinist years to the fall of the Iron Curtain and the eventual transition to democracy.

Read more about Polish Paths to Freedom: First to Fight 

A large number of Polish service personnel were stationed in the UK following the Nazi occupation of Poland and this has led to the erection of many memorials to the Polish war effort.  A search of our database for Second World War with the keyword ‘Polish‘ turns up 69 memorials.

They commemorate both the sacrifice made by the Polish and the assistance they received from local people. The memorial inscriptions are often in both English and Polish.

A rather unusual memorial from Moffat, Dumfries and Galloway, commemorates one particular aspect of the assistance provided by local people.

This is to commemorate the deep/ gratitude of the Polish Officers/ to the Rector and staff of/ Moffat Academy, Ministers/ and other persons here named:/ (NAMES)/ who during the months of Sept. and/ Oct. 1940 have not spared them/ selves in their valuable and/ voluntary work of teaching/ the English language./ (SIGNATURES)

This plaque from Fladingworth, Lincolnshire sums up the sentiment expressed on many other memorials.  

Polskie sily powietrzne / In remembrance of the many men and / women of the Polish Air Force who served at / Faldingworth Aerodrome from / 1944 to 1947 / Their sacrifice and endeavour in the cause of / freedom forms a bond between our two / countries that will always be recalled with / honour and with pride / Polska – Wielka Brytania / Za Nasza I Wasza Wolnosc

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