Polish 2nd Corps + 1st Polish Armoured Division
The war started on 1 September 1939, when the Germans invaded from the west, and the situation was compounded on 17 September 1939, when the Russians invaded Poland from the East.
On 10th February 1940, after the fall of Poland, my entire family were forcibly removed from our home in a military settlement near Rowno, by the Russians, and deported to Siberia. This included my father Mieczyslaw (b 1894), my mother Maria (b 1900), myself (Ludomir b 1925), my brother Waldemar (b 1927), my brother Stefan (b 1935), and my sister Helena (b 1937).
After 19 months of hard labour, starvation, and disease, we were released under the so-called ‘amnesty’ and allowed to leave the Monastyriok work camp in the Kotlas area of Archangelsk. We set off for the south of the USSR, with the objective of joining the Polish Army that was being formed there. After a 12 week journey (on trains, barges, and on foot) through Siberia, the Ural Mountains and Uzbekistan, we were put to work in the cotton fields of Uzbekistan.
In February 1942, I joined the Polish Army that was being formed in the USSR, and undertook military training with them, while my brother Waldemar joined the Polish Cadets. In September 1942, we were evacuated to Pahlevi in Persia (Iran), and next we were moved to Khanaquin in Iraq. In April 1943, I was transferred to the Polish Army in Scotland, sailing around South Africa and arriving in Scotland in September 1943. Here I joined the 1st Polish Armoured Division, Signal Unit. I trained as a telegraphist at the Catterick Camp, then returned to Galashiels. On 31 July 1944, I landed in Normandy.
I fought in the European Campaign, through France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany. When the war ended, the 1st Armoured Division stayed in Germany as part of the occupying force. In 1946, I was transferred to Whitley Camp in England, where I joined the Polish Resettlement Corps. I was demobilized in May 1948, and ended up in Marsworth Camp, Tring, in 1950.
My mother, along with my brother Stefan and sister Helena, spent the war years in a Polish refugee camp in East Africa. We were reunited in the UK after the war.
In November 1961, I moved to Dunstable and was employed by the Empire Rubber Company. After 34 years in their employ, I retired in 1990.