Douglas - 10th Jun 2017
Members of the Combatants Memorial Group at Sikorski House in Glasgow visited the three Polish memorials at Douglas in South Lanarkshire. A wreath was laid at the large memorial pillar (below - right) bearing a Polish Eagle and the name of the 10th Cavalry Brigade. This pillar was presented by General Maczek to the village in October 1940 on his Brigade's departure to the east coast of Scotland and was in appreciation of their gratitude for the hospitality and kindness they received from the community.

The group visited the nearby Gateside Cemetery where a Polish soldier lies buried. Seventeen years old Rifleman Edward Małczęć from Sosnowiec was killed in an accident with a bayonet on the 22nd August 1940. Flowers were laid at his private memorial.

A diarist of the 10th Mounted Rifles Regiment noted how the tragic death of this young soldier affected the whole regiment. Two days later a long funeral procession moved slowly through the village, leaving an indelible impression on those who witnessed the ceremony.
Below - left,  a photo of his grave


Douglas is unique in Scotland in the number of Polish Army monuments in a relatively small area that have survived since 1940. In addition to the memorial pillar, there is a ‘souvenir’ from the Polish Army to the locals in the form of the crest of the Polish armoured troops and a third, a pillar made by Polish engineers as a reminder of their sojourn in the camp. Other items of Polonica which once existed from the camp in 1940 could not be found.

The former 'souvenir' was the work of the Vehicle Workshop (or Technical) Squadron of the 10th Cavalry Brigade under Capt F. Perepeczko and was presented to the village on 8th September 1940. This officer later commanded the 3rd Infantry Brigade Workshop Company of the 1st Polish Armoured Division.

The memorial, which lies flat on the ground, was a reproduction in cement and coloured stone of the badge of the Polish Armoured Troops. At the top end of the monument were the words, 'ARMIA POLSKA' and at the other, 'SOUVENIR 1940'. This memorial is now in need of repair.
Some of the members of the Polish National Council were present at the unveiling in 1940 including General Zeligowski, Deputy Minister Stanislaw Mikolajczyk and Professor Folkierski.
In June 2002, whilst moving the monument to its present position, two declarations (one in English and the other in Polish) were discovered which had been placed there in 1940. Below, photo of memorial from 1940.


Robert Ostrycharz 2017

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