Polish fighters remembered: Polish forces fought hand in with the Allies in WWII, but were banned from marching alongside them in the Victory Parade.
As an avid reader of your magazine, I find your articles very interesting and insightful. Moreover, they are often no-nonsense and meaningful.
I am one of the few people still around who was in action on September 1,1939, the very first day of WWII. Afterwards, I was able to get out of Poland and make my way to France. After the French fell, the nearly 20,000 displaced soldiers that were able to find their way to Britain were assembled into the newly formed 1st Polish Armoured Division, headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Polish 2nd Corps that fought in Persia, North Africa and Italy was the other ground force of Polish combatants (most notable was their success in taking the abbey atop the mountain at Cassino, Italy), but they didn't become a fighting unit until Joseph Stalin let them out of captivity after the Soviet Union was attacked by Germany. The Polish Division, along with airmen and sailors, took part in the defence of Britain and the invasion of Europe.
Most of the contributions of the Polish forces in WWII have not been well documented, or just "conveniently overlooked." It's quite odd, actually, considering the 1st Polish Armoured Division was part of the Canadian 1st Army's II Corps under the command of General Guy Simonds for the invasion of Europe. We landed at Juno Beach and fought through France, Belgium, Holland, and into Germany, hand in hand with the Canadians. So I especially appreciate it when you publish articles such as Don North's "Paul Morton: The mission inside begins" (Vol. 17, Issue 11) which makes several references to the Polish forces.
The sad thing is that all throughout the war, the Polish forces were promised a free, liberated Poland we could return to after the fighting; but we were sold out to Stalin by Churchill and Roosevelt at the Yalta Conference in 1945. This led to the greatest insult ever, when the Polish veterans were banned from participating in the Victory Parade in London. This sell-out led to another 44 years of the Cold War. Finally, in 1989 it was Poland that became the first country to shed the Iron Curtain and became a free democratic state; free of the reigns of tyranny imposed upon it by Stalin with the support of Churchill and Roosevelt.
Capt. (ret'd) Mitch Lutczyk
2nd Armoured Regiment
1st Polish Armoured Division
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|Title Annotation:||Letters to the editor|
|Publication:||Esprit de Corps|
|Article Type:||Letter to the editor|
|Date:||Feb 1, 2011|
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