Polish Forces in Scotland
In September 1939, Germany and Russia invaded Poland. Many Poles escaped and chose to fight for their country in other parts of the world. This included Scotland.
After the invasion of Poland, the Polish government went into exile. It reorganised those troops who had managed to escape into a new army. They then fought in the defence of both Norway and France.
After the fall of France, Polish troops were evacuated alongside the British from Dunkirk. Once they arrived in Scotland, the 1st Polish Army Corps was founded. The army was under the command of Generals Maczek and Kukiel.
The Polish forces helped build and man defences along the Scottish coast. This included sites like Lossiemouth and Tentsmuir.
Expelled from their homeland, the Polish set up their government in London. Polish pilots fought in the Battle of Britain and the Polish Army fought under British command throughout the war.
The Polish troops were popular in Scotland:
"I can remember marching up Sauchiehall Street [Glasgow] and the welcome we received in our new uniforms,"
Dr Kazimierz Piotr Durkacz in Henderson’s The Lion and the Eagle, 2001.
In 1945, the war ended but many Poles could not return home. The Soviet Union and communism had taken control of their homeland. Many families sent word to loved ones to stay in Scotland.