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Polish Air ForceEdmund M E Lubkowski
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Edmund M E Lubkowski

The following story has been donated by Barbara Humphreys. If anyone can help complete some of the details within the story she would appreciate your help.

My father was born in Torun Poland on 14/3/1925 the youngest of 3 daughters and 2 sons. His father was some sort of railway worker, not sure what but they had the only telephone for some miles apparently. His father died when he was about 5 years old, again not sure how but I sure I heard stabbing mentioned at some stage. I should explain here that my mother was English and learnt Polish at night school and from my father so that she could take us kids to Poland to meet her in-laws, which she did in 1963. So a lot of conversation was in Polish, firstly to practise and secondly so us kids didn't hear. Therefore we never overheard all the gossip of the family as most kids do, and we never got round to learning Polish ourselves so there are a lot of gaps in our family knowledge. But here goes:

When war was declared my father was just 14, within a few weeks the German Army closed off their street and took all males over the age of 14 to work for them. My father and his best friend were marched away and put in a barn and given a bowl of soup and a spoon. A few hours later they escaped and arrived back home clutching their spoons!

They were of course taken again and sent off to lay roads and railways. Somewhere along the line my father got a number tattooed on his arm and his friend was killed.

It now gets very hazy, on occasion we have mentioned visiting places in Europe and father has mentioned he had been there, one place was Metz in France where my husband went on a business trip. Father told us he was there for some weeks on a railway siding but would not tell us any more. How and when he got to Britain he never really said we always understood Indians had something to do with and he was always very friendly to them. But American Forces sent him to Britain according to his service record.

This was as follows:

Enlisted into Polish forces on 19/10/1944 and began with guard duty at No 4 Camp in Findo Gask
15/12/1944 in HQ lines of Communication 1 Polish Corps as Private
01/06/1945 in 2 Light Infantry Battalion 1 Polish Corps
24/10/1945 in 1 Training Battalion 1 Polish Corps
15/11/1945 in 3 Guard Company 1 Polish Corps
01/06/1946 in 25 Pomorski Infantry Battalion 2 Infantry Division 1 Polish Corps. as Lance Corporal.
He was enlisted into the Polish Resettlement Corps on 25/9/1946 at Invergordon
Relegated to Class W Reserve on 03/06 1947
07/06 1947 based in Polish Camp Hanbury Northwich And finally honourably discharged on 16/12/1947 at Witley Camp Northwich?
05/04 1949 moved to National Serviceman's Hostel West Bromwich.

These are the places he talked about but unsure what sequence they came in his Service.

Unsure when he was here or why, but he talked about jumping off barn roofs and he remembered the monument to the Polish Paratroopers which we went to see on holiday in the 80ís and took him a photo. The house he was stationed in was 'so near the sea they could almost jump in from the window' The Polish forces are remembered with great affection here
He apparently spent many a good night out here in the Station? Hotel the only problem was getting there and back from Findo Gask.
He remembered the city extremely well and talking of walking around the castle but again we are unsure when he was there.
He had his photo taken in a Kilt in Edinburgh, which cost 7/6d and was always very annoyed that this photo had got lost somewhere in his travels.
He mentioned guarding tanks??
In hospital here for some time apparently we are unsure why but he had large scar on the side of his neck, which may have happened here.
When we were children we used to visit some people in Northwich who were friends when he was in the camp. I think he was stationed at the Polish camp at Harbury, which was situated here and demobbed from Witley camp.

At some stage he was guarding Germans POW's although he says they were not allowed bullets in case the Polish guards shot them. I think this may have been at the end of the war as he reckons the German soldiers used to wander in and out of the camp with more freedom than the guards.

He always told us that in the bad winter of 1946/47 he spent 3 weeks in a tent playing Poker and being told to keep his boots on in case of frostbite.

Findo Gask church in 1989. There are no Polish graves found in the graveyard although my father remembers at least one funeral here.
View across what was the Airfield at Findo Gask, next to the farm that the Polish troops used to pinch chickens from (father said).
Not sure which camp this is but possibly Findo Gask This may have been a funeral Dad reckoned 2 friends died there but have only found where one was buried and that was not Findo Gask.
I am assuming again this was Findo Gask camp.
The picture was taken in the winter of 1946, at Kiltearn Parish Church Cemetery near Evanton. The funeral was of a friend of my fathers named Stanislaw Leszczynski who died on 23/11/1946 aged 26. Apparently his friend had decided to take a ride on his motorbike from Muir of Ord to Invergordon and skidded into a tractor. His fianceé who came from Northwich where they had been previously stationed, attended the funeral. My father actually drew me a map of where the grave was placed. The soldier in front right of grave looks like my father.
We have no idea who or where this is.
Think this was taken in Northwich, my father is the 'likely lad' in the centre. They had been told that it could be arranged for them to emigrate, my mother said he always regretted not going to Kenya? When he had the chance. One of the lads went to Brazil I believe and they heard he was killed in a chemical explosion not long after.
Pretty sure this is the National Serviceman's Hostel in West Bromwich where he moved to for work. Some of this hostel is still there in part but is now a Community Centre.

It is was not until I wrote it down that I realised just how little I knew of Father's life before he met my mom. There were quite a few Poles in West Bromwich and, as nationalities do, they tended to stick together. I do have photographs of a few of his friends. Many of these were very jealous when we went back to Poland to see his Mother and siblings in 1963. But it took great sacrifice and effort on my parent's part to take us there. My parents were quite poor, had 3 children and there were no mobiles or Internet; they were also going to a Communist country. My father said until the night before he went he never believed he would ever see Poland or his mother again.

Mom died on 15th November 1999.

Dad died on 28th January 2005, leaving 3 children, 2 grandsons and 2 great grand children, we have lost touch with our Polish relatives.

Barbara Humphreys.

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