The Polish Heritage Society
Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph - 8 November 2015
Stowarzyszenie Polskich Kombatantów Limited is the representative body of the 20 surviving local branches of the Polish ex Combatants Association in Great Britain. The original Association was set up in 1946 and included Polish WWII veterans, victims of repression and their families and SPK Ltd was registered and reconstituted in July 2013 to represent over 1000 members of the Association who were left unrepresented after the national body of the Association in London was wound up.
Our branches regularly commemorate the following Polish national holidays in their locality, normally in cooperation with local Polish parishes and local Polish Saturday schools: 3rd May Polish Constitution Day, first Sunday of March Commemoration of Katyn massacre, August 15th Polish Soldiers Day, 11th November Polish Independence Day. They also participate in local commemorations of Remembrance Sunday.
18 members will be participating in the march past including participants in the battle of Monte Cassino, the bombing raids over Germany and the Warsaw Uprising. Polish soldiers, airmen and sailors participated in most of the major battles of the Western Front including the Narvik Raid, the battle for France, the battle of Britain, sinking of the Bismarck, the convoys across the Atlantic and to Russia, the siege of Tobruk, the Italian campaign including the Battle of Monte Cassino, the bombing of Germany, battle of Normandy, the liberation of Belgium and Holland, the battle of Arnhem as well as an enormous contribution to the resistance movement throughout Europe and cooperation with the British Intelligence Services, most notably in cracking the Enigma codes and discovering Hitler’s secret weapons, the V1 and V2.
Our oldest participant is 94 year old Colonel Franciszek Szuta (pronounced Shooter) who participated in April 1941 in the defence of Tobruk as part of the Independent Carpathian Rifle Brigade and in the battle of Gazala. Three years later while serving with the Third Carpathian Rifle Division he fought in the bloody battles of the Italian campaign – Monte Cassino, Ancona and Bologna.
We also have a 91 year old Marzenna Scheybal (pronounced Shaybal), a veteran of the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, in which 250,000 Polish underground soldiers and innocent civilians were killed during 63 days of intense fighting. Later she was a prisoner of war in Oberlangen camp from which the women POWs were rescued by the Polish Armoured Brigade in April 1945.
A younger participant is 67 year old Colonel Richard Ciągliński (pronounced Chongleenskee), the son of a wartime Polish officer and a deportee to Siberia. He served with Ghurkha engineers in Hong Kong and later in the 1990s as Lieutenant Colonel he was British Military Attaché in Warsaw. In 1989 while stationed in Germany he volunteered for service in Kosovo with the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission and was later a key witness at the Hague trial of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. He was awarded a mention in Despatches for gallantry.
Wiktor Moszczynski Stowarzyszenie Polskich Kombatantów Limited