A message from our President, General Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank
'I am delighted to be associated with the work of the Polish Heritage Society and very honoured to serve as its President. The Society's work highlights the enormous contribution which generations of Poles have made to their adopted country. Preserving and celebrating that heritage will only further strengthen the ties between Poland and the United Kingdom.
I worked closely with the Society on the project to build a memorial to the Polish Forces at the National Memorial Arboretum and saw at first hand the energy and dedication of those involved.
I encourage you to explore this website and learn about the many other projects the Society has sponsored. Do please contact us if you would like to be involved in any way'.
General The Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank GCB LVO OBE
A Debt of Dishonour is a unique documentary film dedicated Major General Sosabowski and all ranks who served in the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade Group and to their Comrades-in-Arms of the 1st British Airborne Division that fought in the ill-fated “Operation Market Garden” at Arnhem and Driel during September 1944.
Forward to 2nd International Military History Conference: The Polish Section of S.O.E. and Poland’s “Silent and Unseen” 1940-1946, “Cichociemni” - The Airborne Soldiers of the Armia Krajowa (Home Army)
In 2013, The Polish Heritage Society UK organised its first two day conference with The British Commission for Military History at The Royal College of Defence Studies in London. It was received with great acclaim. A number of those who attended suggested our involvement in further Military History Conferences, and indeed, I am happy to say that a new series of Military History Conferences are planed for 2017.
In 2016, The Senate of the Republic of Poland announced that 2016 was to be the year of the ‘Cichociemni’ – those soldiers parachuted into Poland to join the Home Army. In response to this, The Polish Heritage Society UK has worked to highlight the enormous contribution that members of ‘Cichociemni’ delivered in Poland under the German oppression and also in their wider efforts within the Allied Forces in Europe during WWII. After the formation of the Polish Section of the SOE and the VI Department of the Polish General Staff, it began discreetly recruiting volunteers to parachute into Poland for special duties. The object was to inject a number of specialists trained in areas such as covert operations, intelligence, demolitions and general sabotage within the Polish underground military. Volunteers included 1 general officer, 112 staff officers, 894 junior officers, 592 NCOs, 771 privates, 15 women and 28 civilian political couriers. There is little doubt that during 1941-45, the ‘Cichociemni’ or the Polish Home Army Parachutists influenced operations of the underground in most of occupied Poland in its pre 1939 borders. Their wartime spirit and sacrifice deserves to be remembered forever.
In May 1945, Winston Churchill requested a report summing up the achievements of the Polish Intelligence Service throughout the war years. It showed that between 3rd of September 1939 and 8th of May 1945, there were 45,770 reports generated by British Intelligence, of which 22,047 (48%) had come from Polish sources covering a wide range of enemy activities. This information only came into the public domain in 2005.
The Organizing Committee of this conference wish to thank the many individuals and organisations for their help, participation and support in organising this conference.
Dr Mark Stella-Sawicki MBE KM
Chairman, Polish Heritage Society (U.K.)