Polish War Graves in Scotland

Polish War Graves in Scotland

Across Scotland in around fifty cemeteries lie the remains of members of the Polish Armed Forces. In 1940, after the fall of France, the remnants of the Polish Army were evacuated first to ports in England and then onwards to Scotland. The reformed Polish army, 1st Polish Corps, was given the task of defending the east coast of Scotland against the threat of invasion by Nazi Germany. In Perth, at the Jeanfield and Wellshill cemetery, there is the largest number of Polish war graves in Scotland. A special section in the cemetery has 381 Polish war graves. A cemetery in Edinburgh, located at Corstorphine Hill, also contains a significant number of graves with 175 members of the Polish Armed Forces being buried there.

The book Polish War Graves in Scotland - A Testament to the Past is a record of the war graves of members of the Polish Armed Forces, including civilians, and those who served in the Polish Resettlement Corps from 1940 to 1949. The names of all the Polish casualties, together with their rank, unit, date of death, age and place of birth (where known) are listed for each of the cemeteries where members of the Polish Armed Forces are buried. The author, Robert Ostrycharz, states that his aim was to locate and record all the known Polish war graves in Scotland.

I hope this record will remind my generation and future generations of the sacrifices that were made on their behalf and how their freedom should be valued for it was obtained at a great cost...The many headstones on war graves are markers to the remains of Polish patriots...They are a testament to the past, to Polish history, to the struggles of Polish people For Your Freedom and Ours and to the Spirit of Poland Arisen. (p. vii)

The Polish war graves are looked after by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. They maintain the graves of over 2,100 members of the Polish Armed Forces in the United Kingdom located in 244 different places. The headstones for the Polish war graves all have a pointed tip and display the national emblem of Poland a crowned eagle. In addition to the names of the deceased, their date of death, their age and their unit, the words Polish Forces are engraved on the stones.

Polish War Graves in Scotland - A Testament to the Past

Author - Robert Ostrycharz
ISBN - 1 872286 48 8
Publisher - Published in 1999.
Book Availability - Copies of the book can be obtained from the author Robert Ostrycharz. Details can be found on his Scotland and Poland website.

The Polish War Graves in Scotland book contains the following chapters:

  1. Collecting the Information - An account of some of the work involved in researching Polish casualties in Scotland
    1. Tracing the Cemeteries
    2. Tracing the Graves
    3. Condition of the War Graves
    4. Cemeteries in Scotland
    5. List of Counties Showing Total Number of Graves
    6. Alphabetical List of the Locations of the Cemeteries with Cemetery name, County and Number of Burials
    7. Time Period
    8. Omissions
  2. Recording System - A description of the layout of the registers
    1. Registers
    2. Format
  3. Cross-checking the Information - A description of the verification process
    1. Wykaz of 1952
    2. Other Polish Sources
    3. Use of Polish Sources
  4. Commonwealth War Graves Commission - A brief note on the work of the commission and its role regarding Polish war graves
    1. History of the Commission
    2. Registers of the War Dead for the Counties of Scotland
    3. A Principle of the Commission - Uniformity
    4. Polish War Dead and the Commission
  5. Casualties of the Polish Armed Forces in Scotland
    1. Military Units of the Casualties
    2. Causes of Death
    3. Places of birth in Pre-War Poland of the Casualties in Scotland
    4. Comparison with Combat Operations
    5. Omission of Names
    6. Polish Resettlement Corps (PRC) Graves
    7. Other Polish Casualties
    8. Polish Ex-Combatants
  6. Polish Forces in Scotland - A brief outline on the deployment of the Polish Army with illustrative Orders of Battle
    1. Order of Battle of 1st Polish Armoured Division on 16 September 1942
    2. Order of Battle 1st Polish Armoured Division, Spring 1944
    3. Order of Battle 1 Polish Corps, February 1945
    4. Polish Navy in Scotland - An Outline
    5. Polish Air Force in Scotland - An Outline

The book also contains the following tables as appendices.

  1. Translation of Polish military organisation terms
  2. Royal Air Force unit abbreviations
  3. Translation of Polish formation/unit titles inscribed on headstones
  4. Polish Army ranks and their equivalent British Army ranks
  5. Polish Navy ranks abd their equivalent Royal Navy ranks
  6. Polish Air Force ranks and their equivalent RAF ranks
  7. Other Polish ranks and titles
  8. Alphabetical list of the administrative district towns of Poland with their associated provinces

There is a bibliography and 28 black and white photographs of Polish war graves at various cemeteries in Scotland.

Related Material

  1. Register of all the Polish war graves at Wellshill Cemetery, Perth, Scotland. The website gives the name, rank, unit, date of death, age and date of birth (where known). [Robert Ostrycharz's Scotland and Poland website]
  2. Information about the Polish Armed Forces in Scotland including Polish war graves in Scotland. [Robert Ostrycharz's Scotland and Poland website]
  3. Information leaflet about Poland and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

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Photographs

This page was added on 07 November 2009.