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DODDINGTON POLISH CAMP Cheshire1946-1960

 

Situated in the heart of the Cheshire country side, on Lord Delves Broughton's estate near to Wybunbury on the A 51 was a large camp built initially to house the Free French and then the American  Army in preparation for the invasion of Europe. The camps consisted of large corrugated metal nissn huts and timber framed huts, covered with plasterboard on either side with the outside surface weather proofed with a bitumen coated paper a metal frame supported an asbestos roof. The floors were concrete, the window frames were metal and there was a door at each end of the building.  Admin Blocks, communal wash houses, showers and toilet block were made of prefabricated concrete with brick built ends. A typical Army camp of the 40s.

 

Doddington Park on the A 51 between Nantwich and Woore.

 The map shows the camp  in to three sections.  Camp 1 camp 2 and 3.

 

After the war in 1946 the army camp in Doddington became one of many resettlement camps for Polish Displaced Persons. Men women and children unable to return to their native country, made their homes in the now disused accommodation. The camp was under the administration of  the National Assistance Board and had an English Warden helped by a handful of English speaking  Polish officers.

Doddington like all the other Polish  camps at the time had people from all walks of life and every profession.  Farmers, teachers, doctors, men and women who served in the Allies Armed Forces under British Command. By no stretch of imagination were conditions in the camp ideal for families to live in but after years in the wilderness being pushed from pillar to post Poles were happy to have some stability and a roof over their heads. Life had to go on,  the church and priest became a pillar of stability, strengthening  their beliefs and giving them hope, soon the camp transformed itself into a vibrant Polish community, observing their faith and traditions.

 

OBSERVING POLISH FAITH AND TRADITIONS.

 
Finding themselves in a strange country, not knowing the language, poles found strength and solace in their faith, and it was important to them to instil that faith in their children. Doddington camp was no exception, a church was soon established in one of the barracks. Sunday masses and daily services were always well attended. Every year a Corpus Christi Procession wound  its way  through the camp, past the nissen huts and barracks,  bringing  together the whole community in an act of worship and celebration. Young and old, come rain or shine, people in their Sunday best, little girls dressed in white, older girls in  national costume creating almost a carnival atmosphere.
 

Early 50s Corpus Christi Procession winding through the camp past the barracks that people lived  in.

 

 

First Holy Communion was another day of celebration this time for the children many of whom were born to parents living in the camp.

Back row, some of the teachers Mr. Grycewicz, Mr. Czaplinski, Fr. Mieczysław Stasz, head teacher Mr. Piałuch. Some known names of the children - Helena Szpak, Krysia Rorbach, Andrzej Grycewicz, Jan Czerski, Andrzej Kucharski.

  Fr. Władysław Puchalski. Left second row Zdzisia Zakrzewska, Wanda Banas, boy on the right Staszek Zakrzewski, three girls in second row Basia Kosarew, Michalina Gorajewska, Teresa Kołociew.

 

DODDINGTON  SCHOOL

 

 

Back row:  5th from right: Andrzej Chanerley   3rd from right Edzio Kosy.Middle Row: 4th from left: Zosia Pialucha (Headmasters' daughter) 5th from left: Mr Czerski (teacher) Front Row from left: 1. Jan Glinski 2. Henio Talarek  3. Jacek Czaplinski (son of Mr Czaplinski one of the teachers)  Please help me put names to the faces.
 
 

POLISH TRADITIONS

 
   
 

Polish History is steeped in tradition and culture.  Commemorating  the 3rd. of May  Polish Constitution  Day was celebrated every year in all Polish camps, Doddington being  no exception.  The camp's children  dressed in national dress, usually made for them by their mothers, delighted the audience and  parents as they recited Polish poetry and danced traditional Polish dances

 

Right. The youngest children dressed in the "Krakowski" costume at Christmas Time with a manger.

 

 

Can you name any body?

 

On the 6th of December St. Nicholas visits all good children bearing gifts.

St Nicholas was born in the third century to a wealthy family. He used his inheritance to assist the poor and sick. He was made bishop of Myra a city that was on the southern Mediterranean coast of what is now Turkey. His generosity is commemorated throughout Europe on the 6th of December. In Poland St Nicholas called "Św. Mikołaj", calls on all good  children bearing gifts of  fruit apples, oranges, nuts and "pierniki" a a kind of cookie made with honey and spices. In the camps all the children  gathered in the main hall waiting in anticipation for this saintly man dressed in bishop's robes with a crosier and sack of goodies accompanied by angles and a little devil.  

Jurek Sitek reciving a gift from St, Nicholas.

Polish children receive their presents on not only at Christmas  but also on the 6th of December St. Nicholas day.

If you lived in the camp and would like to share your memories and photos please contact me.
 

 

Page 1    Current

Page 2    Memories from Jan Czerski and Jurek and Roman  Sitek   
  Page 3    Doddington Cemetery
  Page 4    Doddington Photo Exhibition.  
  Page 5    Jaśmina Dopierała's Memories.  
  Page 6    Barbara Białozorska's Memories.  
  Page 7    The  Grycewicz Family
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