EAST MOOR Polish Camp

 

RAF camp of East Moor  build in 1941/42  largely on the moor, hence its name, was situated about two miles from the small village of Sutton-on-the-Forest and  seven miles due north from York. The camp itself  was dispersed on 14 sites on the west side of the airfield consisting of large corrugated metal Nissen huts interspersed with brick built ablution blocks. After the war the airfield, with its buildings, became redundant and  was left empty for two years.

 

Map showing East Moor in relation to Sutton on the Forest

 

In August 1948 the camp got a new lease of life as it was handed over to the National Assistance Board for housing Polish Displaced Persons. The first Warden of the camp was Mr. R. M. Stubbs. After eight years suffering, deportations, upheavals and uncertainties Polish people were offered a new start. By 1949 there were 201 families including 187 children making their home in the redundant black corrugated Nissen huts on the various sits of the camp.  As in all Polish Camps that sprung up in the UK after WW2, people tried to bring some normality back in to their life. Some of the hut were converted into a place of worship, school, nursery, meeting and entertainment hall. There was a library, a reading room, a games room and canteen. At the beginning there was a communal kitchen and mess room were the inhabitants of the camp came for their meals. As huts were converted into family quarters and single rooms people became self sufficient and communal feeding stopped. The land around the huts was cultivated with flower beads and people grew their own vegetables.

 

The camp's priest ks. prałat Bolesław Zabłudowski looked after the spiritual needs of the camp's community, with daily services and Sunday Masses.  He prepared children for their first Holy Communion and taught religion at the camp's school. He officiated at marriages, christenings and funerals

 

Fr Bolesław was born on the 19th of April 1907 in Dębowo  Poland. He received his holy orders in1933 and worked in parishes in Eastern Poland. In 1939 as Germany invaded Poland from the west and 17 days later the Soviet Union attacked Poland along her eastern boarders, arrests and deportation were carried out by both aggressors. Fr. Bolesław with thouseds of others was deported to the Archangielsk district in Siberia for hard labour. Following Germany's invasion of Russia in June 1941, Russia became an ally of the west and thousands of deportees and prisoners of war were released to join a Polish army being formed in Russia under  the command of General W. Anders.  Fr. Bolesław joined the army and served as an army chaplain with the Polish Second Corps seeing action in Italy at Monte Cassino, through Ankona to Bolonia. On the 12/ 5/1946 he arrived with his unit in the UK. In 1948 he was sent to East Moor Camp to minister to the spiritual needs of Polish families in the camp and  surrounding area. When the camp closed in 1959 he moved to York were he continued his work among the Polish community. He retired in 1988 at the age of 85 and lived in York until his death, at 94, in 2001. He is buried in the military section of Fulford Cemetery in York.

 

There was a nursery and a junior school in the camp run by the Committee for the Education of Poles in Great Britain. The school had several teachers over the years. 1951 saw Mrs. E Sander as headmistress, Mrs. M Polańska as teacher and helper Mrs S Nowak. In 1954 Mr. J. Libertowicz was appointed as the head teacher with Mr. S. Miscznikowski and Mrs. F. Sawko as teachers. At that time there were 70 children attending the camp's school and nursery learning English and Polish.  At least 13 older children and teenagers were away in various  boarding schools.

 

NOMINAL ROLL OF CHILDREN ATTENDING NURSERY ,INFANTS AND JUNIOR SCHOOL IN THE CAMP 1953 /1954

LIST OF INFANTS PRE-NURSERY

  KUJAWIAK Bogda F  02/03/1950   ROGALSKI Józef M 28/02/1948
NAME   Date of Birth KLAKUS Jerzy M 12/08/1949 ROJEK Krystyna F 11/07/1949
ARTUCHIEWICZ  Bogdan M

 09/07/1952

KWIATEK Stanisław M 14/10/1948 BOROWSKI Jerzy M 19/11/1947
BOGACZ Zbigniew M

04/02/1952

LACH Barbara F 16/01/1949 CHRZANOWSKI Jan M 14/02/1948
BULA Czesław M  06/10/1952 LACH Jerzy M  01/07/1950 DYRDAL Elżbieta F 13/04/1948
CHRUSZCZ Zbigniew M  02/11/1952 LESZCZYŃSKI Tadeusz M 08/06/1950 GALL Cecylia F 02/11/1947
DOGOCKI Andzej M  18 /03/1953 MIERNIK Leszek M  07/03/1950 GOSPODARCZYK Kazimierz M 24/09/1948
GRABOWSKI Jan M  10/ 03/1953 NIEZANKOWSKA Zofia F  05/10/1948 HAJDUK Józef M 02/03/1947
HAJDUK Tadeusz M  01/02/1952 PACIORKOWSKA Zofia Halina F 30/06/1949 HEINRICH Zygmund M 31/12/1947
KOPCZAK Ryszatd M  25/11/1952 POCZYKOWSKI Bogdan Kazimierz M 22/ 04/1949 HOLEKSA Sylwestra F 27/06/1947
KOMAR Bogusława F   27/06/1951 POLAŃSKA Barbara F 01/04/1949 KOSICKA Helena F 28/03/1948
KURTANEK  Dorota ? F   13/07/1952 POBIERZYN Jadwiga F 22/06/1949 KOPCZAK Leszek M 03/07/1948
MARCINKOWSKI Zygmunt M   01/05/1952 PRZONKA Stefan M 15/11/1949 KOZŁOWSKA Barbara F 27/12/1947
MIERNIK Maria F   09/09/1951 PROTASEWICZ Maria F 08/09/1950 MALISZEWSKA Regina F 06/09/1948
PRZYZLAK Anna F  15/02/1952 RAK Elżbieta F 25/08/1949 MICHALSKI Andzej M 12/07/1948
SZADURA Walentyna F  20/03/1952 ROŻEK Krystyna F 01/07/1949 LESZCZYMŃSKI Ryszard M 19/01/1948
SZCZESNOWICZ Urszula F  25/12/1951 ROKITA Zofia F 07/04/1950 RZEMIENIECKA Maria F 23/09/1047
STARCZIELEC Jolanta F  22/10/1952 STANISZ Ryszard M 10/06/1950 SOKOLSKI Albin M 08/09/1947
WELNA Krystyna F  03/01/1952 STAROSIELEC Anna F 16/01/1949 WIŚNIEWSKA Danuta F 30/01/1948
WINNIK Boguslaw M  29/05/1952 TRACZYKOWSKI Jerzy M 02/10/1948 WIŚNIEWSKA Krystyna F 30/01/1948

 CHILDREN ATTENDING FULL TIME NURSERY

INFANTS AND JUNIOR SCHOOL

TARCZYKOWSKI Jan M 14/01/1950 WINTER Grażyna F 04/10/1948
WIŚNIEWSKA Barbara F 06/09/1949 WEŁNA Henryk M 25/08/1948
ARTUCHIEWICZ Marian M  16/06/1949 WIŚNIEWSKA Agata F 02/12/1950 WINNIK Zygmund M 16/02/1948
CHROMINSKA Maria F  25/10/1948 WÓZEK Eugeniusz M 02/08/1948 BIELIŃSKA Teresa F 16.03/1947
GALL Gertruda F  31/05/1949 WÓZEK Władysław M 21/06/1949 GORCZYŃSKA Alina F 05/01/1947
GALL Hentyk M  03/05/1951 WÓZEK Mieczysław M 13/07/1950 GIERSZEWSKI Jan M 02/02/1947
GORCZYŃSKA Danuta F  28/11/1949 CHRZANOWSKI MAciej M 02/19/1949 GRABOWSKA Elżbieta F 16/06/1947
GORCZYŃSKI Wojciech M  01/01/1951 DUBICKA Teresa M 23/06-1949 JASTAK Zbigniew M 16/08/1947
HAWLICZEK Andzej M  17/09/1949 GRABOWSKI Bogdan M 24/04/1949 KOPCZAK Karol M 28/10/1946
HOLECKI  Zbigniew

M

03/04/1950 GÓRA Elżbieta F 22/09/1949 KOSICKI Zenek M 27/02/1946
JASTAK Krystyna F 28/01/1949 KWIATKOWSKA Danuta F 29/11/1948 LACH Elżbieta F 20/05/1946
JANAS Władyslaw M 18/06/1948 KRZYSZTOWSKI Lesław M 15/09/1949 MARCINKOWSKA Krystyna F 11/11/1946
KOZŁOWSKI Roman M 19/09/1949 PŁONKA Srefan M 15/11/1948
KOŚCIENIEWICZ Andzej Adam M 24/11/1948 PUZOWSKA Grażyna F 24/09/1949
 

To help people assimilate, and learn to speak  English, adult  evening classes were organised with  English lectures, courses and study groups under the watchful eyes of the education Organizer Mr. B. Dytrych.

 

In the 50s the standard of cultural education was very good, active people like Mr. and Miss Narkiewicz organised and run a Polish folk dance group, a  choir "Echo" was created and run by Mr.S. Polankiewicz. Mr. J Walczak set up an amateur dramatics group.  These groups were very important in enlivening the camp's life and played an important role in integrating with the English community through concerts and performances outside the camp.

 
The sports club "Polonia" played a large role in Anglo-Polish relations by playing against local British teams. The dance team also proved to be very valuable in Anglo Polish relations by performing Polish folk dances  in British clubs, societies and local schools.
 

Other activities included a bee keeping club, a sewing course and weekly film shows.  Members of the bee keeping club also belonged to the local Bee Keeper's Association and attended it's lectures and demonstrations.

 

During the life time of the camp more then 600 Polish people passed though the camp.  Most found jobs in the Midlands and Yorkshire. Single men and women were transferred to other camps like Springhill Lodges and Northwick Park in Gloucestershire. Several families went to Nettlebed camp and the elderly to Stover Park in Devon.  35 Polish people died and are buried in Sutton on Forest and York cemeteries.  Over 50 families emigrated to Canada, Argentine, and the USA

 

Today, other then a few Polish headstones in Sutton on the Forest cemetery, there are few visible signs of a WW2  airfield let alone of a self contained  Polish community that  60 years ago came to England as displaced persons and made their homes in the disused airfield buildings.

 
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  Page 2  A short history of the SKOTNY FAMILY
  Page 3  Anna  PRZYSZLAK memories and photos.
  Page 4  East Moor Photo sents in by Teresa BIELIŃSKA     
  Page 5  Sutton on the Forest cemetery
   
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