HAYDON PARK page 2

 

This is part of  Elżbieta Narewska's Story  concerns Haydon Park Camp to read the full story please click on   Your Personal Stories

 

My mother, Zofia Ruzga, was born in Lubartów woj. Lubelskie and my father came from Suraz woj. Białystockie. Work and the imperatives of war brought them to Warsaw where they met when my mother joined battalion "Miłosz" of the Home Army (A.K.) in which her future husband, Ignacy Narewski, was already serving. They both fought in the Warsaw uprising and were taken prisoner on 2nd October 1944 when the uprising fell. Fortuitously both ended up in the same POW camp, Sandbostel Stalag XB near Bremervorde in north-west Germany, where they married on 7th January 1945. In February they were separated when my mother was transferred to the only all women POW camp, Oberlangen Stalag VIC near the Dutch border, and liberated by gen. Maczek's 1st Polish Armoured Division on 12 April 1945. My father's camp was liberated a few days later, again by the 1st Polish Armoured Division, on 28th April. They were reunited at Oberlangen in May. They re-enlisted in the Polish army and were posted to Meppen, renamed by the Poles as Maczków, where my younger sister Marysia was born in July 1946.  

 

Ignacy Narewski and Zofia Narewska – Germany (1946) 

 

Our parents decided not to return to a Soviet dominated Poland and came to England with the Polish Resettlement Corps in August 1947 by ship from Hamburg to Clyde Port. They were taken to Haydon Park, Polish Camp in Dorset, near Sherborne. The camp, consisting of Nissen huts, was built during the war as an American Army hospital but was now being used by the National Assistance Board for housing Displaced People. At this time my mother was in her 7th month of pregnancy. Soon after, she was taken to the hospital in Diddington Polish Camp, Huntingtonshire, where I was born on the 24th August 1947. The conditions at the maternity hospital were very basic and she soon returned to her family at Haydon Park. In 1948 our father left us in Haydon Park Camp and went to London to look for work, unfortunately they separated. Our mother began work at the camp Nursery where she was able to look after us as well.

 

My Godmother – Jadwiga Szczepaniak in Haydon Park (1947)

With our father – Haydon Park (1947)

Elżunia and Marysia with their mother

 

I was christened in Haydon Park by Father Alojzy Finc, the camp's Polish priest.  My godmother, Jadwiga Szczepaniak Plut. Podchorąży (cpl. Off. Cadet) A.K.,  took part in the Warsaw Uprising and was present at my parents wedding in Sandbostel  P.O.W. Camp. She later emigrated to Argentina. My godfather, Tadeusz Gontarek, was also a Home Army soldier in the Uprising and prisoner in Sandbostel Stalag XB.  He married an English girl and they settled in Birmingham.

 

Elżunia & Marysia with their mother

Elżunia & Marysia  note the Nissen hut in the background. 1950

Haydon Park – Elżunia & Marysia with their mother 1950

Zofia Narewska in Fairford Polish Hostel (1951)

 
In June 1951 we were transferred to Fairford Hostel Gloucestershire which had also been used as an army hospital during the war and had similar accommodation to that in Haydon Park.  Our mother continued working at the nursery until 1952 when the nursery was closed as part of the run down of special health provision for Displaced Persons. Finding herself without a job she had to rethink her future.
 

Zofia Narewska with daughters (1947)

Ignacy Narewski with daughters Elżunia and Marysia

 

Marysia (front right) at the Corpus Christi procession – Haydon Park (1949)

Marysia and Elżunia in Shephalbury school

 

She heard about a Polish Boarding School for young children at Shephalbury Manor School, Nr. Stevenage in Hertfordshire, and arranged for my sister and me, 5 and 4 years old, to go there while she began to study for a nursing career at the nearby Lister Hospital in Hitchin. She qualified as a State Registered Nurse in 1955, working and living in nurses’ accommodation next to the hospital.

 

FAIRFORD CAMP

Nursing Staff – Fairford Hostel (1951) standing far left Pani Ola Malost - , 5th from left Zofia Narewska, sitting far right Mrs Irena Kruk, standing 1st on right Mrs Nina Kulik - Mielczarek

Fairford Polish Hostel – Nursing staff (1951) Standing 1st from left: Mrs Irena Kruk, 4th from left Zofia Narewska, standing 3rd from right Wanda Wierzbicka (she settled in London, then moved to Hove in Brighton

 

Life After the Camps

 

We continued our life at Shephalbury School, where there were about 100 boys and girls. All lessons were in Polish. We had our first communion at the school. On leaving the school we spoke no English. When the school closed in 1957 we started a new life with our mother in Highgate, North London, where she rented rooms in a Polish owned house.  She began a new job at H.M. Prison Hospital, Holloway, where she worked in a senior position until her retirement.

 

We attended Mass at St.Joseph’s Church in Highgate where my mother recognized Father Finc who had christened me in Haydon Park.  Soon after there was a regular Polish Mass at the church, a Polish Saturday school, scouts and other events in which the Polish community took part.  Soon Father Finc became part of our extended family and in 1983 christened my son. We attended a private convent day school run by English and French nuns.

 
In 1959 we moved to a very large flat in an Edwardian house in Muswell Hill, North London. Eventually in 1968 our mother was able to buy her own house which meant so much to her after being homeless and living in camps for 8 years.

Father Alojzy Finc came to England with the Polish 2 corps were he served as army Chaplain.

 

He was first  in Haydon Park, when that  camp closed he was sent to Lubenham Market Harborough Polish camp and later  the Polish Parish Church and Community in St. Joseph’s Church, Highgate, London.

 

(Born 10.07.1916 – Died 02.01.2002)

 

My ID card showing were I was born and the camps I  lived in and  my mother's ID card

 
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  Page  2  Current  Elżbieta Narewska-Servas
  Page  3  Haydon Park  Leszek Zelazowski
   

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