On February 10, 1940 my parents Franciszek and Janina Piotrowski along with my brothers Zbyszek aged 3 and 2 year old Czesio  were deported to the depths of Russia. Sadly Czesio died a few months after they got there. My Mom was  pregnant with her third child and she gave birth in terrible conditions in Russia later that year to a third son, Miecio. Much of my extended family was also deported such as my paternal grandmother, maternal great grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins. Many of them perished there.

Janina and Franciszek Piotrowski


When the so called "amnesty" was announced my father left  to join the Polish Army of Gen. Anders - the Second Corps and after training in the Middle East, he fought on various fronts in Italy including the famous battle for Monte Cassino.


My mother with Zbyszek and baby Miecio, leave the labour camp joining thousands of other civilians in their flight for freedom. The gruelling journey south was too much for baby Miecio and sadly he  succumbed and died on the way to freedom. After crossing the Caspian Sea, my mother with Zbyszek ended up in Persia (Iran) where they are clothed and fed by the British.


The tented camps in Persia were only temporary, the civilians mostly mothers with children and the old and infirm, had to be found more suitable accommodation. So the British authorities moved the people to camps in their colonies in Africa and India. My mother and Zbyszek were  sent to a Polish civilian camp in Lusaka, Northern Rhodesia now (Zambia), and lived there until 1948 when they boarded the Carnarvon Castle and sailed to Southampton, England.

Andrzej and Krystyna beside their garden

My father, after the war came to the UK from Italy as a soldier of the Polish Army which was subsequently reformed into the Polish Resettlement Corps (PRC)  which was responsible for preparing the soldiers for demobilisation and civilian life in the U.K.  After 6 years of separation my parents are reunited in a Polish Resettlement Camp called Penn Street where I (Krystyna) am born in 1949. A year later we leave Penn Street camp which was closing down and  move to the nearby Hodgemoor camp.  There  in 1950 to my parents delight  my brother Andrzej is born.


Mrs. Kalinowska (Andrzej's godmother), Zbyszek, Janina with Krysia in front, Franciszek holding Andrzej by their house in Hodgemoor

In front Krystyna with brother Andrzej and behind (left to right ) big brother Zbyszek and mother Janina and Dad Franciszek

      Krystyna and Andzej


My parents started to rebuild their life in a foreign country and unable to speak the language.  Life was very difficult and conditions in the camp were basic but they were free and life had to go on. My older brother Zbyszek, now a teenager, having missed out on real schooling because of the war was sent to a Polish Boarding school in Diddington, were he learned English and caught up with his education.  My younger brother and I, attended a  primary school in Chalfont St Giles where all the children were taken daily in vans.


To maintain our native language and culture, all the children in the camp attended a Saturday Polish School were we where taught Polish history, culture and received religious instruction. The camp's priest, Father Madeja, also prepared us for our first Holy Communion and I  remember taking part in Corpus Christi processions.


Krystyna's First Communion Class  June 17, 1956

 Top;- Mrs. Blanka Potocka, Rysio Ingot. Zbyszek Gąsiorowski, Krzysiek Znoski,

Andrzej Stachowiak, Head teacher Mr. Maciejewski,  Henryk Wizgier, Bogumił Różyczka, ?

  Row 2;- Krysia Bernacka, Renia Sobolewska, Zosia Pogoda, Fr. Jozef Madeja, Barbara Beben,

Marysia hnatko, Barbara Swierczynska

  Row 3:-Ania Pielecka Krysia Piotrowask, Teresa Serwatko, Irena Eibin, Bogusia Kłak.

Row 4:-Andrzej Potocki, Janusz Gorski, Irena Samborska, Ryszard Nowak, Kazimierz Kicinski

Krysia's First Communion

with brother Andrzej    June 17, 1956

 Andrzej Piotrowski's First Communion 1957


 Chapel in Hodgemoor October 1956


Krysia scattering flowers in a Corpus Christi Procession Boże Ciało 1952

Krysia is the first blonde girl Father Józef Madeja is the priest Irena Samborska in front of Krysia.  Krysia Latawiec behind

  Grade Three Primary Class Teacher Miss Sheppard

Krystyna Piotrowska sitting far left in striped sweater. Other Polish children from Hodgemoor Anna Pilecka (Top row very middle), Krystyna Pacholak (to the right of teacher) , Tadeusz Samborski, Krystyna Tramp (very right standing in middle row) , Krystyna Latawiec (sitting second from left)



Krystyna Piotrowska



There was a thriving Polish scout, guide and Browne group in the camp, encouraged by our parents both my brother and I joined. We had many outings with the group and enjoyed the many activities that were organised by scout masters.

Krystyna Becoming a "Zuch" a Brownie

Zbyszek Piotrowski invested into Scouts Janusz Piotrowski (not related ) has his hand on Zbyszek's shoulder.

Krystyna  on one of the outings.


Zuchy ( Brownies)  and their parents..Upper part of Hodgemoor Camp

 Zuchy showing off some of their handicrafts.  Photo taken in the area of the church and hall.


We were taught our Polish culture from an early age, and  we took part in all national Polish days, singing and dancing in our national dress. Most of our costumes were hand stitched and beautifully embroidered with beads and sequins by our mothers.


Krysia Piotrowska in her Polish costume with her brother Andrzej

 Zbyszek (second from left) with Irena Trzeciak in Polish Dance Group of Hodgemoor.




The camp had a large hall which was used for all sorts of entertainment, film shows and dances, the dances were particularly appreciated by  young adults living in the camp, that is  were they could meet and socialise. Life marched on, people married, had children and many moved on to new places and others emigrated to the USA and Canada.

Irena Trzeciak and Zbigniew Piotrowski

Irena Trzeciak

Left:- Jurek Busiakiewicz and  Helena (nee Ochedowska) in the middle Kazik Plis  on his right Janina Trzeciak and Zbigniew Piotrowski. 


Boczek Wedding (in the middle) Mr and Mrs. Pacholak on the left of bride and groom. Ala and Pani Wypasek (on extreme right)

Wedding of Helena Załuska and Wiktor Szuta. On left Maria Załuska (bride's sister) ?Mencner and far left Jakub Załuski (Bride's brother)

In 1958 we move to Canada. Andrzej and I have wonderful memories of Hodgemoor  and when we go back to England we spend hours walking through Hodgemoor Woods looking for that gigantic tree that we loved to play on.


Piotrowski Family's last photo in Hodgemoor inside their barrack before going to Canada- May 1958                        

Thank you to Krystyna for the Photos and information.
  Page 1 Hodgemoor camp   Photos and memories from Bożena Kozubska
  Page 2 Hodgemoor camp  Photos and memories from Mrs.Mleczko Piotrowsa
  Page 3 Current Page  Photos and memories from Krystyna Frieburg nee Piotrowsa
  Page 4 Reunion 2017
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