The village of Long Marston  lies some three miles  south west of  Stratford-upon-Avon.  In 1859 the Oxford Worcester and Wolverhampton railway opened a branch line from Honeybourne to Stratford-upon-Avon and the station at Long Marston came into operation as one of the stops on the line.
With the outbreak of WW2 the MOD recognised the need for a large engineer's depot and the 455 acre site adjacent to the station at Long Marston was selected for the construction of No.1 Royal Engineer's Supply Depot and Long Marston Airfield.  The function of this Depot was to store resources for Army Engineers in a series of storage sheds and warehouses of varying sizes. Many of these were rail connected, served by sidings off a main loop line which ran around the site. Besides the storage sheds and warehouses the camp consisted of varying sizes of smaller buildings, timber and brick barracks and Nissen huts which housed the Royal Engineers looking after the stores. Towards the end of the war part of the camp was also used to house German POWs.


Long Marston camp 1950's


History of the Polish people coming to the UK after WW2 

Once WW2 ended the political settlement between Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill enabled the Soviets to annexe Eastern Poland and incorporate it into the Soviet Union while the rest of Poland became a Soviet puppet state with a communist government imposed by Russia.  It is not surprising that the overwhelming majority of the large Polish army, air force and navy owing its allegiance to, and under the control of the Polish Government in London, chose to remain in the West and continue the political struggle for an independent Poland.

In 1946 the British Government acknowledged its commitments to the Poles and raised the Polish Resettlement Corps (PRC) as a corps of the British Army into which Poles were enlisted for the period of their demobilization - which would be completed by 1949. The only way such numbers of men  could be accommodated was by placing them in army camps that were built in the 1940s and now were standing empty.  These camps were run by the army until 1948/9 when the PRC was demobilised.

During the period 1947-49 family members of serving Polish soldiers, wives and children that survived the war, arrived in the U.K. from camps in Africa, India and the Middle East to join their men folk.  Many of the large camps that were suitable for family life were handed over to the National Assistance Board and were run as family camps/hostels.
Single men were placed  in camps/hostels administered  by the National Service Hostels Corporation in areas of heavy industry and coal mining.  The MOD retained some of the camps for its own use and Long Marston was one of them.

Maj. Poliszewski as Commandant of the Armoured Forces Officer Training Centre

In June 1948 an advance party of Polish soldiers arrived at Long Marston with a senior Polish Liaison officer Maj. Tadeusz Poliszewski and set to work making the old POW camp habitable before the arrival of the  main party of Polish soldiers, mostly from General Anders' Polish 2nd Corps.  Maj. Poliszewski was a distinguished soldier and teacher, the last commandant of the Armoured Forces Officer Training Centre and now commandant of Long Marston camp.
Maj. Poliszewski served as Commandant of Long Marston until his retirement.  His service and work for the welfare of his ex-soldiers was recognised by two awards of the MBE.

Maj. Tadeusz Poliszewski

Maj. Poliszewski with his wife  Maria, and sons Jan, Tadeusz and  Peter

By the end of the year the camp was filling up with more soldiers awaiting their demobilization.  They came from all ranks from privates to colonels, finding themselves now as equals and content to be housed, fed and to have a job provided by the MOD in the Supply Depot and stores.  Many of them saw this as a temporary arrangement until eventually they would return to their homes in an independent Poland.
Although this was not a family camp it played an important role in providing work not only for the single men living there but also to married  Poles living with their families in nearby camps of Northwick Park and Springhill Lodges.

Entrance to Polish civilian camp

Left map of camp 1 and 2


On arrival the men were allocated their living quarters and were catered for by a communal kitchen and mess room.  A social club provided  the usual facilities for board games, darts, pool table and bar but the most frequent topic, resulting in endless discussions in the early 1950s, was the outcome of the war and its aftermath.  Many of these men still had families living in Poland which was now dominated by the Soviet Union and the only contact was by letters which in those days were censored so families had to be very careful what they wrote.  Many of the men had an agricultural background and relaxed by tending their gardens, growing not only flowers, enhancing the look of the drab camp, but also vegetables to supplement their diet.

Communal kitchen and mess room

Inside the mess room.


Images of the camp


Life for the men in the camp

As most Poles are Roman Catholics the men were in need of pastoral care so one of the huts was converted  into a place of worship and the first priest was Fr. Stanisław Skała-Paraszewski, ex-prisoner from IV-B Muhlberg no. 299895 who came to the UK with General Anders' army in 1945. With help from the men, one of the wooden barracks was converted into a place of worship.
In 1950 Fr Paraszewski moved on to other parishes and over the next ten years until his death in 1961 he provided pastoral care in  Polish camps and hostels; Blackshaw  Moor camp nr. Leek, Wynnstay Park Ruabon, Malborough Farm camp and Hazlemere Park camp High Wycombe. He also looked after Polish parishes in Preston, Accrington and lastly Blackburn. 

 Corpus Christi Procession leaving the chapel

Inside the first chapel

In 1951 Fr. Franciszek Winczowski took over the reins of pastoral care over the residents of Long Marston transforming the camp/hostel into a typical Polish enclave  in the middle of Warwickshire observing and celebrating Polish culture and traditions. In the 23 years of Fr. Winczowski's service the  chapel was moved to a Nissen hut and a new brick entrance was constructed. This little chapel served not only the men in the camp but also all Polish people living in the village of Quinton, Stratford upon Avon and the areas close to Long Marston.

The new chapel in a Nissen hut with it's brick front entrance


Fr. Winczowski leading the annual Corpus Christy Procession past the Nissen huts that were home to the men.


Outside his hut Wincenty Sakowicz, he can be see in some of the other photos above.


The theatre and hall in the camp was used regularly for plays, national celebrations and dances.  These were attended not only by the men living in the camp but also local English and Polish people living in the area of Stratford-upon-Avon and other nearby camps. Many of the single men befriended and later married local English girls and moved out of the camp.

Can you identify anyone on this photograph? Major Poliszewski, soprano Wiesia Jodłowska, Zosia Hartman in national dress, Basia Głowińska, Mrs A. Hartman, Mirka Bożemska, Mr. W. Hartman and Mr. Bedryjowski.

General Władysław Anders

In July 1951General Anders visited his ex-soldiers in Long Marston where he was greeted by the camp's residents and camp dignitaries. It is a Polish tradition to welcome new comers to their homes with bread and salt.  In the spirit of unity the General inspects and salutes his ex-comrades before giving them a  message of hope for an early return to their homeland. Sadly it did not come to fruition.

 Eugeniusz Żongołłowicz greeting the general with bread and salt

Major Tadeusz Poliszewski with General Władyslaw Anders.


Major Poliszewski escorting the General as he met his ex-soldiers


The General addressing the men with a message of hope


Guided by Major Poliszewski Zosia Hartman presenting a bouquet to  General Anders.

Residents of nearby camps entertained the general  with Polish dance and song.


Closure of the camp

In 1955  there were still 450 men working and living at the No.1 Engineers' stores Depot Long Marston, many were now reaching retirement age. The ravages of war and their singular existence meant that increasing numbers were becoming unfit for work. The MOD was faced with the problem of dealing with employees who were becoming prematurely and permanently unfit for work.  Following discussions between the MOD and the National Assistance Board (NAB) such persons would be offered accommodation in the Polish Camp at Penrhos and the NAB Polish Hostel in Stover, Devon.
Despite this sign  announcing the camp's demolition  in 1965 it took another 9 years before the last 36 men still living in the camp where  re-housed and  the camp closed in 1974. Over the next few years most of the camp was demolished the only remaining building was the little chapel which was still in use by the Polish community living in the area. By 1992 the chapel was in desperate need of refurbishing and with the help of  the local Polish community and various Polish organisations, refurbishment was accomplished the following year. In 1999 it was announced that the MOD were closing the  Royal Engineer's Supply Depot and sadly the little chapel had to be relinquished too.

Refurbished chapel


The last farewell and the end of an era for the little chapel was celebrated on Eater Sunday 1999 attended with sadness  by the congregation


Photos from Jan Poliszewski, his father was commandant of the Polish camp until he retired.  Alojzy Osicki  lived and worked in the camp. Stanisław Librowski sent in some photos of his grandfather, Wincenty Sakowicz, who also lived and worked in the camp. For many years Ryszard Sozański, and Jurek Danyluk with their families worshiped in the little chapel until it closed.

Other camps



Life in a typical Polish DP Camp Northwick Park


List and Information on other family



close to some Polish camps


Polish Boarding Schools

Ships' Names and passenger lists

 from Africa, India and Europe.

List of Polish Resettlement Corps Camps






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