Ryszard Napierski lived in Seighford Polish camp from 1950 until 1965 his family moved there from Wheaton Aston camp when he was a year old. This is his collection of photos and memories from Seighford camp.




Me  in front of our nissen hut about 1952

My mother and I walking back from the shop about 1954.  So many cabbages!!!

Me, my mother, my cousin Danusia and my sister in our beczka (nissen hut).  About 1958


There were three sites around the airfield. Site three had two air raid shelters and could only be reached by a country track which was about one eighth of a mile long. It was some distance from the polish shop and other camp amenities.  It was sited in a really nice area surrounded by woods and fields.  It closed quite early, I suspect it was its isolation that led to its decline. 

Camp one was sited a little further along the main camp road, that's where I started my camp life. This site contained the church, shop and dance hall.  The buildings were mainly nissen huts except for two long brick buildings which housed four families.  It also had two air raid shelters and two ponds surrounded by trees and fields.

In our "beczka" (nissen hut) about 1954 My mother and father are on the right, me in the centre and two of my mothers English workmates on the left My mother Mieczysława, sister, father and me at my Aunt Olesia's wedding in the dance hall (świetlica) 1957 My mother and sister at our second house about 1961

The second site was all brick buildings and the part that everyone aspired to move to when a vacancy arose.  It was also the largest of the three  camps and had some six air raid shelters, surrounded by fields with a large wood  and a very large water tower at the side of the main entrance road almost opposite the polish shop. At the age of about eleven we moved from our nissen hut to  our first brick built abode in the second  camp.


From left to right. My auntie Ala Gratkowska, me and my mother Miczysława. The buildings on the  left (nissen huts)  were disused and dismantled some time after this photo was taken.

Zygmund Rygiel, Michael Wills, Ryszard Rygiel and my cousin Stefan Napierski. The brick building behind them is an air raid shelter




 taken from the water tower. The building just behind the brick tower was the church.






This picture is of my sister's generation 1963. Top row from left to right. Ryszard Śliwinski. Alicja Bobela. Father Bronisław Nowak. Alicja Gratkowska. Kazimierz Góra. Second row. Karol Kotara. Unknown. Unknown. Unknown. Zygmunt Rygiel. Third row. Unknown. Unknown Zosia Kawecka, Krystyna Napierska (my sister). Ted Myszkowski. Front row. Unknown. Dorotka Wojtulewicz (as a point of interest Dorotka appeared on the opening credits of 'Please Sir' the seventies comedy in which she also had a non speaking part) Marysia Kawecka and finally . Riszard Bobela.

1963 First Holy Communion in the church. I was serving as an altar boy at this time. There was a mishap where one of the girls set fire to her veil,  I remember the camera man, Mr Oleszko running forward as it happened. My mother is at the centre of the photo looking on.


1963 First Holy Communion. My sister is in the centre of the picture (the girl with the long dark hair) Dorotka is in the right corner

This was my Holy Communion 1957. From left to right. Danusia Napierska (my cousin) Myself and Ewa Rygiel.




This is the earliest procession photo I have about 1954/55. The only person I recognize is the small boy to the left of the leading altar boy (our view point) This is Zygmunt Potaczek, later to become head altar boy in Seighford. The barn and cottage in the background was a small farmstead between first and second camp sites. Parishioners from Stafford and Wheaton Aston also attended the processions.

 A little further down the same road as the first photo but in a different year 1957. Taken from the opposite side of the road.  On the right of the photo is an older Zygmunt Potaczek. The lady in the centre of the picture carrying a banner is my auntie Olesia Gratkowska. In the background you can see the nissen hut (beczka) where I lived. 


A Corpus Christi procession walking through the first site camp in the early sixties.

The girls in full view in the first photo are sisters and my cousins, Jadwiga and Krystyna Gratkowska The second photo;- the lady in the striking polka dot  dress was a visitor from Poland and unknown to us. On her right is my mother, Mieczysława Napierska. further along, the woman holding a book is Mrs Wojtulewicz, The man holding the banner is Edward Góra, next to him is Professor Alfons Podwojski, for many years he taught Polish in Stafford, the small altar boy at his side is his son Miecio. Then from left to right we have Mr Bobel,  Mr Wojtulewicz, Mr Laszcz and Mrs Marcińska.




This party took place in the Polish school room about 1958. I am in the centre looking as though I'm picking my nose, in fact I am eating. My sister Krystyna is to my right.

This photo is also the same party 1958. The man standing in the background is Marian Kotara. He was to become our scout master a few years later

1.  Danusia Napierska (cousin) 10. Alicja Bobel. 19. Zygmund Rygiel.
2.  Bobek Sergiew (cousin)   11. Ryszard Bobel. 20. Ryszard Napierski.
3.  Jurek Sergiew (cousin) 12. Kazia Pomykała. 21. Kazimierz Potaczek.
4.  Romek Sergiew. 13. Zbyszek Góra. 22 Teresa Ogielda
5.  Stefan Napierski (cousin) 14. Staszek Ogielda. 23 Krystyna Szanta.
6.  Ryszard Sergiew. 15. Basia Cymbaluk. 24 Ryszard Rygiel.
7.  Zbyszek Piech. 16. Andrzej Figiel. 25. Emilia Piech.
8.  Not sure. 17. Halberda. 26 Grażynka Szanta.
9.   Ewa Rygiel. 18. Teresa Kurek. 27 Teresa Pomykała.

Christmas 1959

Christmas 1959. My sister Krystyna is on the left of the photo looking away from the camera. She is holding onto her 'dolls furniture set'.  Behind her are two twins, Hania and Danusia Śmiałowska. I could never tell them apart.  In the back ground you can see Father Christmas with his white beard.

My sister Krysia in a hat now looking at the camera, Father Christmas is hiding among the children.




Here we see the dance hall (świetlica) from the foot of the stage. The girl dozing off second from the left is Basia Cymbaluk. I am the kid wearing glasses at the upper left. I was sitting on Mr Podwojski's lap because there was no more seating space. The gent at the front wearing glasses is Mr. Feliks Bolechowski, he must have been important because he attended many events. Bottom right is our priest at that time, Father Mieczysław Bossowski.

Our little dance troupe performing at the Co-Operative assembly rooms in Stafford (since demolished)  I am the only male in this troupe (third from the right) All the other boys chickened out.

Seighford was a wonderful place to live and be brought up in, most people kept chickens and grew a huge variety of fruit and vegetables, there was always something going on. Dances at the hall were all night long affairs, church going was a must and for a time I was head altar boy, that doesn't mean I was an angel, far from it. I still remember all the families that lived there by name, the number of kids they had, their names and what has become of most of them since. My grandmother and Uncle were amongst the last people to leave the camp. It stood derelict for a few years before a haulage company took over part of the site. It is now an industrial estate.
If you lived in Seighford camp and have memories and photos you would like to share please contact me.
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