The little khaki army bag full of photos.

Anna Ziębicka

In 2013, somewhere in the Exeter area, a small khaki army bag was found. The bag was  full of photos and memorabilia  that belonged to Anna Ziębicka. Some of the photos date back to pre WW2 Poland but the  majority were of Anna and her husband Feliks in the Polish army in the Middle East and, after the war, in the UK.

We knew nothing about Anna's family or where she lived in Poland, the story is interpreted entirely from the photos, inscriptions on the back of some of the photos and a few army documents which were with the photos in the bag.

After some research we discovered that Anna was born in Poland on the 3rd February 1902.  As a 12 year old  she went through the horrors of WW1 then, 20 years later, came WW2.  Some time between the two wars Anna married Feliks Ziębicki.


Feliks Ziębicki was born in 1897.  Very old photos tell us that between the wars he lived in  South Eastern Poland in a settlement called  Osada  Wojskowa Sienkiewicze in Dederkały, near Krzemieniec, Wołyń.  Today it is in the Ukraine.  In February 1940 both Anna and Feliks together with thousands of other Poles were deported to the USSR in the first wave of deportations.


Following the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 and the subsequent announcement, in August 1941, of the so called amnesty for Poles, both managed to join the Polish army that was formed in the USSR under the command of General Anders.  In 1942 they travelled with what became the Polish 2nd Corps to Persia to protect vital British interests in the Middle East.  Feliks and the 2nd Corps went on to fight alongside their  British allies at Monte Casino and the Italian campaign.  Anna Joined the Polish Women's Auxiliary Service.


The six photos below were titled "Osada  Wojskowa Sienkiewicze" where Feliks lived some time between 1920 and 1940


The photos show the first settlers in Osada Sienkiewicze.


Osada  Wojskowa Sienkiewicze  in Dederkały, near Krzemieniec, Wołyń, 1920-1939



Juliusz Szydłowski and Feliks Ziębicki  

"Osada  Wojskowa Sienkiewicze"

Kazio Stasiewicz   "Osada  Wojskowa Sienkiewicze"


Teheran Persia 1943


Anna's Soldier's Service and Pay Book

issued in Teheran Persia 1943

Polish cemetery in Teheran.


Left:- My best friends

Leśnikowicz Jadwiga
Kalinowska Helena
Ziębicka Anna

A memento to my beloved Feliks from your ever loving Andzia - Teheran 29/V/1943


Right: A memento to be long remembered by my truly beloved Feliks, Andzia

Teheran 2nd September 1943. Camp no. 3



Anna and Feliks travel to the Middle East with the Polish Army.


Tel Aviv Palestine 1943

Anna in the Middle East

Anna and Feliks in the Middle East


Anna in Egypt with the army bag that was found in Exeter

Anna and friend



Feliks with some of his unit in the Middle East

Feliks (sitting) with some of his friends

Feliks Ziębicki


Anna apparently working in a Polish Hospital in the Middle East - the photo is annotated on the back as Hospital no. 5 El Kantara.


Anna and Feliks


Hospital no. 5 El-Kantara


Feliks in the UK receiving treatment in Stracathro Hospital, SCOTLAND 1946


Stracathro Hospital, situated four miles north of Brechin in Scotland was a purpose built WW2  military hospital.  Military casualties from the armies of Great Britain, Poland, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other nations, along with wounded soldiers from the German forces and their allies, were brought to Stracathro Hospital for treatment.


The inscription in Polish on the back of the photo reads:


Left;- SKOTLAD (written phonetically as a Pole would hear it)

Stracathro hospital

This is how I looked after the operation
Left;-Feliks is at the front lying down 

Right:- Feliks is first man on the left.


The inscription below left reads:

A memento for my beloved wife from the Scottish Stracathro hospital.

Feliks is Second from the right.


Stracathro Hospital


Feliks  convalescing in Bystock Court,  Exmouth, DEVON 1946


Bystock Court, a listed  Grade II building, was used during the Second World War as a convalescent home for Polish servicemen. After leaving Stracathro Hospital, Feliks was sent to Bystock Court to convalesce.




Left below reads:- This is the house I currently live in. The house of a Lord.



Today 17/V1 /46

Bystock Convalescent Home

Exmouth, Exeter England


Right;- Convalescing in Bajstock (written phonetically in Polish)

Southern England


Feliks with Polish comrades convalescing in Exmouth 1946



Polish Hospital no.11 Llannerch Panna North Wales


The next group of photographs show Anna and Feliks in Polish Hospital no. 11 in Llanerch Panna, Penley North Wales.  Photos from El Kantara appear to show Anna working at the hospital there so it is likely that Anna was working at the Llannerch Panna Hospital and Feliks may have been an ambulance driver.  Hospital no. 11 was closed in the early 1950s and staff and patients moved up the road to Hospital no 3 Penley.


Feliks and Anna in Llannerch Panna  Penley

Feliks, Anna and a friend in the grounds of  Llannerch Panna

Feliks in  Llannerch Panna


Corpus Christi procession with Fr. Józef Gołąb

In the 1950s Fr. Gołąb moved to Springhill Lodges camp in Gloucestershire.


Tending their garden in Llannerch Panna

Anna with comrades from the Polish Women's Auxiliary Service


Penley Hospital no3

Mr. and Mrs. Łozowcy

Some time in the 1950s Feliks and Anna moved to Lower Quinton in Warwickshire were Feliks found employment in the MOD Central Engineers stores at Long Marston. I found it a strange coincidence as my father also worked in Long Marston in the 1950s.
I have spoken to a number of people who lived in Lower Quinton as children and remember the couple as kind, gentle and very patriotic.
On  the 21 August 1978 Feliks died aged 81 and is buried in Stratford upon Avon cemetery.
After Feliks' death Anna moved to Ilford Park Polish Home, Newton Abbot Devon were she died in 1992 aged 90.  She is buried in Newton Abbot cemetery.
This is the story we have been able to piece together from the contents of the abandoned  little khaki army bag.

Feliks Ziębick 20/11/1897-- 21/8/1978

Anna Ziębicka 3/2/1902---31/5/1992




Life in a typical Polish DP Camp Northwick Park


List and Information on other family



Close to Polish camps


Polish Boarding Schools

Ships' Names and passenger lists

 from Africa, India and Europe.

List of Polish Resettlement Corps Camps







Guest book