POMOCNICZA SŁUŻBA KOBIET (WOMEN'S AUXILIARY SERVICES) (Pestki)
w Polskich Siłach Zbrojnych na Zachodzie 1939-1945
copyright: © Koło Kobiet Żołnierzy PSZ na Zachodzie
ISBN: 1 872286 23 2
The End of the War
The regimental colours covered in the glory of victory were laid to rest in the General Sikorski Historical Institute in London. Poland, a pawn in the hands of great powers, was handed over to Soviet domination.
In accordance with the decision of the British Government made on 20 March 1946, the Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, declared to the House of Commons on 22 May 1946 that the Polish Armed Forces were to be demobilised.
The British authorities established a special formation, the Polish Resettlement Corps, within whose framework, the Polish Armed Forces were to be disbanded.
The acceptance of this unilateral British decision was very hard indeed. General Anders in his order of 29 May 1946 said:
“As your Commander, responsible to the Polish Nation, to history and to you, who have entrusted to me your soldier’s hearts and confidence, I have thought long and hard as to how I should act in this new, crucial phase of our struggles. A thorough examination of conscience and the cold reality of the political situation in which the Polish Nation has found herself and, as a result, we too, her soldiers, have dictated that I should accept this difficult for us unilateral decision of the British Government.”
'Jako wasz, dowódca, odpowiedzialny wobec Narodu Polskiego, wobec historii i wobec was, którzy oddaliście mi swoje serca żołnierskie i zaufanie, głęboko ważyłem jak mi postąpić należy w tym nowym, przełomowym etapie naszej walki. Dokładny rachunek sumienia i realna ocena sytuacji politycznej w jakiej znalazł się Naród Polski, a z Nim i my, jego żołnierze, kazały mi przyjąć tę ciężką dla nas i jednostronną decyzję Rządu Brytyskiego.”
POLISH RESETTLEMENT CORPS (PRC)
Army Camps were prepared by the British authorities all over the UK in the Autumn of 1946 to take in soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Polish Armed Forces, prior to their demobilisation within the framework of the Polish Resettlement Corps. The demobilisation was to be carried out within two years.
The soldiers entered the PRC as Polish military units with their commanding officers, ranks and Polish uniforms.
The task of the PRC was to prepare the soldiers for civilian life in new professions and then resettle them close to their places of work either in the UK or other countries in the world.
Polish forces began arriving in Britain from Italy in 1946 and from the Middle East and Germany in 1947.
The uncertain future could not but affect the morale of the troops.
PWSK units which formed part of the 2nd Corps were grouped together in camps on the territory of Western Command, mainly in Foxley. Those from the Polish Forces in Germany (including the Women’s Home Army Battalion), were grouped at the Ontario Camp in Southern Command.
The Young PWSK Schools (SMO) were sent to Foxley.
The aim of the Polish military authorities was to set up English language courses and trade courses in tailoring, sewing, leathergoods making, typing, etc. Co-operation with the British was maintained through Advisory Staff, attached to the Polish camps headquarters, whose task was to see the carrying out of the PRC aims. In practice, the British Advisory Staff aimed at getting the soldiers into civilian life as soon as possible and, if possible, in less than a two-year mandatory period of preparation for new jobs. Priority was given to women students going to universities, who received grants. Another group was wives. These were PSK personnel demobilised as part of the programme of uniting families.
The British Ministry of Labour tried to exert pressure in sending ex-PSK to work in English hospitals and even in domestic service.
This was a difficult period for both the Polish authorities, staunchly defending the right to organise professional training, and the often disorientated ex-PSK.
By October 1949, the Polish Armed Forces in the West had been disbanded through the framework of the Polish Resettlement Corps.
Before fate was to finally throw us to the four corners of the world, the Commandant-in-Chief’s PWSK Inspectorate put forward an initiative to set up an organisation, to which soldiers of the PWSK, PLSK, PMSK and sisters of the WKSSłZ could belong.
Thus was born the Polish ex-Service Women’s Association, which fostered their military traditions in the long and difficult march to an independent and sovereign Poland.
In 1992, the Sejm (Lower House of Parliament) of the Republic of Poland passed a resolution restoring 15 August as “Soldiers’ Day”. On that day, Jadwiga Morozewicz, the long-serving Chairman of the Polish ex-Service Women’s Association unveiled a plaque in the Field Cathedral in Warsaw, commemorating the contribution of women-soldiers of the Polish Armed Forces in the fight for Poland’s independence during the Second World War.
The Polish Women’s Auxiliary Service Song
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