P O L O N I C A in Scotland
Douglas, Lanarkshire
Memorial pillar given by the Polish 10th Armoured Cavalry Brigade
The village of Douglas in Lanarkshire was one of several locations near which a large camp of the Polish Army were set up in the summer of 1940. Units of the 10th Cavalry Brigade, including the Podhalanski (Highland) Rifle Battalion, 10th Mounted Rifles Rgt, the 24th Lancers as well as brigade support and services units were stationed here for a period in permanent tented camps before moving to the east coast of Scotland, to protect Scotland from invasion.
Memorial Pillar (Photo 1995)
Carved on the stone there is a Polish Eagle with an inscription in English and Polish - 10 Cavalry Brigade, Polish Army. This monument is one of three which still exist in the vicinity of Douglas. The memorial pillar was built from stone taken from a partly demolished castle and was sculpted by a Polish soldier who before the war had been a sculptor living in Paris.
is being prepared by the
Douglas Gardening Club.

It is intended that three Polish
monuments created by the 10th Cavalry Brigade 1940 in the vicinity of the village be brought together. The garden will be a place of reflection. Click here for more details.

A memorial pillar was presented to the town of Douglas by
General Maczek (then commanding the 10th Brigade) in October 1940, in gratitude for the hospitality and kindness the Poles had received. The pillar is situated at the edge of the village and where the memorial garden will be sited.
Nearby Douglas is Gateside Cemetery which contains the grave of a young 17 year old Polish soldier from Sosnowiec. He served in the 10th Mounted Rifles (10 psk) and died tragically in a training accident.  
The Douglas Gardening Club in Lanarkshire, Scotland are well under way with their plans to create a Polish Memorial Garden incorporating three Polish memorials from 1940 and which lie in the vicinity of the village. The aim is to have the garden prepared by 29th August 2002.
Robert Wilson a member of the Gardening Club, who, as a young boy, remembers the Polish soldiers in 1940, felt that the Polish monuments were a "part of our history and in memory of the Polish Armed Forces who were our allies in the war, a lasting monument should be established."
Lord Home has greatly assisted the Club's plans by granting the Club the ground where the Memorial Garden will be sited and with funding from a local trust they hope to make the Garden special, "in order that local people and families of the Polish soldiers can spend a quiet moment reflecting on the past and how much it meant to the people concerned." The memorial pillar presented by General Maczek to the village has been renovated. The Glasgow Herald of 28th October 1940 reported the words of General Maczek, .... "May this monument always remind you that you have in the 10th Cavalry Brigade most sincere and faithful friends."...
Two other monuments exist within the Polish Camp - one lies in a field opposite Lady Home Hospital.
Dziennik Zolnierza on 7th September 1940 reported, "W niedziele o godz. 11-ej w szwadronie techniczna-samochodym naprzeciwko szpitala miejskiego ogladzic sie uroczystosci przekazania „SOUVENIR" miasta Douglas i okolicy w formie pomika przedstawiajacego oznake wojskowa ofiarodawców. Pomnik ten z betonu wykonal szw. tech.-samochowdowy."
Present were General Dresxer, then commanding the brigade and members of the Polish National Council including General Zeligowski, Mr Mikolajczyk, prof. Folkierski and others as well as Scottish guests.
The third Polish monument (photograph below) is a mystery.
It has the abbreviation "10 BK" - 10th Cavalry Brigade and combines the motif of the leather wings of a Polish hussar (in the same way as the emblem of the 1st Polish Armoured Division) with an anchor. Is this symbolic of the evacuation by sea of Polish troops on British and Polish ships from the western ports of France in June 1940?
The camp occupied by units of the 10th Brigade, 10th Mounted Rifles Regiment, the 24th Lancers and Podhalanska Rifle Battalion from late June to October 1940 is in an area steeped in the history of Scotland and Poland. For instance it is where the Scottish Cameronians Regiment was raised and nearby at Castlemains where pani Malkowska, the Chief Guide of pre-war Poland set up a Polish primary boarding school. It was on the 27th June 1940 that the Polish Highlanders started to arrive at the permanent tented camp at Douglas, with more troops arriving on the 29th. These troops came mainly from Glasgow where they had been billeted in the city and now found themselves under canvas on either side of Douglas Water. Douglas was the setting of the first review by General Sikorski of the Polish Army in Scotland and where the Highland Brigade's standard was decorated with the order of Virtuti Militari. Numerous distinguished guests visited the Polish camp including the Duke of Kent. Many locals fondly remember the friendly invasion by Polish troops. In early August 1940 some 3,350 men were located in Douglas. The 10th Cavalry Brigade left the camp in October 1940 to participate in the defence of the Scottish coast in the Angus sector. Then as the 10th Armoured Cavalry Brigade, part of the 1st Polish Armoured Division, its soldiers achieved fame in combat in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. Today the brigade has contributed troops to the Balkans.
Already the Gardening Club has information and fascinating photographs from two soldiers who were in the camp - a Mr Kulig of Ontario, Canada and Mr Tabrecki of England. If any readers have memories or photographs of their stay in Douglas or can provide information about the monument with its anchor and wings please write to Mr R Ostrycharz, Polish Social and Educational Society, 5 Parkgrove Terrace, Glasgow G3 7SD and I will be very pleased to pass on information to the Gardening Club.
Owing to the foot and mouth disease plans were disrupted but it is hoped to complete and open the Memorial Garden situated at the edge of the village by 29th August 2002 with all three Polish monuments situated in the garden.
The memorial garden demonstrates a shared heritage between the Scots and the Poles.
To get to Douglas if travelling south on the M74 come off at the service station at Junction 11 and look for the A70 to Ayr, if northbound on the M74, Douglas is signposted at Junction 12.
Draft notes
Return to Polonica in Scotland
Last modified 17th October 2001
© Copyright R M Ostrycharz 1998