Two Years in a GULag
At the onset of the Second World War, my father, aged nineteen, was forcibly removed from his family in Poland by the Russian secret police and exiled to the harshest of the Siberian labour camps, the dreaded Soviet GULags of Kolyma. He spoke very little about it. Only very occasionally would his painful memories allow him to give a little snippet of information. After his death I became intrigued and began researching his early life. As I discovered more and more, I became amazed and shocked at the ordeals he’d endured. When Germany invaded Russia, he was freed from Kolyma but still had many trials to face. He survived GULags, torture, and the war, but was never allowed to return home. I traced his footsteps on a journey of 40,000 kilometres, through places most of us have never heard of, a journey through despair, fear, hope and disappointment, and in these pages I recount his journey. This is a true story occurred during a largely unknown and poorly documented period of modern history that has been denied by successive Russian Governments and largely ignored by western governments and media. I believe it is a valuable insight into not only my father’s story but the story of a whole Polish nation.
The Battle of Vileyka, 1915
Very little is known about the battles on the Eastern Front in the Great War. The Battle for the small town of Vileyka (now in Belarus), about 100km east of Vilnius, at the end of September 1915 is one such battle. It is rarely, if ever, mentioned in English historical text, but it marked the extent of the German advance east at the end of the Russian Army’s ‘Great Retreat’ of 1915. It constituted one of the few military successes of Russia’s Army, and was instrumental in defining Germany’s Eastern Front for the remainder of the war with Russia.
The bombing of New Mills & Hayfield, 1942
New Mills and Hayfield are small, rural and picturesque towns in the beautiful High Peak district of Derbyshire. Yet in the middle of WW2 they were devasted by a fatal Luftwaffe bombing raid that claimed the lives of eight civilians.
The raiders were eventually shot down over Lincolnshire by arguably the most famous RAF Battle of Britain fighter squadron
303 Polish Squadron with their Spitfires.
This book describes the incredible story in full.
The Battle of Lake Naroch, 1916
Not many will know of the large Lake Naroch to the north-east of Vilnius. Before the Great War it was in Imperial Russia, for a short time between the wars it was in sovereign Poland, it’s now in land locked Belarus. Fewer still will know of the often overlooked, short but fierce and highly significant battle that took place there in the swampy land that surrounds it in the spring of 1916 at the height of the First World War. It was so significant a loss to Russia that it not only effectively paralysed its entire army for the rest of the war and prompted a major evaluation of Russian military strategy, but possibly contributed to the Russian withdrawal from the war itself and also to the revolution that followed which resulted in the removal of the last Russian Tsar and effectively changed world geopolitics forever.
Polish II Army Corps
The unbelievable WWII story of the short lived Polish army, born in the frozen steppes of Stalin’s Siberian Gulags which fought side by side with the allies for their freedom in the bloody battles of Italy, but were never to return to their homes in Poland.