Discussion in 'Allied Units - Others' started by temptage, Nov 29, 2016.
re: post #2.smdarby above.
There were some volunteers from the Ukraine and Poland in the German Army but there were very probably a great deal more who were either forced to join the German Army by measures such as threatened retribution against their families or gun point recruitment. They were sent to western Europe to be as far as possible away from their homeland. Sometimes whole battalions were formed with German officers and NCOs but these battalions were in regiments with greater numbers of German battalions. Many were in coastal defence units, bereft of transport and manning coastal gun sites and bunkers. A great number of them were encouraged by RAF leaflet drops and allied loudspeaker trucks broadcasting in their own languages to defect to the allies and join the allied forces.(Desertion to the allies was encouraged in Italy too).
Russians joined the German forces really to avoid starvation. Apropos the thread many Russians captured in Normandy were housed in camps in the East Riding in 1945 prior to being shipped back to an awful fate for most in the Soviet Union. Therefore, some gravestones of this date in the East Riding cemeteries might be Russians who died before return.
I have evidence of a Ukrainian being recruited pre-1939 into the Polish Army, and of course this might not be an isolated case. They either escaped from Poland with other Poles in 1939 to go to join the British in Egypt, or the French in Syria, or came out in 1941 after their release from the Gulags by Stalin. They then formed the Polish Army that fought in Italy.
Post war, the dissolution of the Polish forces in the Mediterranean described by Minden 1759 at #16 caused those who did not take to the idea of repatriation to Poland to suffer again at the hands of the Soviets, or emigrating to the Americas and other far flung places, to move to Britain and join the PRC. Scotland had been during the war the home of Polish forces who escaped from France in 1940 plus recruits arriving from across the world during the war. Their numbers were boosted as I have described after 6 June 1944. However, it seems that there was Scottish opposition to all those large numbers coming from abroad joining those already there as it would seriously overwhelm some local communities. It was therefore agreed that the PRC would be spread across all the home regional commands. At that point former US bases, RAF and army camps and military hospitals were used as PRC camps to allow the temporary accommodation of Poles and their families until they could be absorbed into the civilian population.
I believe the last one of these camps may only just have been closed.
There is precious little written in English about this whole subject and this is what I have been able to consider as reasonably correct, but it needs amplification and correction.
One RAF camp is now a Polish Housing Society home, in Pwllheli, Pembrokeshire: Welcome to the Penrhos Polish Home & Sheltered Housing in Penrhos
A curious story about Hallmuir POW Camp, near Lockerbie in Southern Scotland and the link to the Ukraine, including those from the Galicia Division who ended up there - not a POWs - a link that is active again as a collection point for supplies to the Ukraine. See: How a makeshift PoW chapel from WWII continues to connect Ukrainians and Britons
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