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The Invergordon Archive

The Polish Camp
The Invergordon Archive
The Polish Camp

A group of Polish soldiers with the concrete crest they made. Joe Zawinski is in the centre and Edmund Gorecki is on the right.
The date is not known.
Picture added on 17 April 2004
The Polish Camp was at the bottom end of Castle Road near the Highland Games field. In the late 40s children from the town used to walk out to the camp where the Polish soldiers used to entertain them and made swings and other amusements for the kids. They lived in "nissan" huts and marked out the borders of their gardens with multi coloured boulders. They also occupied a large concrete building next to the school canteen where they made hand crafted items so as to have an income. I remember the Poles were highly regarded in the town and some stayed to marry local girls. I wonder if their war memorial is still in the Castle Road?
Added by Bill Geddes on 24 December 2004
Bill, the Memorial is very much there where you remember it (actually an extension of Castle Avenue) - see picture #544. It's a wonderful location which has its own magic about it. The Remembrance Service is held every year in November with a superb turnout - it's on the Sunday following the National Remembrace Day as the Service at the War Memorial at the eastern end of the High Street is held on that Sunday.
It's curious that the position of that War Memorial doesn't have the same magic as that of the Polish Memorial. Why it was chosen I don't know but it was one of the two sites earmarked for the new United Free Church - now the Church of Scotland. As we all know the preferred site was where it was built - Castle Road. Neither has a certain magic - curious. It's all about earth energy. Plenty of that by the old Castle grounds.
Added by Malcolm McKean on 26 December 2004
Exactly Malcolm! Even as a kid there was an aura about the Polish Memorial which made it seem particularly poignant. I am so glad to hear it is in the same place. I think it has a wonderful statement along the lines of "we fought for our country and yours". There is a major Polish Memorial not far from me in London. It has only been there for about 20 years as there was all kind of haggling over whether it should be put up or not. There are many Polish people in West London from wartime and over the past year a whole new influx due to their entry to the EU.
Added by Bill Geddes on 30 December 2004
It was nice to see a picture of Joe Zawinski. His daughter, Vanda, was a friend of mine when I was at Invergordon Academy. Whenever I went to their home, both he and his wife (she was a lovely lady) made me very welcome.
Added by Heather Anderson (nee Booth) on 14 January 2007
I remember Vanda talking about you Heather, I am Vanda's younger sister Caroline. Dad is doing well he is still very active in the community and taking part in Polish/Scottish activites, in fact he was on TV last week. Mum unfortunately passed away nearly 14 years ago. I will pass this message on to Vanda.
Added by Caroline MacLeod (nee Zawinski) on 09 May 2007
Hello Caroline - it was lovely to hear from you! I remember you! It was just so good to hear that your dad is still very 'active in the community'. Oh - I wish I had seen the programme which he was on last week! I can picture him as if it were yesterday I last saw him! I remember your mother so very well - she was always so kind to me, and made me very very welcome whenever I visited your home. Also - if I ever bumped into her in the street, she always made time to talk to me. I remember her mostly, as always smiling. I was so sorry to hear that you lost her 14 years ago. It is comng up for two years since I lost my own mum. It is such a sad anniversary is it not - the anniversary of ones mother's death? I used to love going to your house - I can remember how all the children had their specific chores to do (as I did at home also) - yes, I have such nice memories of Vanda and your mum and dad. I remember Marie and Josef very well. When I used to visit - I think that you were then the 'baby'? Later, I think you had two 'baby sisters' who came along later - 'Erenya' and 'Teresa' am I right - although I probably have the spelling wrong?! Please keep in touch.
Added by Heather Anderson on 16 May 2007
Hello Heather, good to hear from you, its a lovely trip down memory lane. You're right in the fact that I was the baby. Vanda was the eldest followed by Maree, Joe, Maggie, Erenia, then me. Maree and Erenia are still in Invergordon. I stay just outside Edinburgh, where are you now? I miss Mam very much, she was just one of the world's special people who could see the goodness in everyone. Vanda's daughter Debbie has got the most wonderful shoe shop in Dingwall called "Soul". It's like going to a sweetie shop but better!!! She's got a website for it and you could probably contact Vanda through that. Glad you kept in touch, speak soon.
Added by Caroline MacLeod (nee Zawinski) on 17 May 2007
Ah - I see I got the order of your siblings wrong Caroline! You were actually the baby of the family at all times! As soon as I saw Margaret's name I remembered her! It's interesting that Vanda and I should each have a daughter calle 'Debbie', although my daughter is known as Deborah. I will certainly have a look at her website.
Added by Heather Anderson on 18 May 2007
Hi, my name is Leszek Gorecki; Edmund Gorecki is my grandfather's brother. This are the first pictures I see of him in my life.
Added by Leszek Gorecki on 03 December 2007
Hi Leszek, Edmund and Peggy Gorecki were my godparents.
Anonymous comment added on 06 December 2007
Did Edmund and Peggy have any children? Are there more pictures of Edmund his family and friends?
Added by Leszek Gorecki on 23 December 2007
Looking at the comments on the Polish camp, surely it must have been the early 40s as they left to go to France sometimme around D Day.
Added by Doug Will on 23 December 2007
Doug, there were certainly many Poles in the camp when I was old enough to remember and that would be around 1946/7. I seem to remember reading somewhere that the British Government were reluctant to involve Polish troops in operations - something to do with politics, maybe a concern about Poland being Communist after the war? There was certainly a sad air to the circumstance of the Polish troops. They used to produce handcrafted things to sell to locals so as to have an income of some kind.
Added by Bill Geddes on 24 December 2007
Doug, they were still there in 1945. Don't you remember the parade of vehicles from the camp to the railway station? - 1946-7 I think. The High St. was lined with Invergordon people giving them a send off.
Added by Harry O'Neill on 24 December 2007
Ok wrong again, must have had my mind on other things.....Must have been the Canadians I was thinking about....
Added by Doug Will on 26 December 2007
Hello Everyone, my name is Vanda Hardy (Zawinski) and I now organise the Polish Remembrance Service. I have done for the last few years. If there is anything I can help with then please ask.
Leszek, my sister Maree and I put flowers on Edmund and Peggy Gorecki's grave when we go to our mother’s. We grew up with them around as they were friends of our parents. I will look and see if we have any pictures for you.
Hi Heather, how are you? Long time since I saw you.
Added by Vanda Hardy (Zawinski) on 18 January 2008
Hi Vanda, its your darling little sister here. Just to let everyone know, Vanda works very hard organising a variety of Polish events. A lot of things just wouldn't be possible without her. We appreciate all your hard work very much.xx
Added by Caroline MacLeod, nee Zawinski on 19 January 2008
Vanda, is there anything to indicate that there was a Polish Army camp there? I have only recently found out the name of the camp - Castle Camp. Perhaps the avenue where the camp was located should have a street sign named Castle Camp Avenue? Just a suggestion.

Great to know that the monument is being kept up nicely....
Added by Harry O'Neill on 22 January 2008
Hi Harry, no there is nothing to show where the camp once was apart from the monument itself. My father told me..to the right of where the monument is standing now used to be the check point entrance into the camp. It was the 25th Battalion that was there. Brigade headquarters was in Saltburn. The monument was built by the soldiers of the camp with stones taken from the beach. My father was one of those who helped build it as was Edmund Gorecki and Max Malicki. I have some old photos of the camp which I will look out for you to see. The camp was also famous for its dances! That was where my Father met my Mother Margaret Shivas.
My Father still carries the Polish standard at the service as does Eddie Makicki in memory of his Father. I have sent recent pictures of the monument so hopefully they will be on soon.
Added by Vanda Hardy (Zawinski) on 22 January 2008
Thanks Vanda, can you ask your father when the camp at Invergordon was evacuated? I do remember watching them on their way to the railway station. Someone who is doing research on the 25th was asking me if I knew the date, but I was too young, thanks...
Added by Harry O'Neill on 23 January 2008
Hi Harry, I've asked my dad but he can't remember the exact date but he says they left in 1947. He also said to check the monument as it was written on it and it has the date 1947 on it. Did you know any of the Shivas family? I just trying to see if you would know any of my family and place yours.
Added by Vanda Hardy (Zawinski) on 26 January 2008
Harry - if I have my bearings correct, what you suggest as naming "Castle Camp Avenue" is locally know as 'The Bumpy Road', but as far as I am aware it has no official name. Perhaps the Polish community (old and new) can petition the Council for an official road name (as you have suggested) to be erected at the location.
Added by Kmmc55 on 27 January 2008
Vanda, only Shivas I knew was a Paul Shivas. My family were the Dunn's on Outram Street. I am Ryall Dunn's son; she died in 2005 and I know she would have known your mother and father. Thank your father for giving the date, I will pass it along. Great pictures of the monument and your dad...
Added by Harry O'Neill on 28 January 2008
Hi Harry, Paul was my cousin. I don't know who your parents were. The only Dunn's I remember were at the end of Clyde Street. Glad you like the pictures. It's looking a lot better now as there was a lot of vandalism on it. So I, my sister Maree and Dad are regularly up there keeping it tidy.
Added by Vanda Hardy (Zawinski) on 28 January 2008
Thanks Kmmc55, I think it would be a fine gesture to sign it as Castle Camp Avenue. Maybe Vanda can pass it along to someone with authority.
Added by Harry O'Neill on 28 January 2008
I live in Invergordon but up until now I didn't really know very much about the memorial or even that there was a camp there. I had always wondered about why it was there but no one really knew that I asked. My Grandfather is from Poland so I really wanted to find out about the Polish soldiers...I am proud to be partly (even if it is only a small bit) Polish, especially now that I know about the camp and the memorial. I think it is a really good idea to name the road - I mean Castle Camp Avenue has a better ring to it than the Bumpy Road - don't you?
Added by Gemma P on 08 June 2009
I live in Glasgow, my grandfather was a polish soldier born in 1922. At some point he came here to Scotland - I don't know when. His name was Boleslaw Josef Luczka. He changed it to Robert Archer. I would like to find out where in Poland he came from. If anyone out there has any info I would be very grateful.
Added by Pamela Shields on 17 April 2012
I wonder what happened to the Polish soldiers who were repatriated after the war? The country had become part of the Soviet "Empire" and Stalin was still alive. I know that many Russian soldiers who went home from captivity were shot because Stalin was paranoid about anyone who may have been influenced by "Western" culture/politics. Has anyone had contact with Poles who went home from Invergordon?
Added by Bill Geddes on 17 April 2012
My Grandfather Jan (John) Nic stayed at the Invergordon Polish camp, his son (my Dad) was Henry Nic who was brought up in Invergordon. I am trying to find information about my Grandfather Jan Nic as no one in the family had any information about him after the 1950s. I wonder would anyone else have any information about him as we only ever had 1 photo of him?
Added by Heather Nic-Ross on 05 January 2014
Anyone know of a Jozef Siwczyk who was a photographer in the Polish armed forces at Invergordon?
Added by David Liddle on 24 January 2014
Does anyone know anything of Janina Dziubakowska, Franciszek Kycia, Conrad Kubicki or Leon Majherek who I believe were all comrades in the Invergordon and Saltburn area?
Added by Paul Kytzia on 26 March 2014
I would be very interested if anyone has photos of the Polish soldiers, thank you.
Added by John Czarnecki on 01 July 2015
Vanda, congratulations on your award from the Polish Government. I just found out about it.
Added by Harry O'Neill on 24 December 2016
I have just discovered this site, and am fascinated. I have many memories of Invergordon, as when I was little, my family used to visit Frank and Margaret Krefta. They lived in Ivy Cottage, Saltburn. My father was Eddie Chilla, a watchmaker from Inverness.
This weekend, my friend and I have been remembering going to a celebration event for "1000 years of Polish Christianity and Polish National Celebration Day". This event was held somewhere north of Invergordon, but for the life of me, I can't remember where. Can anyone help?
Added by Carol Bell (Chilla) on 23 July 2017
I would hazard a guess that it could have been in Tain where Paul Lippic? lived. He was very active in the church.
Added by George Mackay on 24 July 2017
Hi Carol, I remember your father, my father Max used to visit him at his shop and sometimes took me along, I think his shop was somewhere above Castle Street, this would have been sometime in the 1950s.
Re the celebration event, I vaguely remember something about it and as George mentioned it would be highly likely that Paul Lippoc was involved in it. Paul was the founder and conductor of the Polish choir, see Invergordon Archive picture #1130.
Added by Eddie Malicki on 31 July 2017
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