THE WINDRUSH POLES
The Windrush Poles
The Windrush Poles were a group of 66 Polish refugees who came to England after WW2 on the now famous ship, Empire Windrush. Unlike the Caribbean passengers who were also on board, the arrival of the Poles passed largely unnoticed.
Their disembarkation marked the end of a 24,000-mile odyssey, which had begun in Poland eight years earlier, in 1940. They had been wrenched from their homes at 4am by Russian soldiers, put on cattle trucks, and sent to Siberian labour camps. After two years they had escaped and travelled around the globe, finally ending up in Britain.
When I discovered that my husband’s family had been among the 66 I began to record his mother’s testimony as a memoir for my children. I could not have dreamed of the epic wartime story that I would uncover.
After years of research, the memoir grew and will be published as a book as soon as I am able to finish it. Publication has been delayed due to the full time support I have needed to give my disabled son.
My husband's family on board the Windrush at Tilbury Docks with other Polish refugees,
prior to disembarking in June 1948. Ewa is at the very back, Janina is in front of her and to her right in the cardigan. Mila is below Janina and to her left, wearing a floral dress with white collar.
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22 June 2023 was the 75th anniversary of the arrival of Empire Windrush.