This is part of the BBC's Archive of World War Two Memories – written
by the public and gathered by the BBC. It simply relates the experience
of Anton Witkowski during the war. A Pole, he fought the Germans in
September 1939 and fled the country following the defeat of Poland. He
eventually arrived in Britain and re-joined the Polish Air Force, with
Squadron 306. After demobilisation, he married an English girl and
settled in Yorkshire.
This resource shows clearly the impact of war on families, and
on countries. Even though his country no longer exists, he escapes and
continues the fight. His experience illustrates that people migrate for
many reasons, and that Poles have lived in England for much longer than
the current influx.
There are other Polish experiences during WW2 in the same archive:
These show that Anton was not a singular experience – there were many more Poles who felt and acted the same way.
The classroom activity will help teachers and pupils enter into
discussions about who fought in WW2, on which side, the contribution of
Empire etc. This also provides opportunity to explore the contribution
of many groups of people, to many aspects of life in both the 20th
century and earlier.