This was an all-Polish Entry. These had been
recruited from Palestine in 1944 where they had been placed with the
rest of their families by the British after they had been released
from internment by the Russians. Some of the older ones were recruited
directly into the Free Polish forces.
The training started in August 1944, and these Polish students had
a longer course than the main 49th (7M9) Entry because they had to
first of all to learn English, prior to doing the same Radio/Radar course
as the main Entry. There was also a Polish 7P11 Entry, who were
possibly later recruits or those who were considered to require
Technically one could say that they weren't strictly RAF, as they
wore Polish badges and did Polish square bashing, but they were part
of the Free Polish forces under RAF command.
WebMaster's note regarding 'the Poles'.
(Added April, 2009)
As the then CAA Association WebMaster, I Peter Cornelius (69th Entry),
in my updating and revising web pages came across the pages of the Polish
Entries of 1944 - 1948.
We all know that the Invasion of Poland in 1939 precipitated World War II
but how many us knew of the hardships endured by these lads who eventually
became Apprentices at Cranwell? Well, I for one, as a 9-13 year old at
the time didn't know; so I set about doing some research, with further
information from John Smailes of the 50th who 'was there'.
The Invasion of Poland was carried out by Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union,
and a small German-allied Slovak contingent.
Following a German-staged "Polish attack" on 31st August 1939, on
September 1st German forces invaded Poland from the North, South, and West.
Spread thin defending their long borders, the Polish armies were soon
forced to withdraw Eastward, following a plan that called for a long
defense in the Romanian bridgehead area, where the Polish forces were to
await an expected Allied counterattack and relief.
In cooperation with Germany on September 17th the Soviet Red Army invaded
the Eastern regions of Poland. This was part of a secret appendix of the
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which divided Eastern Europe into Nazi and Soviet
spheres of influence.
Facing the second front, the Polish government decided that the defense of
the Romanian bridgehead was no longer feasible and ordered the emergency
evacuation of all troops to neutral Romania. By October 1st Germany and
the Soviet Union had completely overrun Poland, although the Polish
government never surrendered. In addition, Poland's remaining land and air
forces were evacuated to neighboring Romania and Hungary. Many of the
exiles subsequently joined the recreated Polish Army in allied France,
French-mandated Syria, and the United Kingdom.
With that background I describe now the experiences of just one group of
very young lads who were to subsequently end up at Cranwell or Halton, as
documented in a Polish book writen by one.
The author's group was deported to Russia on 10 Feb 1940 to a forced
labour camp, where there was little food and no medicine, but they were
not brutalized. However, hunger, overwork and typhus killed 600 out of
1700 deportees in the 20 months that they stayed in the camp.
In 1941, Hitler turned on his allies and invaded Russia. Food in the camp
became even more scarce, but it was rumoured that Polish status was being
re-examined. A Polish army might be formed in Russia and that the deportees
might be given amnesty. This turned out to be true and the survivors left
the camp in October 1941, travelling in cattle trucks through Turkestan,
Kazakhstan and Uzbekestan, arriving in Bukhara on December 25th, 1941
where they stayed for several months, with even less food.
In July 1942 the author was accepted into a Polish orphanage and shipped
to Dzhuma in Uzbekestan. He escaped from the orphanage several times and
eventually joined a corps of about 1200 Polish Army Cadets.
In August 1942 they were finally allowed to leave the Soviet Union and
went by boat to Pahlavi in Persia. It seems that here they came to the
attention of the British Authorities. They were well looked after by the
British Army and became free, clean and happy.
In early September 1942 the lads were driven on a very dangerous route
through the Persian mountains to Teheran and after two weeks, on to Iraq,
where the Polish Army looked after them. Soon after they continued to
Baghdad and then through Jordan to Quastina in Palestine.
It was in Quastina that exams were held and those suitable were accepted
into the local Polish Army Cadets.
After they had been receiving military training for some time, an
RAF/Polish Air Force Recruiting Mission arrived to recruit and select
candidates for RAF Apprenticeships. The author and the other successful
cadets thus made the last leg of their journey to Halton or Cranwell in
much greater comfort than in their previous travels.
The English version of this history does not make it clear, but it is
assumed that the Polish Air Force Brass in UK were aware of the plight of
the young boys and had suggested to, or pressured, the RAF into offering
them Apprenticeships. The result was the formation of the Recruiting
Mission which visited all the Middle East locations where the boys were
assembled. It would have taken some time to get the Recruiting Mission
approved, planned, formed, equipped and transported to the Middle East,
so the boys must have been destined to Palestine way back towards the
beginning of their journey.
I don't know Halton figures but from Cranwell names declared on these
web pages there were 113, comprising two 49th Entries and two 50th Entries.
After what they had experienced Cranwell was but a Holiday Camp!
Polish attained Awards on Passing Out :
Highest Marks for English
709036 A/A Danielewski S
Highest Marks in Tech Subjects
709166 A/A Osewski Z
Highest Aggregate Marks
709166 A/A Osewski Z
The Entry List below is presented in alphabetical