".

IN THEIR COUNTRY'S SERVICE" WOMEN - SOLDIERS OF THE 2nd POLISH CORPS
1941 - 1946
LAY

OUT AND TEXT:

LOLA ROMANSKA AND ANDRZEJ ROMANSKI MONTAGE: WINCEl\TY SZUROWSKI

PHO'l'OGRAl'HS:.r. K ITRYNKlE'\"ICZ.

BEEGEK, \\I. BOKUTA,A.CHRUSCIEL,J.FUKS, B. KOWALIK, K]WSZYNSKI, A. PADUCII,
\\I. SZUROWSKI,

S. GLIWA, BR. TIABERSKI W. TIRYNlE\\"1CZ. K. MAGIERA, F. MALINIAK, LOLA ROMANSKA, AND J. l\llCHALSKl, A.ROlVlAi\SK[

ST. LIPlNSKI,

o LSZANSKI,
.P. SAWICKi,

W. OSTROWSKI, T. SZUNI.ANSKI, PRODCCTION:

1. ROMANOWSKI,
CZ. ZEMBAL, SECTlON WORK;

J. ZIELICKI PUBLiC

REPRODUCTIONS

PHOTOGRAPJ-TIC GRAPHICAC

HQ POLISH

REf-A nONS

1. CHADZyt~SJ(A

TRANSLATOR;

RCERTON

SYJ(ES

l'UBLISHED BY THE IIEADQUARTEHS UF THE POLISH WOM.EN'S AUXILIARY CORPS 2nd POLISH CORPS.

tlLtY-I-#t~"NGBOTHAMLIBRARY
Ot1A'H'T~ IA~T/ST UNIVERSITY

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An
was

historical

event of major

importance

was the

pari played: by women in the second world war. The impetus of national necessity pressed 'whole social groups into the service of the state. Conscription f'or women introduced in most countries, but before this was the case, tens of thousands of women had enlisted in tho
armies of the warrrng

in photographs of the lire of the Polish Women's Auxiliary Corps, - the P. S. K., - but is also intended, in some measure, to give an idea being. of how the various the organisaticns came into ill

'I'h is book is not only a history

During
v(,<lled num

years or the war unsuspected

Polish woiuen, traits

nations. In many cases the

1icw

common with 'women of most of the Allied Nations, )'cv hitherto of character.
80 little was previously uud ph vaioa] resistance

ideas and status gained as a result of this will remain pcrrnaucnt part 01 the framework in the wortd.
it

of women's sphere

known of the moral endurance of women, while evoi; lcss was

Owing to the special conditions of the combat iu-Poland, all service by women, whether
ground
01'

with the Under-

suspected of their aptitude for work, thcirself discipline and reliance, 01' even or their courage. While these characteristics had been observed in exceptional aiuonast
(!PI'S

in the Armed Forces had: to be on a voluntary Corps, which was creaoften against the and abroad, produced the need for aud organisation,

cases, as lea-

basis, The Women's Voluntary
ted both ill Poland special

those women distinguished

in history

of opinion, in this war such leaders

were to he

stroug

. ouuositiou
regulutions
1:1

of those who disagreed with women's part in the struggle against

found in thoir thousands amongst Polish women, Colonel Mrs. Wqslouchowa, Chief Commander of the PSK., stated
U pper

right to serve. It may now be said that the Polish women played nation. predominant opression, a fact which is f'ul.lv realised by the whole

«

The woineu 01' the PSK. always keep a stif']' circumstances, are most consistent
way au t

Iip in difficult

and reliable, and unconcerned being. In every situation

about their personal well

they fiud the one

-ousiatent When

'with

their

patriotic the PSK" Pil'st

outlook after the General

».

with the

the

thousands

OT Polish of' Russia

wanderers arri viug
they had had had half starved debilitated when

from by

he created

long negotiations Anders greatest was actu anumber in Russia. was hamPolice, step b~'I'ho women, took luu nin tho tests. ami gave or getting reco llcc-

far off parts and

to which epidemics,

been exi-

with the Soviet women

Government,

led, quantities diseuse

of children, decimated taken teach nurse follow there by

ted by t 11'0 motives.
0['

to save greatest Thc

to be cared it moved to undertake the epide-

from pr-isons and detention camps
to obtain as their the number 1110VC1Jlellt [rom the camps proceeded as the

1'01'and eventually into Iran. do welfare ail this extra, work,

with the Army in schools the sick, was armies had

Second workers, pored

of auxiliary

The members of the PSK; and

and kindergartens, right in Russia. a leeling or liberty it was 'with the

bv the N,KW,D, with who and

Russian, Secret
counterpart. cookhouses, tiuiestudicd

1I'01'k,

'I'hc creation 0 r the 'Women's step men, dries were work on the same

A l'my footing canteens, same

m ir-s whic-h always On, arriving ami
(,HSl' ,

tho orca Lon of' its male in hosp itals, passing

in .Irrui there

Once work tryout which

been and

orgunised

up their evenings prison wav,
LOllS,

decided

[0

woiuen had

as lorry worked

car drivers, an
ly

OniON;, n nd at the 1'01' the after

experiiucut men

succesful in orrlcr duties, went

o l mi litarv teclnrical the hardships

Brit ish ill the f'irst

\\'OJ'ld War,

to I'r('e us muuv to Palostiu« 1101'e also schools, Ior the

T'his convalescence lire ill Russia, if 110t to smiles,
III

ai' camp

us possi lble Io r purely A g roup of P8K., in si gnals elementary IIare, left and

military Lran and

was the best manner at least to riiore peaceful they first their shyly smiles camp was

back to uo rmul. their but m; the)' pride main

G rudua llv the strain l'ir81 u ui l'orrns, it was danced not that until their

on the faces

for t raining were startod young vouuger girls,

connuunica tions.
training crgauised the joy

and secondary

l'1:lOed photosunuv apI'elt and rcallv

ou the lines or those gcncrution

previously found again

ill Russia or life. East

gl'nphcrs, land ]J('ared honest The

thev igot to the fires, that

Wi1.11the sunshine and greener.\', Forces women in tho Middle worked

or Uzbekistan, in their llrobll'm

around. marching,

13y then the Polish
been centered niatic conditions, ycnng

had cliin

on Traq, where

in spite, of the difficult

to be Tacerl

of. coning

untiringlv

IIlHipi(als, canteens ""I
III ria,

and offices, 'The chief battle which called the unceasing the Polish Here troops efforts Forces for. Eventually, their

was with of doctors ]ll'elimiof

Bologna conl.

is known

to all and constit'l1.tes a glotious the P~K. run hosuitals, and in every and transport,

rccanfield

During

this period

against were

II lid 11;1

uurses

teens, eonnllunications

r)' training

completed,

left the de101'-

or wo rk showed themselves

to he Jlosseded or a. high sense to duty. 'I'he ir labours to the and advance: to the general the were an munitions front line, w ork of their

H{'rLand moved

to Palestine. carried

long conveys and stores

()r

eon rage and elevation contribution on time, brought up

ri(,s driven by PSK.,

across

import ant hrought messages nu rsmg part.

fooLl Llelivered

the sandv track ham Baghdad. In the process or .changing
P8K. 'were attached to Polish

stations, Divisional

companies
formations,

or

through,

the sick, and wounded;

all these

played

wh i Ie at the same time arrangements Iield canteens Iirst tactical services to be staffed exc reises by them.

were made for the By the time the all these

\\'l1('n the war finished that 1hov could return where

it was the hope of the rSK.
but this has are going to yet an other the wide uXllel';ence fol' a better long years they wor-ld, of f'ear

were held in Palestine,

to a Iree Poland,

had 'been well enough 'trained to show their' use. the Polish Forces were moved to Egypt, taking through l)art Italy, ill the all the and last stop before drive played

not been the case. Ko," they count rv. England" a (~o['d.i;tl woleome have gained We where there and ter-ror. during continue and where to live,

F'rum Palestine

it is felt that they will receive
will be of use to them. alter

this was to be their Buropean Then or which 2nd Polish

the war years striving

opel'ations. came the splendid the Polish Corps Forces

ill

is peace and liberty

their part. Cassino,

What

did at Monte

Ancona

HERMINIA

K A G lJElWW A

; -"1'

On

the seventeenth

September

1939, Soviet Troops enin a desperate strug-

set up in Russia by General also women and children manner,

Anders. Not only men, but

tered Poland, at that tim.e engaged gle with the German bentrop - Molotov was submitted in two years, were deported

thus joined the army. In this between Kuibishev and

Armies. On the basis nearly half

of the Ribof Poland

on .the Volga Steppes,

agreem.ent,

Chkalov, was born the Polish 2nd Corps. After the evacuation 1942, about of Russia, in March and August

to Soviet domination,

with the result that of sex or ag'2

1.692.000 Poles, reqordless

114.000 Polish soldiers and civilians went to them graves, persons and did

far into the wilds of Russia. Among them and 379.500 children the arctic wastes, under fifteen

Iran leaving behind

were 381.000 women years of age.

415.800 registered

Through

the Siberian 434.300 lost and dispersed 681.400 persons to whom the Soviet authorities

tundras and the Western Asiatic steppes, and detention camps, amid hurailction,

through prisons hunger and minot give permits to leave GerThe untiring, strenuous the mountains of Persia march to Poland the deserts through

sery, these Polish women carried on bravely. On the 22nd June 1941, war broke out between many and Russia. of that year, on the basis of an

and

of the Middle the bottle Bologna -

Early in September agreement between

East, through the Mediterranean fields of Italy, Monte Cassino, still continues. In this march the PSK. Service has its- own story.

Sea, through Ancona, and

the Polish and Russian Governments, from detention cases camps over a Centres,

the steady stream of Poles released and prisons, started

their treks, in many

Polish Women's

Auxiliary

thousand

miles, to the Polish Army Recruiting

Polish Independence

Day (November

l lth) in 1941 was

celebrated

in, Buzuluk by a Mass, at which General

Anders was present

At 'the time of the visit to the Polish Forces in Russia of the Polish Cornmander-in-Chief General Sikorski. the first uniforms were just being issued .


.. ", ..

Buzuluk was the first HQ of the PoJ.:.r,h troops in Russia and for the orqcm.sntion of the PSK. under Mrs. W. Piechowska. There also were started the canteen and medical branches.

Polish camp in Jangi-Jul

View at Guzar

Under .the strange sun, across the vast steppes wandered Polish children, hungry and ill...

They had to be fed and clothed, and to have healed their starved bodies and 'horrorstricken souls

History repeats itself. To the graves of the Polish insurgents who fell in Russia after the Polish Insurrectione in 1831 and l863 were added hundreds of thousands of others.

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In the desert, in the valley of the Biblical Tigris and Euphrates, cities of white tents sprcllng up suddenly. Organised life started immediately and hitherto unheard foreign languages were encountered.

Quizil-Ribat -

Warsaw

2950 km,

Chief Commander

Mrs. Wyslouchowa

at work

A wide special educational curriculum was organised for the training of the PSK.

General Scsnkowski, the Polish Commander-in-Chief. among the pupils.

PSK. followinq the Itinerary of the Holy Cross .through old Ierusulem.

The Tomb of Our Lady in Jerusalem

The places, the names and the scenery change but the tents are always the same.

The lime-tree at the entrance of the camp in Rechoboth - the well known place for hitch-hiking.

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« On the second anniversary of the creation of
PSK. (Polish Women's Auxiliary Service) I send to crll ranks my hecrrtiest thanks for their hard and self denying labours, so full of productive effort for the Army and for Poland. General W. Anders, September 1943»

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May 1944 at'Monte

Cassino

Field Marshal Alexander and General Anders studying maps before the offensive against the Monte Cassino Monastery which was taken by the 2nd ,'Polish Corps on the morning of 18th May.

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The sick-rooms in the Field and General Hospitals

Sisters taking temperatures

-

giving medicine -

- wcrshinq .. a!}s!i!&e,~?~l1~. ,'i~ ,fly ill ,- ,smiling and saying "~,:' cheerful w:1tfJ3'~~'1l:g~9d' spirits.

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changing

dressings a;

Transport

Service

Regardless of weather conditions PSK. drivers kept steadily at the wheel.

Scenes from camp-life For the first time the PSK. 316th Transport Company slept under a roof at Arezzo.

Apart from carrying men and supplies PSK. drivers had to take care of their vehicles repairing small defects and often loading and u.nloading them.

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The 316th and 317th PSK. Transport Coys, during the Italian campaign, did the following:

joumeys

undertaken: gallons

43.339 342.370 3,600.608

petrol used: miles driven

material a) b)' c) d)

delivered: tons' 6.626 27.283 41.306 77.352 30.936-

ammunition food petrol-oil transport material e) building material

»)
»

»

»

Total tons 183.503

-1-NG80THAM LIBRARY
IAII115T UUIVERSlTY

While soldiers of the 2nd Polish Corps were fighting on the Italian front, PSK. drivers were delivering supplies as far as the second line

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The American. Congresswoman Mrs. Clare Booth Luce visits a detachment. ; Dolls oHered by her as mascots

Special canteen .their work.

War Relief Services helped

vans offered by the a lot in

«0. K.» from General Mac Clark

Behind the Senio river on the Bologna road, women soldiers ccmteen workers supplied meals within range of enemy artillery.

Bologna was captured

by the 2nd Polish Corps on April 21st 1945

General Szyszko-Bohusz and General Rudnicki entering the town

PSK. IN OFFICES

The monotonous and burdensome work of clerks. typists and interpreters was, nevertheiess an important factor in the common effort.

After the defeat of the enemy, together with the victors of Monte Cassino. Ancona and Bologna, came the PSK. to receive their well earne.d awards.

General

Szyszkc-Bohusz decorating

the PSR.


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During the whole war the 2nd Polish Corps constantly remembered those, who Iouqhtin Poland. After the Warsaw insurrection many women-soldiers of the Polish Home Underground Army (A. K.) managed to join the PSK. Cruel brandings made in German concentration camps.

After six years of underground resistunce. «new» members of the PSK. training in the 2nd Polish Corps.

. PSK. studying

maps

MATERA
the PSK. trcrininq centre

«Eyeii Right.»

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Many PSK. from different units came to Porto S. Giorgio to finish their. secondary school education.

A 'frien'idly chat

Final exams for School Leaving Certificates

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On the sunny shores of the Adriatic.

The PSK. in picturesque

students'

hats In

Among the Italian universities where Polish boys and girls are pursuing their studies, that of Bologna is especiallydear to Poles, because Nicolas Kopernik studied there.

Visiting

Rome

Scenes from Polish civilian camps in Italy:

Maternity Hospital in Trani.

... « we also belong to the 2nd Polish Corps! »

In Macerata professional dressmaking courses were orqrmIse d.

At the end of the war PSK's work and life went on normally, in Transport, Signal and Canteen Companies as well as in Hospitals and Offices.

'.

The hospital work was chiefly the care of convalescents. '

PSK. attending a Polish Red Cros, course

The PSK. Transport Coys celebrating their Unit holiday (third anniversary).

[

General Lee visiting the 2nd Polish Corps.

Ll' General Morg~, accompanied by General- Anders Commander of the 2nd Polish Corps, visiting 316th Transport Coy.

Chief Commander Lady Kathleen Rollo, ATS, Liaison Officer of the 26 BLU and Colonel Mrs. Wys!ouc::howa.

PSK. get acquainted art in dll its richness

Cultural centres of the PSK. - libraries and reading rooms.

Periodicals and books emanating from the PSK. of the 2nd Polish Corps.

Photographic laboratory

~ Ochotniczka

»

· On. Monte Cassino two years after the battle.

A farewell wreath of flowers

... « Our service and our duty ar pass through still unknown land

not yet finised. We shall leave Italy for Britain and, perhaps later until we reach our homeland, Poland, for which we have fought»

In the second half of 1946- leaving Itaiy

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