Remembering contribution of Eastern European military to Second World War

The grave in Spalding cemetery.
The grave in Spalding cemetery.

Among the prayers of remembrance next Sunday some will be said in South Holland for men from Eastern Europe who gave their lives for the war.

Of these, one has close connections to Spalding: a man in the Polish Forces who died in an accident at Deeping St Nicholas when the army vehicle in which he was a passenger skidded, went into a dyke and turned over.

2nd Lt Jezienicki, who was aged 39, was trapped underneath the vehicle with head injuries. He died on December 17, 1941.

War historian Cheryl Arnold, who lives in Spalding, noticed his headstone in Spalding cemetery had been tended, and decorated with floral tributes and a candle.

Cheryl mentioned it to a fellow Royal British Legion poppy collector Roz Smith, of Weston Hills, and that set off a chain reaction.

Roz in turn mentioned it to a friend who is employed at a local fruit packing company with migrant workers. One of the Polish workers created a notice to be displayed in Polish shops in the town inviting everyone to join the area’s Remembrance services and asking if anyone knew anything about the grave.

Roz, who served in the RAF, said: “A lot of Poles fought alongside us in the Second World War and it’s a little known fact that in the RAF the highest kills were from the Polish squadron. I think at that time they had nothing to lose. They had already left Poland because of the German invasion and they had the opportunity to fight the Germans and when they were up there they had nothing to lose.

“We wanted a bit of contact because Remembrance is coming up and they contributed. It would be nice if representatives of the Polish community could join us on November 10 when we parade from the Market Place to Ayscoughfee Gardens.”

Roz admits it would also be nice to make contact with whoever is tending 2nd Lt Jezienicki’s grave.

She said: “Someone, somewhere is looking after the grave and we wondered if they could contact us. It would be nice to know that messages could be sent back to his family.”

Cheryl said: “Airborne troops were camped on the Spalding Grammar School field before they went off to fight at Arnhem, so the town has a close attachment to those men, just boys really, some of them.”

Spalding’s Remembrance parade leaves the Market Place at 10.15am for a service at 11am.