'First to Fight' Book Launch





First to Fight was launched yesterday, September 1st 2009, 70 years after the German invasion of Poland. The new book is part of a project to promote the recognition of the role of the Polish armed forces in Britain’s war effort. Contributors to the book and supporters of the campaign include leading British statesmen and military leaders such as Baroness Thatcher, General The Lord Guthrie, former chief of the Defence Staff, HRH The Duke of Kent, Winston S. Churchill MP, grandson of the wartime Prime Minister, and Sir Martin Gilbert, Churchill’s official biographer.

Based on the personal stories of Poles who fought on various fronts, in the air, on the land and at sea, First to Fight recalls Poland’s six-year struggle against the Nazi forces. It also features a number of texts which are published for the first time, including the English translation of Stalin’s signed order to execute 14,736 of the Polish Officer Corps at Katyn Forest in 1940.

Approximately 500,000 Poles fought under British command during the Second World War. More Poles died as a percentage of Poland’s population than any other country and in the aftermath of the war, as Poland was incorporated into the Soviet Union, over 120,000 veterans settled in Britain. However, at present there is no memorial dedicated to the Polish Forces who lost their lives during the Second World War.

As the second part of the memorial project, a new memorial to these Polish Forces will be inaugurated at the National Memorial Arboretum near Litchfield, Staffordshire, on September 19th. The Polish Forces Memorial will be officially unveiled by HRH The Duke of Kent. The National Memorial Arboretum comprises 150 acres of woodland and memorials dedicated to the fallen servicemen and women from both World Wars and other conflicts of the 20th century...



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