80th anniversary of briefing courses of Silent and Unseen at Audley End, Essex
PUMST visit to Audley End (Station 43) - Polish Heritage Days in Great Britain
We are well, active and at work, not only in our archives.
On Sunday May 1st 2022 a delegation from PUMST took part in a commemoration at Audley End to mark the 80th anniversary of the start of training of Polish secret agents, known in Polish as the Cichociemni (Silent and Unseen).
In 1940 the British Special Operations Executive set up a training centre in this Essex Stately Home, then known as Station 43. Hundreds of special Cichociemni agents, more than 300 of whom were subsequently parachuted into occupied Poland, underwent training here.
The celebration was organised by English Heritage, who own the property. It was also part of this year’s Polish Heritage Days, which are initiated and coordinated by the Polish Consulate and Embassy in Great Britain. The event was attended by a high-level Polish delegation headed by Polish Consul, Mateusz Stasiek.
The Polish Underground Study Trust was represented by Eugenia Maresch, Michal Wojcik, Bartosz Piasecki, Joyce Brown and Krzysztof Bożejewicz.
Other participants included: Kate Mayor CBE, Executive Director of English Heritage, Dr. Peter Moore, Collection and Building Curator at Audley End and Wrest Park, Dr. Andre Hann, Chief Historian at English Heritage, Clare Mulley, author of many popular history books, including “The Spy Who Loved” (the story of Polish SOE agent Krystyna Skarbek) and a forthcoming book about the only woman Cichociemna agent, Zo Zawacka. The event was also attended by the families and friends of members of the Cichociemni and the SOE.
The day’s events began with a ceremonial laying of flowers at the urn commemorating the presence of Polish forces at Audley End and a speech by English Heritage Executive Director, Kate Mayor, which was very well received. A high point was the opening of the exhibition prepared by English Heritage in the Library located in the main building. This was followed by a guided tour of parts of the building particularly associated with the stay of Polish troops here. We were shown their living quarters, training locations, the jetty on which the Cichociemni made their oaths of allegiance to the Polish Underground Army and State.
Our own contribution to events was a special album devoted to the Cichociemni which had been prepared by Dr. Andrzej Suchcitz, Bartosz Piasecki and Krzysztof Bożejewicz. This found its place in the main exhibition.
Our special thanks to English Heritage for inviting us to participate in this event. We hope this is the beginning of future fruitful collaboration with Audley End, a special place in the history of the Polish Underground State during the Second World War.
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Tags: Audley End | Cichociemni | Dni Polskiego dziedzictwa Narodowego | Polish Heritage Days | Silent & Unseen