Historical note

The 1939 dual invasion of Poland by the Germans on 1 September 1939 and the Soviet Red Army 17 days later is well documented, the deportation of some 1.5 million Polish men, women and children to the depths of the arctic regions of Siberian USSR, less so. Camps like Tara existed, as did places like Fort Kermener. The trains there and back are burnt into the memories of those who rode them, but they are a dying generation.

The movement of Anglo-Polish forces across the Middle East and North Africa and their dispersal throughout Allied military and intelligence services is not widely recorded or remembered.

Polish SOE operatives on paratchute trainingPolish SOE operatives on paratchute training Polish SOE (Special Operations Executive) trained in Scotland, Kent, Italy and Audley End. Operatives were dropped behind German lines, to seek out high-ranking individuals for disposal, to assist the resistance, to pursue, expose and target the Luftwaffe’s last European gasps and to spirit millions in gold to Poland in several tranches – with varied success.

Rommel and the Hitler Jugend were in and around Vimoutiers post-D-Day; Vimoutiers was blanketed with USAAF bombs on an intelligence tip that an unnamed, high-ranking German would be there on a specific June day. Rommel was strafed near Vimoutiers.

Eduard Cjaikowski over many years disclosed fragments of his odyssey. Detailed descriptions, events, names, characters and dialogue are imagined or reconstructed. The narrative is a fiction, based on available facts.

Eduard returned to England, married (twice) and had children, eventually revisiting Poland. He lived in Bucks for some fifty years, until his death after a series of strokes.

This book is his story and that of other brave Poles like him, who fought for freedom. They should not be forgotten – ever.


Parachute drop