This film is part of Free

Little Poland

The Polish community at Ilford Park near Newton Abbot in Devon is testament to enduring relations between Poland and Britain.

Current affairs 1964 12 mins

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Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


Little Poland is the nickname of llford Park Polish Home at Stover in Devon. It is a resettlement camp for Polish ex-service men and women who fought under British command in the Second World War. The Prime Minister at the time, Winston Churchill recognised their sacrifice and a commitment is enshrined in the 1947 Polish Resettlement Act. The former American military hospital was set up as a home in 1948 welcoming Poles who had survived war, deportation and labour camps.

By 1964 Ilford Park was a functioning community with a church, a priest, Father Glarzewski, a doctor and a shop. In 1992 a new home was opened on the site. The leader of the Polish Government in exile in Britain, which existed in name until 1991, was General Wladyslaw Sikorski who was killed at Gibraltar in a plane crash in 1943. The tragedy also killed Sikorski's daughter and is the subject of conspiracy theories; the pilot survived. Buried at Newark cemetery in Nottinghamshire, in 1993 Sikorski's exhumed remains were returned to Poland where he is buried in the Hall of Kings of Wawel Cathedral in Krakow. Poland joined the EU in 2004 and migration of skilled workers to Britain has helped to underpin relations.