Polish soldier’s family seeks St Andrews wartime link

Stanislaw Sedziak is in the middle of the front row. Two other Polish soldiers are behind him in the back row and they are pictured surrounded by members of the Rusack family.

Stanislaw Sedziak is in the middle of the front row. Two other Polish soldiers are behind him in the back row and they are pictured surrounded by members of the Rusack family.

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THE family of a Polish soldier who was based in St Andrews during the Second World War are trying to track down his friends in the town.

Stanislaw Sedziak, a home army officer, trained at the war school and is thought to have lived with the Rusack family during his time in St Andrews.

He returned to his native Poland after the war but was unable to keep in touch with his friends in Scotland owing to restrictions brought in by the post-war regime in his home country.

Before his death in 1978, Mr Sedziak asked his family that if they were ever free to travel and communicate outside the country they would try to contact his old friends in St Andrews.

And his son Slawomir Sedziak is now looking to contact the Rusack family and any other former friends and comrades of his father.

He told the Citizen: “Before my father’s death, he asked me to find his friends and get in touch with them.

‘‘I found an old photograph in the family album of my father with the Rusack family in St Andrews in 1940.

“My father probably lived with them at that time while he was training at the war school - they were very hospitable.

“Unfortunately, after the war Soviet repression on my family in Poland meant he was unable to contact the Rusack family due to censorship of letters. My father died in 1978, not having seen independent Poland.”

Thousands of Poles arrived in Scotland during the Second World War, the majority coming after the fall of France in 1940.

Many were based in St Andrews where they regrouped and began helping the war effort by building up the coastal defences of Fife and Angus.

In October 1940, Winston Churchill and his wife met with General Sikorski at the West Sands for an inspection of the Polish troops who were based in the town and the surrounding area.

The Poles integrated well in St Andrews where some servicemen enrolled on courses at the university and many stayed on at the end of the war.

The family of Stanislaw Sedziak are now hoping the members of the Polish community will get in touch if they served alongside him or, like the Rusacks, made him feel welcome in the town.

Anyone with information that may help can contact Slawomir Sedziak at family.sedziak@gmail.com.