A WELSH charity has launched a project celebrating the arrival and settlement of the Penley Polish community during World War Two.

The Rainbow Foundation has launched a Penley Heritage Project which will focus on the unique history of Penley and its surrounding villages after the Second World War and the arrival and resettlement of the Polish soldiers and their families after the first ever mass immigration law.

It will capture Penley’s history as a village from WW2 onwards, including the arrival of the first evacuees to the Madras School from Wallasey, the three hospitals established by the US Army in preparation for D-Day which later became homes to the Polish community and to the best-known Polish hospital in the UK: Hospital No. 3.


Rainbow Foundation Project Officer Rebecca Griffiths is third generation Polish and grew up in Penley within a Polish/Welsh family.

She says: “My grandfather Jan Glaz was from Eastern Poland and was uprooted from his home by Stalin’s forces.

“Aged 18, he was able to join the newly formed Polish II Corps which joined the allied forces under British command fighting in Iran, Iraq and Monte Cassino.

“After the war he was resettled in Penley where he met my Nanna, Helena, who had also been displaced”.

Whitchurch Herald: Penley Polish community during World War Two. Penley Polish community during World War Two. (Image: The Rainbow Foundation)

Much of Rebecca’s childhood was spent with her grandparents on the Penley camp and in the old Polish hospital, where they both worked.

She adds: “I feel very privileged to have grown up in such a unique community.

“We celebrated both Polish and British traditions.

“The community still exists but in a much smaller way, with people still living in and keeping a connection with the village.

“That’s why I’m so excited to be delivering this project, to ensure the history of this amazing community is remembered and celebrated.”

Funded via the UK Shared Prosperity Fund which is part of the UK Government Levelling Up agenda, the project will initially consist of a history group who will look at gathering information, sharing histories and consider ideas on how the heritage of the village can be permanently commemorated.

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Although the population of Penley has changed since then, the Penley Heritage Project will ensure that the stories and memories are not lost from what was once a large and thriving Polish community.

Volunteers will play a big part in the project.

Interested individuals are welcome to get involved or find out more by emailing Rebecca at rebecca.griffiths@therainbowfoundation.org.uk