Polish settlers in Portsmouth remembered at serviceÂ
COMMEMORATIONS took place at theÂ weekend toÂ remember Polish soldiersÂ who fought during the November Uprising of 1830 '“ who were warmly embraced by the people ofÂ Portsmouth.
The conflict, also dubbed the Polish-Russian War, saw more than 100,000 people from both sides killed or wounded after an armed rebellionÂ in partitioned Poland. Four years later, 212 Polish uprising soldiers were welcomed into Portsmouth when they sailed into the harbour on February 14, sheltering from a storm while travelling to the USA. They embraced life in the city and went on to start Polish-English families in what is believed to be the first Polish emigration into Great Britain. Relatives of those soldiers were amongÂ those in attendanceÂ atÂ the All Souls' Day commemorations atÂ the Polish November Uprising War Memorial at Kingston Cemetery, PortsmouthÂ on Sunday. The poignant fixture, whichÂ also celebrated the centenary of Poland gaining independence in 1918, saw a raft of dignitariesÂ paying their respects. Portsmouth's deputy lord mayor David Fuller, Hilsea councillor Frank Jonas, Polish veteran lieutenant colonel Otton Hulacki, as well asÂ figures from the D-Day Story museum, Polish schools in Portsmouth and Southampton and the Polish community all made appearances.
Councillor Fuller, who attended the service despite being on crutches afterÂ falling downÂ stairs,Â said: '˜It is the first time IÂ have been here for this event and whatÂ stood out for me is the community support and how the children have been so engaged by it all.
'˜It's good to remember the people andÂ what they went through and our shared history. It's that time of year where it is important to remember the sacrifices people made.'
He added: '˜I'd like to thank the organisers for keeping the memories alive and the city council will do whatever it can to help.'
Candles were lit, wreaths andÂ flowers were laidÂ at the memorial and the national anthems of both Poland and Britain were sung as a show of solidarity.
Leader of Portsmouth City Council, Gerald Vernon Jackson added: '˜It's really important to remember the links between Portsmouth and the Polish people who first came over here in 1834.
'˜We have a long shared history of around 180 years so it is vital this is not forgotten. The Polish community fought alongside usÂ during the Second World War and were hugely important in the Battle of Britain.
'˜It's only right to remember those people who helped us preserve our way of life.'