Freely I Served, The Memoir of the Commander – 1st Polish Independent Parachite Brigade, 1941-1944

B1930

This is the biography of a professional soldier who served in the Austrian army in WWI, joined the Polish Army on its formation in the newly independent Polish nation, escaped the German invasion and arrived in Britain to form a parachute brigade and fight with great personal bravery.

Readers will find this a revealing account and an essential part of the Arnhem story.

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NAME: Freely I Served, The Memoir of the Commander – 1st Polish Independent Parachite Brigade, 1941-1944
CATEGORY: Book Reviews
DATE: 200113
FILE: R1930
AUTHOR: Major General Stanislaw Sosabowski
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 203
PRICE: £19.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWII, Second World War, World war Two, paratroopers, airborne forces, Free Polish Forces, Arnhem, vertical insertion
ISBN: 1-78346-261-2
IMAGE: B1930.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/qzllon7
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: This is the biography of a professional soldier who served in the Austrian army in WWI, joined the Polish Army on its formation in the newly independent Polish nation, escaped the German invasion and arrived in Britain to form a parachute brigade and fight with great personal bravery.

When the map of Europe was redrawn after 1918, Poland emerged as an independent country sandwiched between the interests of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. The deeply flawed peace treaties that concluded the Great War produced all of the ingredients to fire up a new global conflict and Poland was inevitably in the German/Soviet vice, beyond the practical help of Britain and France. Even so, the Polish forces put up a spirited fight against vastly superior numbers and equipment.

Polish officers and men escaped in significant numbers, to continue the struggle against Germany. They hoped to be able to assist their allies in defeating Germany to allow them to return to a liberated Poland. In the event, they made many sacrifices and conducted themselves with distinction, only to see the Soviets replacing the Germans as their masters. The author was one of many who decided to return to Poland, even under Soviet rule, taking menial jobs, and sadly dying before Poland was again free.

After escaping to France and then to England, the author formed the First Polish Independent Parachute Brigade and led it with distinction. The objective in forming the brigade was to prepare for a return to liberate Poland. Perhaps the greatest contribution the brigade was to make was in its determined action during Operation Market Garden, when it was dropped into Arnhem in September 1944.

The author intended this book to be a tribute to his comrades in the brigade and this he has achieved. The story is gripping, moving, inspiring and also sad. He has proved fresh insight into the ill-fated Arnhem drop.

The General was noted for his frank style and his willingness to confront British officers in the interests of his force contributed to him being forced to resign, being an undeserved scapegoat. There is some dispute about the account of him inspecting the uniform of an RAF officer, at a pre-Arnhem briefing, to satisfy himself that the officer was not on the enemy’s side, but it would be fully in keeping with his blunt approach and intolerance of fools.

Readers will find this a revealing account and an essential part of the Arnhem story.

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