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Arnhem: A Debt

of Dishonour


Arnhem DVD


A Debt of Dishonour is a unique documentary film dedicated Major General Sosabowski and all ranks who served in the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade Group and to their Comrades-in-Arms of the 1st British Airborne Division that fought in the ill-fated “Operation Market Garden” at Arnhem and Driel during September 1944.

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Polish Forces in WWII

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1 September 1939

The unprovoked German attack on Poland on 1st September 1939, leading to Britain and France declaring war on Nazi Germany on the 3rd, began the Second World War. Out-gunned and out-manoeuvred, Polish forces put up valiant resistance against overwhelming German forces but, on the 17th the battle for Poland was to all intents and purposes over when the Soviet Union, adhering to the terms of the Nazi-Soviet Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 23rd August, invaded Poland from the East.

German Soviet patrol

Contrary to popular myth, the Germans did not find Poland an easy victory; Polish forces caused the Germans substantial losses in men and materiel, thus buying the Western Allies—France and Great Britain—valuable time. Polish servicemen made every possible attempt to get away and reach France where a new Polish Army of over 80,000 men was raised to fight alongside the French. This Army was to give an extremely good account of itself in May 1940 when German armour and infantry quickly smashed through the French defensive lines.

Following the collapse of France, thousands of Poles managed to escape to Great Britain. These included a great many Polish airmen, who ended up shooting down 11% of the German aircraft destroyed in the Battle of Britain.

Squadron 303

Poland was the only Allied country to fight in the European Theatre of War from the first day of the war until the last, almost six years later. Polish men, women and even children gave their lives ‘for your freedom and ours’ on all fronts—on land, at sea and in the air, where they distinguished themselves with courage and self-sacrifice at Westerplatte, Warsaw, Narvik, the Battle of the Atlantic, Tobruk, Monte Cassino, Normandy, Wilhelmshaven, Caen, Arnhem, Berlin and in the Home Army in Poland. They also provided the Allies with the means to break the German Enigma cipher machines, as well as vital intelligence that allowed the Allies to get their hands on secrets of the V-1 flying bomb and the V-2 rocket, as well as even actual V-2 parts.


The Polish Forces War Memorial will provide a focus for the remembrance of the valour of the many Polish military and civilian organisations involved in the Second World War which has led to peace in Europe for over 60 years.

Author: Jarek Garliński


Photos © Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic of Poland