Polish Government in Exile Issues 1941-45

22/11/2012     Poland

Polish Government in Exile Issues 1941-45
Following the German invasion of Poland in September 1939 a Government in Exile was established, first in Paris and then in Angers, until the Fall of France in June 1940. The Government then moved to Central London, based at Portland Place, along with other additional buildings scattered throughout the city.

From 1941 to 1945 a total of 21 different stamps were issued in London for use on Polish Naval vessels, and also for use from Polish military bases in Great Britain, these mostly being located in Scotland. During 1941 and 1943 a total of 16 different attractive wartime designs were made featuring subjects such as Polish Machine Gunners, The Ruins of Warsaw, General Sikorski Visiting Troops, The Merchant Navy, etc. Four of these were overprinted in 1944 to commemorate the capture of Monte Cassino in Italy, and finally a single issue was made in 1945 with a new design featuring the Polish Partisans.

After the end of the Second World War in 1945 the Government in Exile continued to operate in London, from smaller premises in Eaton Place, until being finally dissolved after Lech Walesa became President of Poland in December 1990.

The Government consisted of a President (of which there were six) and a Prime Minister (of the which there were15) over it's 51 years of existence, meeting with it's cabinet every two weeks in London representing the large Polish community, including veterans, many of which remained in Britain after the war.

Today there are still many reminders of this wartime government era to be seen in Great Britain, including a commemorative stone at the Scottish HQ at Eastend House, in the Cemetery at Perth, a memorial at Prestwick, several at Newark in Nottinghamshire where the Polish Air Force operated from, the Polish War Memorial at South Ruislip, London, as well as the Polish Clubs in many towns and cities throughout the land.

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