FILE 2: From Polish Army to Polish Families and Dependents

At the end of the Second World War Canadian Military Headquarters (CMHQ) in London authorised Tweedsmuir Camp to be called No. 1 Repatriation Depot. It was to be the last Canadian Camp to house Canadian military personnel in the United Kingdom save CMHQ, which oversaw the closure of all the army camps under its command. The last Canadian soldier left Tweedsmuir Camp on 21 February 1947 and in Colonel Stacey's (Canadian Military Historical Officer) words 1 Repatriation Depot "ceased to exist." The following day Tweedsmuir Camp was handed back to the War Office (WO), London who elected to keep it open as accommodation for Polish Army administrators employed at the Pay and Records Office Witley Camp to oversee the demobilisation of Polish army personnel.

Scotland, England and Wales were divided into six Home Commands. Tweedsmuir Camp lay in Eastern Command, roughly 600 metres north of Thursley village

On 27 March 1947 the Polish Resettlement Bill became law, giving the National Assistance Board (NAB) overall responsibility for WWII Polish refugees who were to be housed in military camps in Britain. Their welfare was devolved to the departments of education, employment, health and labour. The NAB received its authority from the passing of the National Assistance Act which replaced the Poor Law the following year. It was part of the social 'revolution' brought in by Clement Attlee's Labour administration to assist people whose resources were insufficient. The National Health Service was also part of this sea change in social care.

The Polish Resettlement Bill was an attempt by the newly elected Labour Government to bring in policies to help reduce the unsustainable and looming chaos posed by the Polish Second Corps stationed at Ancona in Italy at a time when Great Britain and the United States of America were about to recognise the Polish Provisional Government of National Unity in Lublin, Poland. The Bill prepared the way for managing the formations of the Polish Army units and to bring about their demobilisation from the British Army after fighting under British operational command; specifically under the supreme command of General Bernard Montgomery.

For the sake of administrative convenience, those who decided not to repatriate, or emigrate to a country other than Britain, were required to enlist in the Polish Resettlement Corps (PRC). Other Polish army units, including Polish naval personnel and airforce personnel, were required to enlist in the PRC too. The PRC was part of an important system that gave them the chance to restart their lives as civilians.

Once "civilianised" the ex-PRC personnel were joined by their families and dependents. The welfare of this group of people became the responsibility of the National Assistance Board (NAB). But the of welfare responsibility in Tweedsmuir Camp did not run smoothly! Find out why by navigating your way to the 'Background to Civilianisation.'