In May 1944, 40,000 Polish soldiers attacked and captured the hilltops of Monte Cassino, bringing to a close the largest, bloodiest battle fought by the western Allies in the Second World War. Days later the Allied armies marched into Rome seizing the first Axis capital. No-one in 1939 could have foreseen an entire Polish Corps engaged on the Italian Front. Most had been held prisoner in the USSR following Polands defeat and their release by Stalin was only achieved through the intense negotiations of British and Polish politicians generals, notably Sikorski and Anders,. The Polish Army was evacuated to Iran in 1942 and subsequently incorporated into the British Army as the Polish II Corps. Their ultimate post-war fate was shamefully ignored until too late. This book, which charts the extraordinary wartime story of the exiled Polish Army in the east, makes extensive use of undiscovered archive material. It reveals in depth the relations between the British and Polish General Staffs and the never ending hardships of the Polish soldiers.
Martin Williams was born in Plymouth and educated at the University of Gloucestershire graduating in Landscape Architecture. He has spent the last fifteen years at sea as a Deck Officer in the Merchant Navy where he lived and worked with a great variety of characters from around the world. The tales from the Polish crews inspired him to find out more concerning past relations between Britain and Poland. Upon uncovering aspects of the Polish II Corps he began to explore their history in depth, and this book is the culmination of nine years work.