Statue plan for Polish WW2 general who worked in Capital

A MODEL has been unveiled of a proposed statue to honour a wartime Polish general who worked in the Capital as a barman while in exile.

Saturday, 11th March 2017, 11:45 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:04 am
A maquette of a memorial statue of General Stanislaw Maczek, planned for the Meadows. Picture: Jon Savage

So revered was Stanislaw Maczek that visiting former troops would salute him behind the bar of the Learmonth Hotel, to the bemusement of other patrons.

Campaigners trying to raise £75,000 for a permanent memorial in The Meadows to the general revealed the maquette this week.

Dariusz Adler, Polish Consul General in Edinburgh, said: “Today is a great day for Polish people and the people of Scotland.

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General Maczek in uniform. Picture: Contributed

“It is extremely important to see General Maczek commemorated. He was a hero and a father figure for many Polish soldiers who fought with him during the Second World War for our freedom and yours.”

The general was Commander of the 1st Polish Armoured Division and appointed by Winston Churchill to defend Scotland’s east coast from potential invasion.

He played a key role in the Battle of Normandy, preventing the retreat of thousands of German soldiers and liberating parts of France, Belgium and Holland with his men.

Known to his soldiers as “Baca”, he took up bar work after being refused a soldier’s pension and unable to return to his communist homeland.

General Maczek in uniform. Picture: Contributed

Exiled in Edinburgh, he raised a son and two daughters with his wife in The Meadows. He died in 1994, aged 102.

After the collapse of communism in Poland, president Lech Walesa awarded the general the Order of the White Eagle, the country’s highest honour.

Many of the 20,000 members of the Polish armed forces stationed in Scotland during the war settled in Edinburgh and the Borders, where General Maczek’s unit was initially based.

The late Lord Fraser of Carmyllie began the campaign for a permanent memorial to General Maczek in Edinburgh after learning of his exploits at the war hero’s funeral.

Unveiling the maquette, Lady Fraser said: “We are now making a public appeal to the people of Scotland to support the project.”

Supporters said £25,000 had already been raised towards the cost of the project. The maquette of General Maczek was created by Polish artist and sculptor Bronislaw Krzysztof.

Lady Fraser and fellow trustees of the General Stanislaw Maczek Memorial Trust will commission the full-scale version once they hit their fundraising target.

Mr Adler said: “We owe a great debt of gratitude to the late Lord Fraser for his initiative and the effort he put towards establishing a permanent memorial to the Polish general who actually spent more of his life in Scotland than anywhere else.

“We are grateful to the trustee and the patrons for their work and to all those who support the project that Lord Fraser started.”