Blessing of the school’s banner
8th November 2015 will forever remain in our memory. On that day, in the church of St Charles Borromeo in Sheffield, a Holy Mass was celebrated for the intention of our Home Country, during which our school’s new banner was blessed.
Holy Mass was celebrated by father Tomasz Wójcik, our parish priest. He stressed that the school banner is a symbol gathering around both students and teachers, that helps us all to keep our national identity and cultivate the timeless values: patriotism, honor and love. The Holy Mass was attended by local Polish community, school teachers, pupils, their parents and brownies and scouts from troops Wilno and Kaszuby.
This event coincides with the celebration of the 65th anniversary of the Polish education in Sheffield and adoption as the patron of our school of General Władysław Anders.
The day before, at school, our headteacher Mrs Tamara Gryszel-Fieldsend gathered both pupils and parents to tell them more about General Anders and the history of Poles who found themselves in the United Kingdom after the Second World War.
The banner of Polish School in Sheffield
School banner is square-shaped with dimensions of 80cm x 80cm made of rep fixed to the shaft. The sides are trimmed with golden tassels. The shaft is made of wood in a dark colour topped with Polish national emblem.
The left side of the banner has a white-red background. In the center, there is a symbol of Yorkshire – White Rose of York, symbolizing the fact that our school, pupils and teachers live, work and study in Yorkshire. Above it, embroidered with silver letters, there is school’s name: POLSKA SZKOŁA W SHEFFIELD (Polish School in Sheffield), and below the rose embroidered in white letters, there is the following inscription: “im. gen. Władysława Andersa’ (of the general Władysław Anders). In the left and upper right corner, there are red poppies referring to the flowers that bloomed during the battle of Monte Cassino, when soldiers of the 2nd Polish Corps under General Anders stormed it.
On the right side, on the white-red background, centrally positioned is the emblem of the Poland – the eagle with a crown, and around it, embroidered with silver letters, are the words: HONOR, OJCZYZNA, BÓG, NAUKA (Honor, Homeland, God, Education).
Władysław Anders – hero of Monte Cassino
He lived from 1892 – 1970. During World War I he was a cavalry officer in the Russian army, since 1917 fought in the 1st Polish Corps in Russia. In 1918 he joined the Polish army. At the head of the 15th Lancers he took part in the Polish – Soviet war of 1919-1920. In 1924 he graduated from the Military Academy in Paris. During the May coup in 1926, he was chief of staff of troops loyal to the government. In 1928 he became commander of the Cavalry Brigade in Baranowice. He fought in 1939 near Mińsk Mazowiecki and Tomaszów Lubelski. While trying to escape to Hungary, he was captured by Soviets and imprisoned in Moscow. After the Polish-Soviet agreement of July 30, 1941 he was released from prison and since August 1941 he served as commander of the Polish Army in the USSR.
After the evacuation of the Polish Army from the Soviet Union, he was appointed commander of the Polish Army in the East, and since July 1943 he commanded the 2nd Polish Corps of the Armed Forces in the West, which since the end of 1943 years fought in Italy. In the period from 26th February to 21th June 1945 he performed duties of the Supreme Commander of Polish Armed Forces in the West.
After the end of World War II, General Anders remained in exile in the United Kingdom. On his initiative, on May 14th, 1953, Polska Macierz Szkolna (Polish Education Society) was reactivated, which have functioned in the years 1905-1939. The purpose of this organization, which adopted the name of Polska Macierz Szkolna Zagranicą (Polish Educational Society International), was to organize Polish Saturday schools, secondary schools, summer camps, and publish magazines for children and youth, in order to prevent the risk of denationalization generations of young Poles who found themselves in exile. General Anders, who stood at the head of the council has managed to attract many celebrities of Polish emigrants, and most of all former teachers, clergy and students.
He died in London, and in accordance with his will, he was buried in the Polish War Cemetery on a hillside of Monte Cassino.