Lydia Gryzowska


I lived  in the Ludford Magna camp in Lincolnshire until the age of six and then my family moved to Husband Bosworth. I was ten when  we left the camp and although I have photos from both camps, Husband Bosworth is the camp I remember most. The photos on your Husband Bosworth camp site brought back a lot of wonderful memories for me, especially as I recognised many of the people such as Eddy Merkis, Ela Kubis, as well as the Rafal and Boc families who were our neighbours.

My father, mother and me. Ludford Magna

My dad and I in Ludford Magna

My father Gustaw,  mother Teresa, me and our Italian friend Tosca Witosz in Husband Bosworth camp.


My father, Gustaw Gryzowski,  was born in Lwów in Eastern Poland. When war broke out he joined the army and  fought in many battles, including  the battle of Monte Cassino in Italy where he lost so many of his friends.  He met my mother who was Italian in Faenza towards the end of the war. They married and came to England.  I remember my mother telling me that as my father was still in the Polish Army, the wives of Polish service men  travelled  to the UK  two weeks before the men. She arrived somewhere in Berwick, Northumberland, where it was so cold after leaving sunny Italy that it was quite a shock for her.


Nursery school walk at Ludford Magna – I am the 3rd child from the front Tadizo Witos


Husband Bosworth Camp


Nursery in Husband Bosworth

   Janina Manuala  and Paola Tielianiec, their mother was Italian and life long friends of my family.oOther names are Ryszard Piotrowski, and Franek Bochniak,



In  Husband Bosworth camp there were four Italian ladies who remained friends for life and so did their children, that is my generation.   The ladies were, my mother Teresa Gryzowska, Vittorina Tietianiec (now living in Leicester), Irene Bochniak (Rugby) and Tosca Witosz (Sydney Australia) . All these ladies had learnt Polish in the camps and some of the husbands had learnt Italian during the war in Italy. As my father always insisted on us speaking the two languages at home it was often a mixture of both. When I was five a bus would come to the camp each morning to collect all the children of school age and take us to Welford the nearest school where we learnt English. On Saturday mornings  we had to attend Polish school, there we learned to read and write in Polish, we also had Polish history lessons and religious instruction. Life in the camps was a happy time for us children we often played in the woods and the girls loved to collect flowers such as bluebells.  My mother was a dressmaker so was always busy sewing clothes for me and my brother Robert.


My  godmother Ermelinda Dziegielewska with her daughter Jadwiga sitting on her lap. I do not know the other lady.

My Mother and friends in Ludford Magna

My mother is the lady with the long hair far right and in a dark costume – I am the child standing beside her with my head bent down.  I vaguely remember the water-tank in the background and think there was a wash-house nearby. We lived in a barrack just opposite the wash-house I think.


Kazimierz Dziegielewski playing the accordion at the Ludford Magna camp with a friend at the piano.

Kazimierz was a sergeant in the 2nd Armoured Regiment Polish Forces and married my godmother in 1946 in Italy.  From the document I have, he came from Obrytki, Przyt³y, £om¿a, Warszawa


I especially remember participating in the Corpus Christi processions as a child and leaving a trail of flower petals along the roads as we followed the priest, I also remember the smells of the wonderful cakes that some families cooked such as Bu³ka and P¹czki.  A neighbour of ours Pani Salwarowska had a garden where she grew poppies for baking "Makownik", a kind of Polish poppy seed cake in fact every garden had poppies and I remember  on one occasion  panic in the camp as policemen came to check and enquire what the poppy seeds were used for, but it all ended well.


Children and parents taking part in Corpus Christi Procession early 1950s

My father Gustaw Gryzowski and I outside the church in Ludford Magna – must be on the occasion of Bo¿e Cia³o?


Easter time was fun, I remember neighbours such as Pani Ga³êzewska, who had two daughters of my age, hiding painted boiled eggs and some chocolate ones in the grass around her barrack and telling us that a “Króliczek” (rabbit) had hidden them for us to find.   I also remember that twice a year there used to be a local fox hunt.  For us children it was quite a show watching all the aristocrats passing by on their beautiful horses and attire  something out of this world for us at the time.

Although I have fond memories of  Husband Bosworth, life for our parents specially the Italian wives  was difficult and not every thing was good , I have a vague recollection that there was a murder  in the camp, something to do with a jealous husband who killed his wife,  I think it happened on the site where the “kwatermistrz” the camps commandant lived.


My first Holy Communion in Husband Bosworth.

 Front Row:- Gra¿yna ?, Wiktoria Ja³owiecka (Lola), Jadzia Salwarowska. Back Row:-Me Lydia Gryzowska my mother is standing behind me, Basia Ga³êzewska and Terenia Surniak.

Celebrity  breakfast after our first Holy Communion with priest Fr. Franciszek Dziduszko, I am the third little girl.


My friend Jadzia Sa³warowska and me, we played a lot together and our barracks were close to each other. Over the years we've lost touch.

Family and friends in our nissen hut  in Husband Bosworth. The occasion, my brother Robert's christening. The man with a moustache is Mr. Lipinski with his wife Wiktoria (I think). Next to her is her son Stanislaw Bochniak  (known as Stasio ) with his wife Irena (another Italian friend in the camp and life long friends). Next Mr. Motyl my mum stretching her neck and next to her is Tosca Witosz and my father Gustaw in the forefront.

When the camp closed many people, like my family moved to Rugby were we continued with our Polish traditions throughout my adolescent years.
In fact for children of my generation it was more difficult for us when we moved to the towns as all of a sudden there were “Taboos” whereby in the camp we didn’t have them.  We were free to play outside as there was no danger – everybody knew each other and watched over other people’s kids – like an extended family really.  Polish families did not appreciate the English way of educating children and considered them far too liberal. Therefore, many of us found that we had no problems going to the Polish club as someone would always offer to bring us back home but trying to go to an English event was another story…. It took our parents some time to get accustomed to this new way of life.

I left Rugby in 1970 to get married in Italy, then my husband and I went to Geneva , Switzerland, where we have been living ever since – we have 2 grown up children. Throughout all these years we regularly visited Rugby to see my family and old friends and sometimes went to visit the Polish camp for a Nostalgic Tour….. On one of my trips another old friend gave me a photocopy of the layout of the camp which I still have today. 


If you lived in the Camp and would like to share your memories and photos or can name any of the people above please contact me.

  Page 1   Husband Bosworth Camp Edek Merkis and Irena Pluszynśka-Gundelach Memeories.  
  Page 2  Current  
  Page 3  Kazia Malinska-Myers memories    


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