Teresa’s family came from Wotyn, in Poland. During WW2 they were sent to Siberia. Following the ‘amnesty’ they travelled to Persia, then to East Africa before making their way to England. They travelled on the Georgic and arrived on 10th July 1948 in Southampton. They were then sent in coaches to a Polish camp in Staffordshire. They stayed there for about six months.
Teresa’s brother was in the army and was working London, so he requested that the family be able to move closer to London. That way they were transferred to Marsworth.
While in the army Teresa’s father was in the cavalry and had the rank of ‘Ogniomiszcz’.
Teresa’s family lived at Site 12, in a ‘barrack’. At first there was communal catering – everyone went to the canteen due to rationing. When people got their own ration books they were able to do their own cooking.
People used to have allotments near their house where they were able to grow potatoes, cucumbers, etc.
There was a communal hall with a television for the whole camp. There was also a snooker table and eventually there was a band which used to play the orchestra when dances were held.
Football matches were held which local people were able to play in; they also sometimes attended the dances at the hall.
Work – there were lots of opportunities and local firms took on many people from the Hostel. Some people went by coach to their place of employment if their firms provided them. Others travelled by bus, bicycles or walked.
Teresa’s family left Marsworth in 1957 and moved to Reading.
A memory of early childhood on deportation
Teresa told the story in 2019 of how when she was four years old she and her family were forced from their home by Russian soldiers. Later, waiting on the platform to be loaded into a cattle truck she remembers how she was crying with thirst. A Russian soldier, perhaps who had a small child of his own, took his tin mug and filled it with snow and gave it to her. She looked at this, disgusted, then threw it away, after him - "I can't drink that!". The women around her were horrified, thinking of what the soldier might do in retaliation and stood around her, shielding her with their skirts. Luckily nothing dreadful happened as a result.