Teresa Smith (Macyszyn)


My mother, father, grandmother and uncle lived in the Camp, and my father was one of two people there who was English. My grandmother Teresa Macyszyn came from Pianowice, in what was then Poland. My mother married Bill Smith and therefore was Anna Smith.


My mother and grandmother (Anna and Teresa respectively), were in Siberia together, in a labour camp in the pine forests, where they both had a terrible time. They were then together whilst getting to Africa, and once there, my mother told me that she was given the opportunity of coming to England and joining the RAF. My grandmother had to stay behind because I was told, that England only wanted the youngsters.


Once in England, my mother ‘joined up’ and stayed with the RAF for four years. She then left as she was trying to find her mother through the Red Cross. She was given a job in Bury St Edmunds, at a Hotel as a chamber maid, and then a waitress. She met my father, who was a chef at the hotel and fell in love! The Red Cross had found my grandmother and she was on her way to England and was placed in the Camp at Marsworth, so my parents made their way from Bury St Edmunds down to Marsworth.


They were able to stay there, and I grew up there until I was five years old, when we moved to Pitstone. My brother, who was two years younger than me, was there for three years. Needless to say, neither of us remember very much ourselves, but I do know that my grandmother helped the parish priest, as a cleaner.


I remember having services in the Nissen hut. There was a nursery there, and the teacher wanted my brother to eat his soup. He would not and the teacher got quite angry. I stepped in and started telling the teacher off, and then also got into trouble.


My mother told me that it was a hard life at the Camp. She said that she was not able to ‘stray’ too far from the Camp but on one occasion she went out on her bike, and was fined for going out of camp. I am not sure myself whether there were any regulations at the time, or whether this information was correct.


My brother (who would have been only three at the oldest before we moved) only remembers ‘eating vegetables out of the garden’. I remember that too, and that my grandmother used to keep chickens.


My mother and father worked for Lord Nuffield at his own golf club - my father as a chef and my mother as waitress. Eventually my father gave up this job because of the long hours, and started work at Tunnel Cement (later Castle Cement) and became the manager of the ‘Top Site’.



Addendum from Teresa Smith, January 2020:


My grandmother lived at the hostel with my uncle, on Site 12 of the hostel and my mother and father joined them in around 1951.  I grew up there and was born in 1952 and my brother in 1954.  We all moved from there in 1957.  My mother's name was Anna Macyszyn - the same as my grandmother's. 


This photo is of my mother in Polish costume.  She would have been only 17 when the Germans invaded and when her family were forced out of their home in Pianowice in what is now the Ukraine.  I do not know where the picture was taken.


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