It is a Polish tradition that on 1st November, All Saints Day, the departed are remembered with a special ceremony at the cemetery. All over Poland families gather together and visit the cemeteries to decorate the graves lavishly with flowers and to leave burning candles inside protective-glass holders. From above, in the dark, the country looks like a patchwork of glowing squares.
In Welford, a village close to Husbands Bosworth, there is a cemetery with thirteen Polish graves – two rows of them close to the railings of the neighbouring Primary School. The Polish people buried here had once lived at the Polish Camp in Sulby, opened for them in 1947 after the army had vacated the barracks. This is where I eventually lived with my family – see my previous blog here.
At Welford cemetery, the Polish tradition for All Saints Day is observed too. The graves are freshened up with flowers, and the Polish priest from Rugby, Father Liptak, comes on the Saturday closest to 1st November to pray for the people who had been laid to rest here. Also, thanks to the kindness of the Churchwardens at St. Mary the Virgin, the church is opened for the small visiting group to gather for prayers and for a chat afterwards.
This occasion each year gives me the opportunity to think back to life at the camp and to remember the people who lived there.