Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Portsmouth's Polish community marks 180th anniversary

Entrance to Portsmouth's Kingston Cemetery
A service was held in the chapel near the Polish Memorial in Portsmouth's Kingston Cemetery

Hampshire's Polish community has marked the 180th anniversary of the arrival of their ancestors in Portsmouth.

In 1834, 212 Polish soldiers arrived and formed what is thought to have been the first Polish community in Britain.

The soldiers came to the UK after taking part in the November uprising against the Russian Tzar.

The men were remembered at a ceremony earlier at in the chapel by the Polish Memorial in Portsmouth's Kingston Cemetery.

Barbara Storey, from SOS Polonia, a Polish drop-in centre in Southampton, said: "They were survivors of the Polish uprising in Poland.

"They were expelled from Poland, sent away to America, put on a boat by Russian and Prussian oppressors.

"But the ship, Marianna, was caught by a storm and the crew decided they had to go somewhere to find shelter and the easiest and closest port was Portsmouth.

"So 212 young men went ashore in Portsmouth and then decided they didn't want to go to America."

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