Historic Great Yarmouth to Poland sea voyage to be completed

Wladyslaw Wagner (centre)
Image caption The voyage of Wladyslaw Wagner is being completed by scouts

A sea voyage from Norfolk to Poland that was halted by the outbreak of World War II is to be completed by Polish scouts.

Wladyslaw Wagner, thought to be the first Polish man to sail around the world, tried to travel back home from Great Yarmouth on 1 September 1939.

But as he was due to set sail, he was told that Poland had been invaded by German forces and he could not return.

The scouts will be presented with a plaque from the Polish Yacht Club.

The boat - Zjawa IV - is due to arrive at Great Yarmouth harbour on either 3 or 4 September after about a dozen scouts make their way across the sea from Norway.

The boat is then due to go back to the port of Gdynia, near Gdansk, in time for the 20th anniversary of Wagner's death on 15 September.

A year of events have been organised by divisions of the Polish Yacht Club around the world, including the branch in London, to mark the 100th birthday of the maritime pioneer.

Outbreak of war

"This last leg of the voyage is a symbolic one because they are doing this trip which he could not do," said Jerzy Knabe from the London branch.

"The connection is that Wagner was a boy scout and Zjawa IV is belonging to the Polish boy scouts.

Image caption The Zjawa IV is due to reach Great Yarmouth on Monday or Tuesday

"Many people from Poland, from Britain, from London, are coming here to greet them [the scouts] and send them back."

Wagner sailed from his home town of Gdynia in 1932 at the age of 19 on his quest to see the world.

He travelled along the European coast and sailed across to South America before ending up in Britain.

But after seven years and three boats later, his journey was cut short by the outbreak of war.

'Full of adventure'

After staying in the town for a couple of weeks and leaving his boat at Oulton Broad, Wagner made his way to London and was a seaman in the Merchant Navy during World War II.

After the war, Mr Knabe said he set sail for Australia with his wife, but due to pregnancy the trip was cut short and they ended up in the British Virgin Islands.

They stayed there for 10 years before making their way across to the US. Mr Knabe said the explorer died just before his 80th birthday in 1992 in Florida.

Mr Knabe said Wagner was an inspirational man and he was excited about being able to honour the man he described as being "full of adventure".

Members of the Polish Yacht Club are expected to meet the scouts on their arrival and the mayor of Great Yarmouth has been invited to the event.

The scouts will be presented with a plaque marking Wagner's journey, which will then be taken back to Poland.

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