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Podington Airfield

When the American Air Force left Podington airbase the airfield lay unused for a few years, but a camp for Polish refugees was established in the buildings left. Some Polish soldiers who had been with the English troops also came there. Gradually the people dispersed into the villages and some married and settled in England. Zygmunt and Henryka Koller were two of them.

The camp in 1982 Another building
Two views of the derelict buildings in 1982 taken by Canon Frost of the Roman Catholic Church

When the camp was abandoned by the Polish people, a gliding club took part of the airfield for a time. The land around was farmed by Mr. Braddick.

In the 1970s the Santa Pod Raceway took over part of a runway, and is still using it today (2009). Annually hundreds of Volkswagon owners congregate at the airfield for a "Bug Jam",and come from far and wide to take part in a festival weekend, to celebrate their vehicles from the past.

Rushden Echo and Argus, 16th May 1947, transcribed by Kay Collins

’Drome to be Used for Research
Now occupied by Polish soldiers, Podington aerodrome is to be taken over by the Motor Industry Research Association and it is proposed to close all approach roads to the public.

Asked by the County Council if there were any objections to the proposals, Podington Parish Council decided at a special meeting that would not object.

Rushden Echo & Argus, 9th January 1948, transcribed by Kay Collins

Poles Were Their Guests
Fifty Poles from the neighbouring camp attended the New Year's Eve dance arranged by Podington Women's Institute. Col. R. R. B. Orlebar welcomed them and they joined enthusiastically in dancing and games. Mr. Wykes was M.C., and music was by a radiogram, loaned by Mrs. Cooper.

Extract from Council Meeting 13th April 1956

Camp Closure
Asked by the Eastern Command Land Agent if it could find accommodation for some of the families who will be affected when Podington Camp is closed, the Housing Committee has replied that in view of other urgent cases on the waiting list and its present limitation of applications to British subjects, it cannot accept any responsibility.

Memories of the Camp - My name is Richard Kaminski (Ryszard in Polish) and I remember some of the times in the camp and also some stories that I had been told of my escapades. It appears that when I was still very young (too young to go to school), my sister Irena Kaminska started school in the village and I wanted to go there with her. The story my mother (Bronislawa Kaminska nee Syposz) told me was that one early morning, I got myself dressed and hid outside with my tricycle waiting for Irena to be picked up by the school bus. I followed the bus and when she went into school, I also went in. According to my parents, I had my wellies on the wrong feet and my shorts on back to front. I do remember that we had a few sunflowers outside the barracks and there was an old pot bellied stove inside that we used for heating and simple cooking.

I believe that the area we lived in was designated camp 3 and it was a bit further towards the airfield then the main camp. The family that lived in the other half of the barracks were called Szatkowski and they live in Wellingborough. I now live in Luton with my sister in Hitchin and my brother in Northampton but my father and mother both lived in Wellingborough and sadly are no longer with us.

Richard Kaminski 2014

Airfield House

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