The 1st Independent Polish Parachute Brigade
(1 Samodzielna Brygada Spadochronowa)
Used In The Battle Of Arnhem
Surprisingly not often talked about is the gliders that were part of the training program of the 1st Independent Polish Parachute Brigade.
The Gliders At Elie
At the back of The Golf Hotel in Elie, on the gold course, were a number of gliders that were towed into the sky from RAF Leuchars.
Behind the school in Elie was the fuselage of a Whiteley bomber which was also used to practice exiting from the aircraft. Even after the war the fuselage remained and many photographs of people were taken there as it was considered a landmark.
Practice At Kincaig Point
The parachuters would then practice exiting from these over Kincraig point, particularly on a Sunday. Families would often go down to that area to watch the training.
Role At Arnheim
In the run up to operation Market Garden, it became very apparent that there was a drastic shortage of air transport and as a consequence the mission of the 1st Independent Polish Parachute Brigade would be at stake.
To combat this, gliders were built with glider training taking place (including how to exit from a glider and parachute into combat).
This training took place in North East Fife, mainly behind the Beach Hotel in Elie (The 2nd Battalion of The 1st Independent Polish Parachute Brigade were stationed at this hotel).