The 1st Independent Polish Parachute Brigade

(1 Samodzielna Brygada Spadochronowa)


Forming The Polish
Auchtertool Distribution Camp

Interestingly, the Polish Auchtertool Distribution Camp (Polish: Obóz Rozdzielczy W Auchtertool) was initiated by WInston Churchill himself.

At Checkers, on April 26, 1942, Winston Churchill and General Sikorski met. At the meeting, it was agreed that 8000 Polish soldiers from the "Polish Army In Exile" who were currently stationed in the Middle East, would be brought to the UK and would bolster the UK army.

Bear in mind that the British Army had nowhere to accommodate the Polish troops being evacuated from the Middle East, so the Polish Army were left to fend for themselves in many ways.

So in the UK, they setup their own temporary camps called "distribution camps" or "re-assignment camps" where troops would stay awaiting new assignments to more permanent posts.

The Polish camp at Auchtertool Distribution Camp (Obóz Rozdzielczy W Auchtertool) was to be one of these such camps formed under Winston Churchills plans.

The Polish army in the UK had their own infrastructure and in many aspects were self contained, even if the British army did supply them with uniforms and ammunition etc.

In May 1942, in preparation for receiving the Polish soldiers, the commander of the 1st Corps, General Marian Kukiel ordered a distribution camp to be formed in Fife. Thus Auchtertool Distribution Camp (Obóz Rozdzielczy W Auchtertool) in Fife, Scotland came into existence and would exist for a brief time.

How Long Was The Camp There?

We know that the Auchtertool Distribution Camp was formed in May 1942. Evidence suggests initially it was the distillery at Auchtertool.

In July 1942 a tented camp was formed (we don't know if this was the one at Camilla Loch) and later another one added "near the distillery" (again, we don't know if this was the one at Camilla Loch, clearly one of them was!).

It is also likely there was another camp closer to Cowdenbeath, Fife that might have been attached to the command at Auchtertool Distribution Camp . As yet, I have no detail on where this was but evidence and hearsay suggest such.

Records indicate that on the 30th October 1942 they started to "liquidate" the camp, i.e empty it out by re-assigning the men still there to other places.

On the 20th January 1943 the Auchtertool Distribution Camp was dissolved and ceased to exist. It's tasks were taken over by the Central Command No. 1 (Komenda Uzupełnień Nr 1 OR K.U.Nr1.

Having said that, this listing at the Imperial War Museum implies it was there in March 1943:

It's not entirely clear, but it is suspected the Auchtertool Distribution Camp (or parts of it) then moved to Polmont in Falkirk.

So the Polish Distribution Camp that was known as Auchtertool Distribution Camp (Obóz Rozdzielczy W Auchtertool) was located there for 6 months at full capacity and a further 3 months at a lesser capacity, in all, the camp was there 9 months.