The 1st Independent Polish Parachute Brigade
(1 Samodzielna Brygada Spadochronowa)
Polish Hospital No1
Taymouth Castle is situated to the north-east of the village of Kenmore in the Scottish Highlands in an estate of 450 acres. Close to the Grampian mountains but only 1 mile from the River Tay, its location is rather exquisite to say the least!
The 100 room castle is neo-gothic in style, boasts impressive staircases, plasterwork, cornice, murals, panelling, stained glass and more. Taymouth Castle as a Polish Military Hospital in Scotland in World War 2 at first makes no sense. That is until you realise the War Office under the British Government's authority requisitioned many grand homes, castles and suchlike for use in the war effort.
Requisitioned By The War Office
In 1940, likely as Polish troops left France to come to the UK, Taymouth Castle was requisitioned by the war office for use as a military hospital to treat Polish troops. It was designated "Polish Hospital No1" (Name variations are "Polish Hospital Nr1", "Polish Military Hospital No1", "No 1 Polish General Hospital", "Polish Hospital Number 1" and "Taymouth Castle Hospital").
Mention of "No1 Polish General Hospital" should not be confused with "Polish General Hospital". The latter was the 'Paderewski Hospital' (Western General), a hospital that treated ill and injured Polish soldiers as well as civilians.
There was another Polish military hospital (nicknamed "SEFA") at Dupplin Castle (the former home of whisky magnate John Dewar) near Perth but there are very few mentions of that site. The main Polish military hospital was this one at Taymouth Castle in Scotland.
Polish Hospital No1 would soon contain 1200 beds and around 200 staff to treat the injured Polish soldiers. Taymouth Castle was well protected though, a lot of the murals, panels and suchlike were boarded over to protect them during the time it would serve as Polish Hospital No1.
To increase capacity, 75 Nissen huts were erected temporarily in the grounds of Taymouth Castle.
The hospital was equipped with state of the art x-ray machines and multiple operating theatres and from 1940-1948 would treat the wounded starting with those from France. The Battle of Monte Casino would see the largest patient influx from which 200 casualties alone arrived.
My own grandfather Wladyslaw Hoscik was also at Taymouth Castle, my own research into recreating his life stories led to this very webpage.
Polish Red Cross medical staff along with the Army Medical Service would work alongside the Polish Women's Auxiliary Service in caring for the injured and sick Polish soldiers at Taymouth Castle.