Lanarkshire Philatelic Society
Mr. Frank Baran
Lanarkshire Philatelic Society member Frank Baran gave a most interesting, and much delayed, display at the meeting last Friday evening, 23rd March. His subject was ‘Poland’ – and he introduced it by informing members that he had a personal interest in the country as his late father, who was Polish, had, after a very eventful journey, escaped from Poland and arrived in the UK in July 1940.
Frank began by asking members for the names of famous Poles – and the immediate response was Lech Walesa! With Frank’s help the names of Copernicus, Chopin, Marie Curie, Joseph Conrad and Pope John Paul II were added.
As he gave his display Frank delivered a fascinating and detailed glimpse of the history of Poland beginning from the establishment of the country in 966AD when Mieszko I reigned and was converted to Christianity. He guided members through the many numerous wars and uprisings in and with surrounding countries which led, in 1772, of the country being divided amongst Russia, Austria and Prussia. Further division followed and from 1794 through to 1918, Poland didn’t exist. Polish forces fought in World War I and in 1918 the country once more gained its independence.
A wonderful display of stamps, covers, postmarks, posters reflected this history.
Stamps issued between 1918 and 1939 – when the country was rebuilding – were viewed. During the Second World War – in 1941 – Stamps were issued in Britain for the Polish Government in Exile in London – and these continued throughout the war.
Frank continued his display with further material reflecting the Second World War – and displayed a "Programme of Events Commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Clydebank Blitz – 13/14 March 1941". This involved the ORP Piorun, berthed in John Brown’s shipyard, which made a valiant attempt to save the town. He also showed newspaper cuttings reporting on this.
In 1989 the 3rd Polish Republic was declared. Many stamps have been issued commemorating events in Poland and in the world since the Second World War- also many of famous people of Poland – including Lech Walesa! Frank finished his display with stamps, showing Wojtek – the Bear, who served as a Corporal in the 22nd Artillery Supply Company after having been purchased by Polish II Corps soldiers. He died in Edinburgh Zoo on 2nd December, 1963 and his statue is in Princes Street Gardens.
Alan Wishart led members in giving warm thanks to Frank who had, with his display, given a wonderful vision of the historical, social and cultural changes in Poland throughout the years.
Our next meeting in the Caledonian Bowling Club, Motherwell Road, Hamilton, is on Friday, 6th April, 2018, at 7:30pm when members are asked to display 8 sheets or pay 50p!
Anyone with an interest in stamps, postal history, postcards etc is very welcome to attend.