Address by the Chairman of the Foundation Driel-Polen
Mr. A.J.M. Baltussen
at the Commemoration of the contribution of the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade to Operation Market Garden, 72 years ago
Driel, 17 September 2016

Panie i Panowie
Ladies & Gentlemen
Dames & Heren
On behalf of the Driel-Polen Foundation I would like to welcome you all to this commemoration, where we give special attention to the contribution of the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade to  Operation Market Garden – 72 years ago.

A special word of welcome to

The 3 Polish Veterans, who could make the way to Driel from their home in Great Britain, Mr. Kubiński, Mr. Staszkiewicz and Mr. Wojciechowski.
Also Mrs. Nawrocka a previous member of the Armia Krajowa and widow of a member of the Brigade.
and to the widows of Polish veterans living in the Netherlands.
The Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in the Kingdom of the Netherlands His Excellency Dr. Borkowski
The Ambassadors of Great Britain H.E. Sir Adams and from Canada H.E. Mrs. Nölke and the representatives from the United States of America
The King’s Commissioner of our province Mr. Cornielje
Brigade General Marchwica Air Mobile and Mechanized Forces Inspectorate Director and leader of the representative from Poland.
Commander of the 6th Airborne Brigade Colonel Hałupka and other members from this Brigade
Chief of Staff of the Joint Forces based in Brunssum Lt. Gen. Adamczak, and Mrs Adamczak
Lt. Gen. Lorimer and other members of the Para Regiment and Brigade General Matthijssen on behalf of the Commander of the Dutch Armed Forces
The Burgomaster of this municipality Mr. Van Asseldonk and his partner Mr. Diepeveen

The representative of the Sosabowski family Mr. Jeremy Sosabowski and his mother Mrs. Tomczyk Sosabowska
The representative of the British veterans Staff Sgt. Laurie Weeden
The Burgomasters of the partner municipalities of Overbetuwe
Mr. Wernard from Usingen in Germany
and the representative from Boleszkowice in Poland Mr. Stoparek

All the British veterans present this afternoon

 Ladies and gentlemen,
This year marks ten years since the Netherlands reinstated the honour of the 1st Polish Independent Parachute Brigade.
In recognition of their great admiration for General Sosabowski, the British veterans presented the monument that stands before us at the commemoration held back in September 2006.
It’s special to be able to stand here, 10 years on, to honour the brigade again

Given the interest in these events from Poland, the Poles of Driel Foundation have Polish subtitles created for the DVD made of this occasion. This will be sent to various contacts in Poland over the coming weeks.

Boys and girls of the choir,
It’s fantastic that you are able to be here this afternoon to sing and, together with the members of the orchestra Promyki Krakowa, pay tribute by laying a wreath.

We are commemorating the Polish soldiers that landed by parachute here in Driel – not far from this very spot – 72 years ago, because they fought for the freedom of our parents and grandparents against the enemy who occupied our country at that time. Thus, they contributed to the freedom that we experience to this day.
It is important to remember so that we don’t take the freedom we have for granted. We need to remain aware that others have made great sacrifices for our freedom. At great risk to their lives. In the past and to this day.
Along with many others, the Polish parachutists had fled, or been expelled, from their country at the beginning of the war. They eventually came together in Scotland, after a journey which took many detours. Their brigade was founded there on 23 September, 1941. This year, 75 years ago.
In his speech, Mayor van Asseldonk will share the journey of one of the veterans who is here with us today. We’ll hear just what it took for him to eventually arrive in Scotland.

For all of us – but especially for these veterans – it is very special that you will be singing two songs in Polish this afternoon. It’s also wonderful to see that you are accompanied by your peers from Poland.

All the best!!