The untold tale of Elite Polish Unit who trained in Oxfordshire
Audley End House, countryside estate has halls one would imagine where filled with Aristocrats and Royalty. However, the 17th century Estate has an interesting history. Audley End was temporarily the headquarters of a Polish army’s Elit training Regiment during World War II when Germany invaded Poland. When the previous owner passed away, the British Special Operations Executive took over the house. The Cichociemni (pronounced chick-o-chem-knee) were trained to parachute into Poland to destabilize the Nazi occupiers. May 1st marks the 80th anniversary of the foundation of the Special Operations Unit.
The Chichociemni, translates to English as, “the Silent Unseen.” The name fits these special operators well, as they where essentially to be assassins, trained in sabotage, silent killing, and disguising themselves. Out of 2,613 volunteers only 316 parachuted back into Poland to carry out insurgent operations against the Nazi’s. Of those 316, 103 Cichociemni were killed in action or by the Gestapo. Nine more would be assassinated by communists after the war’s conclusion.
There is relatively little information remaining in Audley End about the SOE training programs, and little information was available about these Polish operators. However this all changed when 6 names scribbled on a doorframe led researchers to find a plethora of information on six individuals who all trained together at Audley End.