Mud Men Final Episode: A Poland Special…Poland and The Second World War

Mud Men, you either love it or you hate it, and we firmly sit in the Love camp! The series follows members of the Mudlarks Society as they hunt for items on the River Thames foreshore that may have changed the course of history. The series is presented by Johnny Vaughan and Steve “Mud God” Brooker, chairman of the Mudlarks Society…

Last weeks final special Polish episode of Mud Men features a Minelab E-Trac, Fisher F75 Special Edition and other Joan Allen bits all loaned by Joan Allen Metal Detectors!

One thing that particularly struck us after watching the final show was Poland’s relationship with the Second World War… I suppose we didn’t really appreciate a, their involvement and b, that the Polish lived in constant fear and endured the most severe wartime occupation conditions in modern European history.

I guess we also overlook at times that Polish Squadrons played an important role in the Battle of Britain, accounting for 12% of all German aircraft destroyed at the cost of 33 lives. By the end of the war Poland had flown a total of 86,527 sorties, lost 1669 men and shot down 500 German planes and 190 V1 rockets.

Now we aren’t attempting to give people a History lesson here, and we are by no means assuming authority on the subject, we are merely wishing to express our respect towards the Polish state and acknowledge the pain it went through; like many people did.

Poland and The Second World War:

After an unsuccessful First World War campaign and a German national resentment to peace terms, Hitler began driving a new German war machine across Europe in 1939.

Hitler subsequently invaded Poland on September 1st, 1939, hurling the majority of Germanys armed forces at it’s eastern neighbour; with this event considered the catalyst of World War II; the most devastating period in the history of Poland.

Based on existing guarantees of security, Britain and France declared war two days later, but they gave no effective assistance to their ally.

Mid-September saw Warsaw surrounded, despite stout resistance by outnumbered Polish forces. The Soviet Union then administered the cherry on the cake by invading from the east on September 17. For the next five years, Poland endured an environment of constant fear but with staggering courage.

6 million people, over 15% of Poland’s population perished between 1939 and 1945. The war not only claimed an unquantifiable amount of lives, it also left much of Poland in ruins; inflicting emotional and physical scars.

Hans Frank said, “If I wanted to put up a poster for every seven Poles shot, the forests of Poland would not suffice to produce the paper for such posters.”

The Germans declared their intention of wiping out the Polish race alongside the Jews, by a process otherwise known as the “Holocaust.” This process was carried out systematically, as with all things German, with all members of the ‘intelligentsia’ hunted down in order to destroy Polish culture and leadership.

2000 concentration camps were built in Poland, which became the major site of the extermination programme, since this was where most of the intended victims lived. Polish Jews were herded into Ghettos and slowly starved, with non-jewish Poles either transported to Germany for slave labour or simply executed.

Never Give Up

Poland was the only country to combat Germany from the first day of the Polish invasion until the end of the war in Europe. Despite everything, the Polish Army, Navy and Air Force reorganised abroad and continued to fight the Germans. In fact they have the distinction of being the only nation to fight on every front in the War.

In 1940 they fought in France, in the Norwegian campaign they earned a reputation for bravery at Narvik, and in Africa the Carpathian Brigade fought at Tobruk.

A major contribution to the Allied side in the 1930s came from the Polish intelligence personnel. Polish agents had secured information on the top-secret German code machine, Enigma, and experts aided the British in using this information to intercept Hitler’s orders to German military leaders.

In Poland itself, resistance to the German regime came from The Home Army (Armia Krajowa), which operated under direction of the London government-in-exile. The Home Army became one of the largest and most effective underground movements of World War II and was the backbone of a network of genuine Polish institutions and cultural activities.

By 1944 it had claimed 400,000 members, commanding wide-spread popular support. The Home Army conducted a vigorous campaign of sabotage and intelligence gathering, as a means of social defence against the invaders…

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A Beginners Guide: Our First Metal Detecting Mission…(Take 2)

So…Jon and I embarked on our first metal detecting mission on Tuesday 7th Feb with permission to detect on some land owned by a builder in the village of Pottespury, Northamptonshire. We had learnt our lesson after nearly being arrested and fined from last time!

Jon and I set out with all our gear (courtesy of the guys at Joan Allen Metal detectors); E-Trac and X-Terra 705 in hand, we were dead excited. We weren’t too sure what to expect given the dump of snow we’d had recently, but we had our warm weather gear on, wellies and gloves and we set off…

…I made the fatal mistake of not reading the instructions…again…and I had the E-Trac; big mistake. Jon had the X-Terra 705 which is easier to use as a beginner and more intuitive than the E-trac. I had the manual in the car but this is something you need to read before and not assume, like moi!

The land was bumpy and on a hill so you can imagine we weren’t too steady on our feet. It also transpired the land had lots of spoil on it. Jon and I got really excited when we had a strong detection, only to realise it was corrugated iron roof below the ground. That said we were having good fun and understanding more about the equipment and how it detects.

Lawrence, the builder whose land it was, knew a bit more than we did and explained about filling our holes back up, sectioning off areas and general advice on etiquette. One thing that struck us was this is such a great hobby for all the age ranges; old and young; Jon thought his kids would love it! You get to use great gadgets, get outdoors and hopefully…or eventually in our case, discover some history! I wish they did this in my History lessons when I was at school!

Being super cold and having not read the instructions properly, we decided to head in and ask the boys at Joan Allen Metal Detectors if we could pop down for some advice before trying again…They kindly obliged so we will be heading there to get clued up… we will naturally share their tips and advice in our next blog for all you beginners out there likes us.

If you have any tips or advice for us, please share your comments! We will grateful of any help…

P.S Check out our video of our attempt on Joan Allen’s’ YouTube channel