University of Oxford
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The life of Stanislaw Jesinski (Stanley Kean)

online resource
posted on 2024-06-05, 17:12 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

My grandfather, Stanislaw Jesinski, was born in Przemyśl, Poland, in 1911. As war was about to break out in 1939, he was in Lwów and traveled home to Przemyśl (his train ticket is included). When word was given to flee to France, he made his way south into Romania, headed for Bucharest, where the Polish Embassy was giving out passports to enable travel. He then traveled to Split before heading to France. The Poles were trained at a camp called Coëtquidan.

When France surrendered, the Poles headed for ports in France and Spain and made their way to the UK. He was initially based in Biggar, Scotland, then up and down the east coast and, after the creation of the 1st Polish Armoured Division, in Dalkeith and Newbattle.

In 1944, he was sent to Europe, where his division was bombed by the Americans, and participated in the closing of the Falaise Gap. On one end of the gap were the Poles and the Canadians (this is where he got the three pen knives) and on the other end, the Americans. He was injured at Falaise but returned to aid in the march up the coast through Belgium, the Netherlands, and into Germany.

After the war, he became an alien until the future of the Poles was decided. They were allowed to stay in the UK and Commonwealth countries, and he remained in Scotland, where he changed his name to Stanley Kean and married.


Item list and details

1. Three pen knives 1a. Three photos of Stanislaw Jesinski (1940, c1942, 1950s) 2. Army pay book and blood type card 2a. Train ticket from L'wow to Przemys'l, 2 days before war started 3. Application for Certificate of Naturalisation 3a. Letter to Stanislaw Jesinski in Romania from his girlfriend in L'wow 4. Polish Army choir 5. Postcard of Polish soldier given to soldiers 5a. Certificate of Naturalisation for Stanislaw Jesinski 6. Legitimacy card

Person the story/items relate to

Stanislaw Jesinski (later Stanley Kean)

Person who shared the story/items

Craig Statham

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

The contributor's grandfather

Type of submission

Shared at AK Bell Library, Perthshire on 9 December 2023.

Record ID

104162 | AKB010