ON THE face of it, there seems little to connect a Saturday school for Polish children in the East End of Glasgow, and a Second World War battle which was turned into a star-filled Hollywood movie.

However, as part of a series of events commemorating General Stanisław Sosabowski and the 1st Independent Parachute Brigade, which was established in September 1941 in Scotland, the two will be forever linked.

The school, which is based in Dalmarnock Primary in Glasgow, was set up in September 2012 by a group of Polish teachers who wanted to give Polish children who had moved to the city a sense of the history, language and culture of their native country.

It will now be known as the General Sosabowski Polish School Glasgow CIC, after the Polish Brigade commander who fought valiantly in the Battle of Arnhem during the Second World War.

Glasgow Times: Paratroopers land near ArnhemParatroopers land near Arnhem (Image: Newsquest)

The 1st Independent Parachute Brigade was formed in Leven in Fife, constituted from Polish officers and soldiers who had escaped from Nazi-occupied Poland. Most of them had arrived in the United Kingdom after fighting through France.

The Poles, who wore grey berets distinct from the British airborne’s maroon ones, trained at an assault course in Upper Largo which they called Malpy Gaj (Monkey Grove).

The Brigade was one of the world's first assault units, the predecessor of special forces.

Glasgow Times: The renaming ceremony took place as part of series of commemorative eventsThe renaming ceremony took place as part of series of commemorative events (Image: Newsquest)

Major Adam Jowett, Regimental Secretary of The Parachute Regiment, explains: “From the outset, the stated aim of this group of men was to recover the freedom their country had enjoyed in 1939.

“Their motto was ‘Najkrótszą drogą’ (by the shortest way). The primary purpose of the Brigade at its formation was to reinforce the uprising of the Polish Underground Army (AK) against the Nazis."

The Brigade grew in strength throughout the war, reaching 3100 men by 1944, when it also moved to  Peterborough.

Its new commander was Major General Stanislaw Sosabowski. Despite being briefed on a few parachute actions, it was not involved in any action until the ill-fated Battle of Arnhem and Operation Market Garden, the story of which was told in the 1977 movie A Bridge Too Far. (It starred Sean Connery and Ryan O’Neal, and Gene Hackman played General Sosabowski).

Glasgow Times: General SosabowskiGeneral Sosabowski (Image: Newsquest)

Operation Market Garden was a bold plan devised by General Bernard Montgomery, commander of the British forces in Europe, which - had it worked - could have ended the Second World War months earlier.

Thirty thousand airborne British and American airborne troops, including General Sosabowski’s Brigade, were to be flown behind enemy lines to capture the eight bridges that spanned the network of canals and rivers on the Dutch/German border.

At the same time, British tanks and infantry were to push up a narrow road leading from the Allied front line to the key bridges. They would relieve the airborne troops, and then cross the intact bridges.

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However, a series of unfortunate and dangerous compromises, plus strong German resistance, meant the operation failed and many troops lost their lives. It would be another four months before the Allies crossed the Rhine again and captured the German industrial heartland. The war dragged on, costing the lives of many thousands of civilians and servicemen.

Glasgow Times: The school has been renamed in honour of the GeneralThe school has been renamed in honour of the General (Image: Newsquest)

The Poles had fought valiantly, but the mission had been doomed from the moment they parachuted in.

Major Adam Jowett explains: “By their presence, the Polish Brigade enabled a far safer retreat of the 1st Airborne division across the river towards Nijmegen than would otherwise have been possible. Their Brigade HQ in Driel had the only direct radio contact with Divisional HQ in Oosterbeek. Whilst British communications had collapsed, it was the Polish Signals Company that had maintained a link.”

General Sosabowski’s great-grandson and senior officers from the Polish Brigade attended the commemorative event recently, alongside Martin O’Hear and Terry McCourt, chairman and secretary respectively of the Glasgow and West of Scotland branch of the Parachute Regimental Association, and paratroopers from IV Para, who have a recruiting centre in Houldsworth Street.

Terry said: “We were made very welcome and it was a moving event.

“The General’s great-grandson Hal, who is a professor in Brighton, also had everyone in fits of laughter when he said he had tried to explain to the Polish military what a Glasgow kiss was.

"We were proud to attend the ceremony."